Current NexStar 114GT

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  • Member since
    November, 2013
Current NexStar 114GT
Posted by steven6282 on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:51 PM

I haven't had a scope in a long time but looking to get back into it.  However, I don't really have a lot of extra money for it right now.  A friend I know has a NexStar 114GT that is only 2 months old that he said he would sale me for $150 dollars which seems pretty cheap compared to the $300 dollar price tag I see elsewhere online.

I'm curious though about the astroimaging capabilities of this scope.  I mean I realize it's a small scope so it's not going to be doing any amazing deep sky objects, but I'm wondering if it can do any?  And if it can do planets more than just a blur?  I've tried searching on google but a lot of reviews about it are from back in 2004.  A lot of complaints on using this for imaging then was some type of flaw in the mount tracking system that made it useless for exposure longer than 7 seconds.  Surely this has been corrected in the past 9 years?  If it has, how does this scope perform as an entry level astroimaging scope?

If it's still got design problems that prevent it, can anyone suggest another scope that I might could find for under 500 dollars that might be good for doing some deep sky imaging?  I'd be using either a Canon 40D for the imaging, or perhaps rigging up a webcam to do it.

Thanks!

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:22 PM

The "flaw" in the mount design is that it is Alt-Az, which is what is limiting the images to approx 7 seconds (give or take).  Normal field rotation is what is doing this, not the mount.  If you make or purchase a wedge to allow the mount to be polar aligned then you have cured this "flaw".  At 2 months old the Nexstar hand controller should be the flash upgradable variety.  Simply keep it up to date and I'm sure you will find everything working just fine.

There is another flaw concerning astrophotography... The scope is the minor part of your investment.  You will still need a camera, a lap-top, capture software, and processing software along with various accessories.  These are limited only by the "squeal-point" of your checkbook...

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by steven6282 on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:27 PM

Ah ok, I didn't realize the mount on this one was Alt-Az lol. When I was looking at old posts about it none of them mentioned that, some just referenced a tracking "flaw" in the mount lol. As for the other stuff, I've already got most of the necessary stuff. Stacking software is free, I've got Adobe Photoshop CS5 that should work for post processing I would think. 40D is a pretty good DSLR, and I remember from back when I used to look at this a modified web camera was usually descent for starters as well. But astroimaging is one of the most appealing things to me, so I guess I'll have to look for a better scope for that, if I can find one cheap enough. Or look into the wedge, but can the nexstar goto computer be reprogrammed to track in a polar fashion instead of alt az, is that what the flash updates do, or is it simply a configuration option?  Oh, and I have multiple laptops cause I am a computer programmer / computer geek hehe.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:17 PM

While there are obviously better optical tubes for AP, this one will work.  The ability to polar align when mounted on a wedge is already built-in to this scope.  It is part of the firmware in the hand controller.  This same hand controller is used for all of the Nexstar series of scope and for the CPC and Edge HD series of scopes too.

Since you already have the lap-top and the Canon camera, I most energetically advise the purchase of BackYard EOS camera control and image capture software/.  It's only $35 for the "classic" version or $60 for the "premium".  You won't be sorry you got it.

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Eastern SD.
Posted by johnjohnson on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7:35 PM

The problem with this mount is not so much that it is Alt az, or the optics, but the mount and focuser.  A friend of mine had this very same mount but with a 60mm refractor. The motors are very cheap and cog severely. At medium to high magnifications you can acutally see objects jump in the eyepiece as the mount tracks . After it jumps there is ever so slightly a vibration till it settles and then it jumps again, very distracting visually, impossible for imaging. The optical tube has a 1 1/4" focuser that is all plastic and will not support any camera's other than a solar system imager or a web cam.

Honestly, to get into astro imaging, expect to spend at least $500 or more on the mount. A celestron CG-5 GT or Meade LXD 75 would probably be the least expensive entry level mounts that I would recommend. Then you would still have to add an imaging optical tube such as the Orion 8" F 3.9 Astrograph reflector or an inexpensive refractor with a 2" focuser.

I am sure this is not what you wanted to hear. Astro Photography (AP) is not cheap. Many people think "I got a scope and I got a camera, I'm gonna take pictures." There are a lot of threads in the Astro Imaging Forum that cover some of the most important aspects of AP. Many of the contributors have been through the tough parts of getting started in AP, and have some very good information to share.

JJ

 

20" F5 Obsession, OMI mirror .987 Strehl. 10" F4.7 reflector. 6" F5 ST reflector. 120mm F7.5 EON. 80mm F11.3 guide scope. SkyWatcher EQ-6 Hyper Tuned.   Flicker Astro Site   More Astro Images

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