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Saturday, August 7th, 2004
Wow! Tonight was very fun. It was my first chance to check out the new scope (Celestron NexStar 102 GT). I walked through the alignment process and whatnot for the GoTo to work, and it was pretty painless. It only took a few minutes and once it was aligned, every object I asked it to go to was in the field. Not the center, but definitely in the field. Pretty cool. I actually don't intend on using this feature that much because I enjoy hunting for the objects. It helps me memorize their locations. On the other hand, the scope cannot be controlled without using the remote control. So telling it to go somewhere is definitely time saving. We'll see.

The biggest downside of the night was that even though the scope has a 2" focuser, you cannot put a 2" eyepiece directly into it. The focal point does not allow for it. Therefore in order to use 2" eyepieces, you must have a 2" 90 degree diagonal. I'm making this assumption as my 2" diagonal has not come in yet.

With that said, you can still use 2" filters if you have a proper threaded 2" to 1.25" adapter. The one that comes with the scope is not threaded for 2" filters. I used the one from my other scope (the 12" Hardin Deep Space Hunter) and was able to use my filters.

I would have to say the highlight of the night (since I only used this scope) was the moon. It came above the treeline around 1 am. I was able to push this scope to 200 power by 2x Barlowing my 5.1mm eyepiece. I was simply amazed at the sharpness of the image. This is in conjunction with my Orion 2" V-Block filter. There was virtually no fringe or color aberations (amazing!), and the mountains and craters were in perfect focus. I have the accessories to push the scope to 400 power, so I'll test it's limits another night.

I'd have to say next to the crispness of the image, the tracking element is fabulous. Though not perfect because I only roughly aligned it, for the most part the tracking was perfectly adequate. I'm not taking time exposed photographs or anything like that. It's just nice to be able to really focus on the object when it naturally stays in the view via the tracking mechanism.

I'll post more on my experiences with the scope as I gain them.





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