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My new favorite telescope: Celestron 6SE. Tonight's debut and review.


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A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my wife and kids that I found a person on craigslist selling a $900 Celestron 6SE telescope for $400-something and I offered him $300 to see what he might say.  He said he couldn't get the motorized finder and computerized mechanism to work, but that the lens/mirror/scope/accessories were in perfect shape and never really used. He sent pictures and agreed on $350.

Then I was embarrassed, and actually not that happy that I had to drop the deal because my 3 kids all quickly pitched in and got me a new one from B&H Photo. 

Well, it got its space debut tonight since it's clear, not too cold, and all my kids and two grand-kids were over at the house. It was an easy setup, even though it's a lot heavier than anything we've had before. (What we had before was a`cheap model we got for the kids when they were actually kids. And that cheap one was like one I had when I was a kid 50-some years ago.)

So this one was quite a different experience for me. If I had taken the time I could have aligned it with just 3 sky objects and I could then punch in names or coordinates of up to 40,000 stars and galaxies and it would automatically point me right to them and keep them tracked as the earth turns and they move across the sky. But the grand-kids couldn't stay up too late and I figured it would be quicker to just manually aim with the side-scope and go. Turns out that the thing is too big to move around manually at small sky objects when the tripod is on soft ground and grass.

Long story short, I'm no longer angry that they spent extra to get a new, fully-working, automated telescope. Even though I didn't set up the automation yet, I was still able to use the remote for easy manual movement up, down, left, and right in small increments. This made it a breeze to point at something big like the moon and then use the remote to slowly scan the sky for new starts and planets.

We started this at only 8:30pm when the sky was still bluish instead of black and we also have some street-lights that can make visibility in the telescope less than idea. But it was still picking up thousands of stars we couldn't see with our unaided eyes.

The moon was bright and gorgeous, and I was happily satisfied that everyone got a chance to see the craters and hills so clearly. But then I maneuvered with the remote quite a distance to the right and Jupiter with 4 moons were as clear as day. Then about half that distance again to the right and down a bit we saw Saturn and you could distinguish the separation in the rings. Perfect stargazing night, and we didn't need to stay out past 9:30.

Next time, I'll hook it up for some clusters, galaxies, nebulae, etc.

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my wife and kids that I found a person on craigslist selling a $900 Celestron 6SE telescope for $400-something and I offered him $300 to see what he might say.  He said

I look forward to seeing some stunning pictures shared 😉  

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