Originally Posted by Casey Montgomery
Please feel free to move this if it belongs in beginner astronomy or equipment talk instead.
I have owned my Meade 8” LX200 classic (EMC) for a few years now, and i have found over time that i can never get satisfactory results from it when viewing anything other than the moon or sun.
I typically only attempt to view solar system objects, because DSOs all just tend to look like hazy blobs.
For accessories/hardware, I have meade super plossl eyepieces of the following sizes: 40mm, 26mm, 25mm, 15mm, 12.4mm, 9.7mm, and 6.4mm. I also have a celestron x-cel lx 3x barlow. The diagonal is a standard 1.25” meade. The tripod is stock. I have added a larger dial to the focusing knob to improve fine tuning, but that is the only real modification.
I find that i am not able to manually focus on objects with anything smaller than about a 25mm eyepiece. I think that the problem is that the scope is simply too shaky. A couple of nights ago i was viewing Neowise, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars from a dark site in central oregon, and i just felt completely underwhelmed. Neowise looked okay with the 40mm lens, but anything else was just too blurry and unfocusable. It honestly looked more exciting through my mediocre vivitar 4x30 binoculars. Jupiter looked pretty cool (but very small) through 40mm, and the 40mm with barlow. I was able to spot the 4 galilean moons and pluto in the same shot. All of the other eyepieces were too hard to focus. Same with Saturn. It was focusable at 40mm, but too small to appreciate. Mars was a tiny red dot and really disappointing.
Finally, my questions:
First, am i expecting too much from this scope? Do i need something bigger or more recent to really get good views of those objects?
Second, i have a lead on a NEQ-6 mount with a bunch of upgrades done to it for about $1500, and i am considering deforking the lx200 and trying it on a more robust mount. There is also a 10” lx200gps for sale near me for about $1900, which seems a bit steep but would probably be a big improvement in light collection.
I am just generally not sure where to go from here. I know my stock 8” lx200 classic isn’t doing it for me, and i am willing to make a decent investment to upgrade... but i am not sure where the best place to spend the money is.
Apologies for the long winded post!
Hi Casey (and All),
Casey, I live near you (45-46 Deg. North Latitude). TIP: Focus on a star, not a planet !!!
Your biggest challenge with Jupiter is how low in the Southern sky it (and Saturn) are this year. I can barely get to 100 power in my 8 inch SCT like you are experiencing.
In contrast, I can split the "Double-Double" (Epsilon in Lyra) pretty easily when it is overhead near the zenith. Focus on and watch Vega from an open area as it moves toward zenith and then check back as it moves to different, lower altitudes above the horizon as time goes by: When it is high, Vega twinkles very little, but later when it is low in the sky, it twinkles a lot because of the atmospheric turbulence "takes over". The atmosphere is the limiting factor, not your scope. Take you scope to AZ, NM or TX and see that Jupiter and Saturn are a whole different, better viewing experience. We are "too far" North !!! Pick objects that are nearer the zenith !!! Another nice object is M-57 (aka the Ring Nebula) as it gets high overhead, but once again, focus on Vega first, then swing over to the Ring without changing focus.
Ed (aka eblanken)