Winter viewing with an SCT

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Glenbo58
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Winter viewing with an SCT

#1

Post by Glenbo58 »

Hi everyone,

I live in the Muskokas of Ontaio Canada where the temperature can flux between +35.f to -15f. on a given day or evening this time of year.
I bought a vintage Celestron Ulltima 8 PEC from the mid nineties as it has a solid reputation for optics & a rock solid steady (and friggin heavy) fork, wedge & tripod. The only thing that I did not properly research is the large cooldown time required to properly use it in this kind of climate. Thus it has not been outside since late October. I have a dew shield but no heater. Many have said to store it outside the house in a n unheated shed or garage. It has a big protective case for storage but can I rally do that without hurting the scope? Im just not really willing to spend hrs of cooldown for maybe an hr. of viewing. Did I make the right choice?

My first scope was a 5 in. reflector & used it outside all the time with little trouble this time of year.I found that some of the best viewing was in the winter time.
I like planetary viewing but starting to take an interest in DSO's too. Was tinkering with the idea of a used grab & go APO refractor with a simple tripod for winter viewing that I could also piggyback on my SCT in the spring summer fall months.

Thoughts or other ideas?
Celestron Ultima 8 Pec
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Lady Fraktor
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Re: Winter viewing with an SCT

#2

Post by Lady Fraktor »

Yes you can store the telescope outside without damaging it, if you have a case to keep dust/ creatures off of it even better.
For DSO viewing a apochromatic really is not required, a decent achromat will do just fine or even a ED achromat.
Enjoy the views when you can, cold weather viewing can be fun as long as your are not cold.
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Bresser 102 f/13.2, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Berlebach Planet w/ 410mm pier, Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ 250mm pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, Skywatcher EQ-5 w/ dual drives, TAL MT1C w/ wood tripod, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & 200mm half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Long Perng Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
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Don Quixote
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Re: Winter viewing with an SCT

#3

Post by Don Quixote »

I store my big Cats in my unheated garage just off the concrete under a tarp. When I have a sky and the will to go it is always ready as far as ambient temps are concerned.

You have a nice case...even better!

For me it is about the setup in the bitter cold.
My fingers don't work as well as they used to and I am always thinking about my fingers. I cannot feel anything in my left hand so I have to be careful of freezing and not knowing I have done it.

When it is bitter cold, frostbite cold, I usually go with my 100mm ed frac which I also keep in the garage...much less to lift and manage in the cold. The tube gets a nice frosty coating after a good session. 😁
I bring it back into the garage, and leave it uncovered on my cg4 mount. By the next morning the frost has sublimated and I cover it with a big beach towel.

I hope you gave some nice clear nights that are not too awfully cold.
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Bigzmey
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Re: Winter viewing with an SCT

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Post by Bigzmey »

Having small refractor is a good idea. There are nights when you don't have time, desire or conditions to drag large scope out.
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102 ED F7; Celestron: 9.25" EdgeHD F10, 8" SCT F10, 6" SCT F10, Omni XLT 150R Achro F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3; Meade: 80ST Achro F5.
Mounts: ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; UA: MicroStar.
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Observing: DSOs: 2005 (Completed: Messier, Herschel 1, 2, 3. In progress: H2,500: 1565, S110: 77). Doubles: 1382, Comets: 18, Asteroids: 88
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OzEclipse
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Re: Winter viewing with an SCT

#5

Post by OzEclipse »

I agree with other posts, just store it cold. It won't do it any harm provided the storage area is dry so that you don't get any moisture or condensation.
Bringing a cold telescope into a warm humid house usually results in instant condensation all over which could do more harm long term.

You could also consider selling it and switching to a cassegrain type of instrument such as a Vixen VMC200L. With the open tube and no corrector, they cool down much faster and no problems with dew or frost forming on the corrector plate. You may also see Vixen VC200L's advertised second hand or new. The VC200L is an astrographic instrument. Though it provides reasonable views, its large central obsruction is designed to provide a fully illuminated photographic field and is not an ideal instrument for viewing.

You will need to purchase a separate mounting for it but the 8" Vixen OTA's only weigh about 7kg. Easy to set up and will sit nicely on a light HEQ-5.

Joe
Amateur astronomer since 1978
Astronomical interests : astrophotography, visual observing, nightscape photography, solar eclipse chasing
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SCOPES - ATM 18" Dob, Vixen VC200L, ATM 6"f7, ED80
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Glenbo58
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Re: Winter viewing with an SCT

#6

Post by Glenbo58 »

Funny you should mention the VIixen VC200L, as there is one with a Sphinx goto mount for a really good price closeby. Did a rather extensive investigation on it & concluded that other than much better cool down time & being much lighter overall, that viewing quality would only be slightly sharper than the C8. For the difference in price I would have to pay if I sold my Ultima 8 I think a good 80mm. refractor would compliment my Ultima 8
Celestron Ultima 8 Pec
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