Celelestron NexStar 8se


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Well, after playing with the NexStar 8se on the new/old EQ35 Pro mount tonight, I've made a discovery.
I definitely need 3 things to use it for any DSO work, or at least the first 2 to even do planetary.
#1 - dew heater(s)!
#2 - autofocus
#3 - guide scope (have to decide if want to do OAG or an actual scope mounted on a full length bar).

Put the scope out with a few hours to adjust to outside temps, but after the rain yesterday the humidity is high and the dew point was easily reached tonight.
The exterior of the scope had dew so thick when you ran your finger over it for an inch or so it was soaked. The lens was severely fogged also.

So now the hunt is on. Celestron makes an auto-focuser that works with the NexStar's, but I think you can use any on them, so have to make a decision on what route to go. They also make a nice dew-heater ring that goes around the end of the scope mounted adjacent to the lens, and I kind of like that idea as it doesn't interfere with the cover and you aren't dependent on an exterior "velcro" solution.

I also had to do some slight collimation adjustments, but with the Bob's Knobs, that was easy enough to do.
I built a dew shield out of a black 5 gallon pail. Cut the bottom off and make one cut up the side Attach the bottom of what used to be a pail on to the scope with large hose clamps (screw type). Helps with the balance too!
I've got some semi-rigid material around the house and am contemplating getting some felt and gluing it onto it.... and also grabbing some resistors and building in a small 3 watt heater element into it. Using the resistors and a fixed wattage I should not need a controller for them.
I've found a custom mount for an auto-focuser that allows you to use a ZWO auto-focus instead of the standard Celestron unit on the NexStar.

Thoughts on using the ZWO in comparison to the Celestron? I know that the ZWO can be moved to other telescopes where the Celestron can't.
Biggest issue I'm facing with the NexStar 8se... whether to do OAG or a standard guider scope... and from what I understand, the latter can induce flop.. but the OAG can be somewhat tempermental. If I go separate guide scope then I need to find a decent rail to attach the scope to.
I'm debating whether to simply use the NexStar 8se as a live view setup for myself and any astronomy group users and if I want to get "bigger" go with an RCT or a decent since refractor.

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