So I finally had the chance last evening to get the new Orion 14” truss GOTO out for a test spin and I have to say I’m very pleased with its performance and the focuser issue are gone now that I found a tiny screw on the garage floor that was the tensioning screw for the focuser and now it is a quiet as can be.
Anyways I decided to cart it around to the back yard and after several trips (lots of pieces and 129lb assembled) I had it all re-assembled and ready to go and had to wait. This was when I realized that I had gotten so used to the Celestron 8” SCT being able to do a solar system alignment during daylight hours (and thumbing my nose at the non Celestron folks ) that I forgot that I wasn’t going to be able to really get it aligned until dark. Now I know how Eeyore feels when he loses his tail J . So I went to use old rough alignment setup than Chuck and I used with the solid tube GOTOs and after completing all of the initial handset entries I selected the moon which was out and a nice target to check the scope out with. I hit Enter and the darn thing spun around and pointed East. East? What the heck it was 6PM and the moon was south why was it pointing East? I selected Venus and it pretty much stayed pointing in an easterly direction. So I selected Polaris, and it went to the correct general area that Polaris was in. Hmmmmm now I was getting a bit frustrated. So I ran though the setups again with the same results. I then did a factory reset and re-entered the handset settings and again it went to the East. At that point I walked away from it and sat down to have a glass of the BBAA’s favorite beverage and think about it for a bit and talk
with our neighbors who were over for a cook out earlier.
I pulled out the IPad and looked at the StarSeek app to verify that I wasn’t crazy and that was when I decided to step the app back one hour at a time until I ended up with the moon where the telescope was pointing and when I looked at the time I jumped up to check my settings again. I want to let everyone know that there is a huge difference between -05:00 and -00:05 as an offset.
ok you can get up off of the floor now, it wasn’t that funny :P at least I had a 5 in there someplace!
So once I fixed this everything was right as rain.
I started with the moon which looked really nice in the EP, then moved to Mars which I still couldn’t see but I saw it go by in the EP as the
scope was slewing around. It looked very nice and I could see the northern ice cap once I made the mental effort to invert the image that I was seeing and south became north (Another SCT difference). The neighbors really liked the views the moons craters and the view of Mars and I got a few “Cool”s out of it. I finally had Arcturus out and performed quick alignment using it as Polaris and then swung around to Saturn which was now above the trees and it was right in the center of my EP at 41x. I moved up to 140x and was rewarded with the best view of Saturn I’ve ever seen. Even though it was still a bit light out I could make out Titan, Rhea, Dione, and Tethys without even trying and Saturn was still very clear so I put on more power and went to 205x or so and again Saturn was so clear that I could see details on Saturn’s surface that I’ve never been able to do at that power before and remain clear. The
Cassini Gap was just awesome and I could see plenty of difference in the rest of the rings also. So I let the neighbors take a look and I got a lot of “WOW”s and a “Holy Crap” which was totally awesome.
I selected M13 figuring that I wouldn’t be able to find it ( I know the CPC couldn’t) as the sky still had some glow to it as it was still around 7PM or a little after and the telescope slewed around and then stopped. I looked in the EP and had to look twice because right in the center of the EP as the cluster and not only that, I was still at 205x when I selected it as I forgot to pull back a bit with the power. I could just barely make out the stars in the cluster but boy was that really cool! I then covered the scope with the intention of getting up early and working on my double star program which when I did get up at 4AM it was pretty cloudy so that was a
wash so I decided to write up my first light report
So my impressions of the new scope? I can sum it up in two words “FREAKING AWESOME”. The mirrors are excellent quality (Chuck I think I won the lottery) and I had a excellent star test in both directions. The scope moves around really well and is just a bit louder that the 10” and 12” GOTOs but then again they added some very large motors to it (Added 20lb to the total weight) and it sort of gets negated when you watch this monster start to spin around. The newly added manual clutches that are on both motors work really well and letting you use the handset or pulling the scope around yourself with little effort which was a huge improvement over the old 10” GOTO I had where it was pretty stiff when pushing it around. The only thing I need to do now is get some more counter weights for it as the new mirror cell is a
lot lighter than a normal cell design and the 13 lb of weight the scope came with still leaves it very top heavy. Going to have to get Chuck to get me some hard drive magnets so I can make a few more lower tube weights.
All in all I’m extremely pleased with the quality of the scope and I’m looking forward to getting it out into a little darker sky to see what I can see J Looks like the GAP next Friday is my best shot but we’ll see J
Here is a video of the new scope from Orion