Since there has been too few opportunities to observe lately, I thought I’d go through my gear, and while there are tons of in depth reviews all over the web, I’ll provide my own mini review on each bit of kit I’ve acquired over the years.
Currently, my most used scope is my Celestron Evolution 6″ SCT. I bought this due to the ever increasing light pollution in my area, so it serves as a nice grab and go scope for a trip to my remote dark site, for added protection I bought a padded aluminium case for it. It comes with a 1.25″ visual back and as I mostly use 2″ eyepieces, the first thing I did was to replace the supplied visual back with a 2″ one. I then attached a spare 2″ diagonal and was all set.
Celestron Evolution 6″ in packed snuggly in a padded case.
You don’t need a battery for this as it already has a built in Lithium-ion battery, also it has 4 auxiliary ports and a USB port, so you can charge your phone etc. if need be. The Evolution series can used in two ways; via its built in Wifi and Celestron’s SkyPortal app (iOS or Android versions available and built on the Sky Safari software) or the supplied NexStar hand controller. But to me one of the biggest selling points is the ability to align and control this scope with an app. I use an iPad mini with the SkyPortal app, using this has made observing far easier and quicker, but (geek warning!!) most importantly has injected new levels of excitement into my astronomy.
However, before I settle in for a night of observing, the small matter of alignment needs to be carried out. I had been using the StarSense auto align device with an existing scope but had not used it that much and was considering selling it off until I got the Evo. Once I have the system fired up, set the OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) on the horizontal, the StarSense has the alignment done in a couple of minutes. This is also completed via the app, which brings you through each step. The whole set up is really very easy.
As mentioned, I have a 2″ diagonal fixed to the OTA and I really like the wide FoV (Filed of View) from larger eyepieces. Some of the best observing nights I’ve had is all down to this scope. See a previous post with more a detailed account.
Here’s what you get in the box: — Telescope OTA
– StarPointer Finderscope (not needed if using a StarSense device)
– 2 x 1.25″ Plössl Eyepieces (basic eyepieces replace these asap)
– 1.25″ Star Diagonal (keep or change to a 2″ as desired)
– AC Adapter
– Hand Controller
So all in all, a very easy scope to set up and use, lightweight, but given the right conditions, some good eyepieces and nice dark skies this is powerful enough to give great views of many objects in the sky. If you’re thinking of buying one of these go ahead, you won’t regret it.
Coming in Part 2 of the series…..A review of a William Optics Zenithstar 73 APO