Celestron CPC Deluxe 800 EdgeHD Computerised Telescope
Product Review (submitted on 16 November 2014):
Before deciding on this telescope I visited every web site I could. I researched many different telescopes, brand names, aperture sizes, tripod types, and just about everything else before deciding which features I wanted in a telescope best suited me. There is so much out there that it took me nearly a year of part-time research before I narrowed the field. Refractors, reflectors, Schmitt-Cassegrains, you name it. There are some beautiful instruments out there, all would be fantastic acquisitions. I learned a lot about all of them. In some ways the length of time was a good thing because it gave me more time to save a few extra dollars every week as I realised the price range of the professional telescope (no matter which one I chose) was going to be a little higher than I initially expected.
In the end it was simple. I was after a reliable instrument that would enable excellent detailed viewing of the moon and planets, the ability to find and view deep sky objects, be easily extended to astro-photography when I decide to take on that future challenge and still be portable enough and small enough to setup in the confined space of my 1st floor balcony in the inner city. And of course, whilst most of my viewing would be from home, in light polluted skies, I wanted to be able to pack the scope into the back of my small car on the rare occasions that I ventured out to a dark site. After much thinking, I decided on an SCT (which addressed the size criteria) and settled on the 8 inch aperture to ensure I had the portability (lighter weight) I wanted. A dual fork arm Altazimuth mount would be fine. When it came to making the decision, I decided the ideal telescope that would meet my needs was the Celestron CPC Deluxe 800 HD Computerised Cassegrain Telescope. And I decided that Optics Central, with their great reputation for customer service, was the retailer to buy it from.
It was a lot of money to spend on a telescope, but it has been worth it and there are no regrets with either selecting the telescope or the retailer. Both have proven to be excellent choices.
I was so excited when the boxes arrived. I had already pre-read the assembly instructions, in fact Celestron’s web site has so many different manuals available to download, you can pre-read just about every aspect and learn it all in advance of its arrival. Within an hour I had the telescope assembled and ready to use. In addition to the telescope, I ordered several accessories too, including the Power Tank 17 amp-hour power supply, Vibration Suppression Pads, Lens Shade, UHC/LPR Filter, 2" Eyepiece and Filter Kit, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8mm-24mm Clickstop Zoom Eyepiece, Orion Solar Filter - 8" SCT and most important of all the Feather touch SCT Dual Speed Micro Focuser for Celestron CPC-800 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes. In my research I knew one key criticism of this particular telescope was the lack of granularity when focussing. So I ordered the Feather touch micro focuser from Starizona (US) and it was ready when the telescope arrived. Watching the videos available on You Tube meant that installing was easily done within half an hour. I kept in contact with Optics Central (Cassie was great) and they helped me out with hints or help every time.
And then I had to wait. And wait. And wait. Nearly 8 evenings later, when the clouds over Melbourne had finally sufficiently dispersed (it wasn’t cloudless but it was good enough), I rushed the telescope out to my balcony for my first viewing. It only took a couple of minutes to assemble, another minute to “align” (which was pretty straight-forward) and the views were sensational. I was stunned. My kids were stunned. We took it in turns to decide which object to “go to”, plugged the information into the computer and away it went. Almost every object was in the very middle of the field of view, or if it wasn’t, it was close enough and only a tiny adjustment was needed. The stars, double stars, open clusters, globular clusters were all so crystal clear. The Wild Duck cluster (M11 or NGC 6705), the Butterfly cluster (M6 or NGC 6405), the Jewel Box (NGC 4755) I could resolve objects that I could never resolve before. Fine details were easily noticeable. It helped that my first night with my new telescope was a great viewing evening. The kids loved it and I loved it.
Since then, there have been nights when the viewing has been poor, on those occasions I still love seeing my favourite planets and just watching them in their beautiful detail through my wonderful telescope. Saturn is everyone’s favourite, and mine too. Trying at different magnifications from 50X thru to 400X makes different details available. The Cassini division in Saturn’s rings, different craters and riles on the Moon, even Mars’ poles. It is all wonderful and I can’t wait to move on to astro photography with this telescope as I’d like to see those “grey smudges” (galaxies, nebulae) in their glorious colour one day soon. It’s “Fastar Versatile” so I can’t wait.
All in all, this is a great Celestron telescope for my current and future needs and Optics Central is a great retailer. Hopefully when you complete your own research you’ll find your ideal telescope and retailer soon too.