Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope Review

Embark on an awe-inspiring journey through the cosmos with the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8), a marvel in the world of amateur astronomy. Revered for its remarkable blend of versatility and power, this telescope has carved a niche for itself among stargazing enthusiasts. Whether you’re taking your first steps into the realm of celestial observation or you’re an experienced astronomer seeking to delve deeper into the night sky, the AVX C8 stands as a beacon of excellence.

Crafted with precision, the Celestron AVX C8 is more than just a telescope; it’s a gateway to the wonders of the universe. Its 8-inch aperture provides a window to the stars, planets, and deep-sky objects, offering views that captivate and inspire. The Advanced VX mount, a cornerstone of its design, offers a stable and reliable platform for both viewing and astrophotography, making it a favorite among those who wish to capture the night sky’s majesty.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll explore the features, performance, and potential of the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope. Join us as we unravel why this telescope has become a go-to choice for amateur astronomers across various skill levels, and how it can elevate your stargazing experience to new heights.

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Celestron Advanced VX 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope

Overview of the Celestron AVX 8

Unveiling the Craftsmanship of the Celestron Advanced VX 8

The Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8) stands as a testament to Celestron’s commitment to quality and innovation in the field of amateur astronomy. This telescope is a harmonious blend of sophisticated design and robust build quality, engineered to offer both durability and performance. The optical tube is constructed with high-grade materials, ensuring it remains both lightweight and sturdy, a crucial factor for both portability and stability during extended observing sessions.

Key Features That Define the AVX C8

At the heart of the AVX C8’s appeal is its impressive 8-inch aperture, which serves as a luminous gateway to the cosmos. This substantial aperture size allows for remarkable light-gathering capability, bringing distant celestial objects into sharp, bright focus. The Schmidt-Cassegrain optical design, a hallmark of Celestron’s engineering, offers a unique combination of a wide field of view and powerful magnification, making the telescope versatile for both planetary and deep-sky observations.

Another standout feature of the AVX C8 is the Advanced VX (AVX) mount. This mount is specifically designed to provide superior tracking accuracy and stability, which is essential for both high-quality viewing and astrophotography. The AVX mount’s computerized GoTo system is user-friendly, allowing astronomers of all levels to easily locate and track over 40,000 celestial objects with precision.

A Journey Through the Evolution of Celestron’s Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

The Celestron AVX C8 is part of a long lineage of Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes that have continually set the standard in amateur astronomy. Since the introduction of their first Schmidt-Cassegrain model in the 1960s, Celestron has been at the forefront of optical technology. Over the years, they have refined their designs, incorporating advanced optics, computerized control systems, and more robust mounts. The AVX C8 represents the culmination of this evolution, embodying the best of Celestron’s legacy while integrating modern advancements to meet the demands of today’s astronomers.

The Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope is a blend of historical legacy and modern innovation. Its design and build quality, combined with key features like the 8-inch aperture, Schmidt-Cassegrain optics, and the Advanced VX mount, make it a standout choice for anyone passionate about exploring the night sky.

Technical Specifications of the Celestron AVX C8

In-Depth Look at the Telescope’s Specifications

The Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope boasts specifications that cater to both novice and experienced astronomers. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  • Aperture: The telescope features an 8-inch (203.2 mm) aperture, which is substantial for capturing detailed, bright images of celestial objects. This size is ideal for delving into both planetary and deep-sky observation.
  • Focal Length and Ratio: With a focal length of 2032 mm, the AVX C8 offers a long reach into the night sky. The focal ratio of f/10 strikes a balance between field of view and magnification power, making it versatile for various types of observations.
  • Optical Quality and Coatings: The optics are of high quality, featuring Celestron’s StarBright XLT coatings. These coatings enhance light transmission, resulting in brighter, clearer images with enhanced contrast. They also reduce chromatic aberration, ensuring true color fidelity.

Advanced VX Mount: Stability and Precision

The Advanced VX mount is a cornerstone feature of the AVX C8, designed to optimize the telescope’s performance:

  • Tracking Accuracy: The mount is engineered for exceptional tracking precision, which is crucial for both observing and astrophotography. It reduces tracking errors and provides smooth tracking across the night sky.
  • Payload Capacity: It can comfortably support the 8-inch optical tube along with additional equipment like cameras and accessories, making it suitable for various astrophotography setups.
  • GoTo Capabilities. Equipped with a computerized GoTo system, the mount can automatically locate and track over 40,000 celestial objects. Making it incredibly user-friendly for astronomers at all levels.

Included Accessories: Enhancing the Experience

The Celestron AVX C8 comes with a range of accessories to get you started:

  • Eyepieces: Typically, it includes a 25mm eyepiece, providing 81x magnification. This eyepiece is versatile for both planetary and deep-sky viewing.
  • Finderscope: A standard finderscope is included to aid in quickly locating objects in the night sky.
  • Tripod: The package comes with a sturdy tripod that is essential for a stable observing experience. It’s designed to handle the weight and size of the AVX C8, ensuring steady views.
  • Software. Celestron includes astronomy software with the AVX C8. Which can be a valuable tool for planning observing sessions and learning more about the night sky.

The technical specifications of the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope reveal a well-rounded instrument designed for quality observations and astrophotography. The combination of its optical prowess, the stability and precision of the Advanced VX mount, and the thoughtful inclusion of essential accessories make it a compelling choice for anyone serious about their astronomical pursuits.

Specification CategoryDetails
Optical DesignSchmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture8 inches (203.2 mm)
Focal Length2032 mm
Focal Ratiof/10
Optical CoatingsStarBright XLT Coatings
Mount TypeComputerized Equatorial (Advanced VX)
Tracking AccuracyHigh-precision, suitable for astrophotography
Payload CapacityDesigned to support the 8-inch optical tube and additional equipment like cameras and accessories
GoTo CapabilityYes, with a database of over 40,000 celestial objects
Eyepiece Included25 mm (providing 81x magnification)
FinderscopeIncluded (standard)
TripodSturdy construction, compatible with AVX C8
SoftwareAstronomy software included for enhanced observing and learning
Total Telescope WeightVaries based on configuration (optical tube, mount, tripod, accessories)
Technical specifications table

Setting Up the Celestron AVX C8 Telescope

Embarking on your astronomical journey with the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope involves a few essential setup steps. This guide will walk you through the assembly process, provide tips for alignment and balancing, and offer advice on using the NexStar+ hand control.

Step-by-Step Assembly Guide

  • Assemble the Tripod: Start by extending the tripod legs and securing them in place. Ensure the tripod is on a flat surface and the top is level.
  • Attach the Mount: Carefully lift the Advanced VX mount and place it onto the tripod head. Secure it using the bolts provided.
  • Mount the Optical Tube: Gently place the optical tube onto the mount, ensuring it is securely fastened in the dovetail clamp.
  • Attach the Finderscope: Attach the finderscope to the optical tube, making sure it is aligned with the telescope.
  • Install the Eyepiece: Insert the 25mm eyepiece (or your eyepiece of choice) into the focuser.
  • Connect the Hand Control: Plug the NexStar+ hand control into the designated port on the mount.
  • Power the Telescope: Connect the power supply to the mount and switch it on.

Tips for Initial Alignment and Balancing

  • Balancing the RA Axis: Start by balancing the Right Ascension (RA) axis. Loosen the RA clutch and move the telescope until it is parallel to the ground. Adjust the position of the optical tube until it remains in place without any support.
  • Balancing the DEC Axis: For the Declination (DEC) axis, loosen the DEC clutch and rotate the tube 90 degrees. Adjust the optical tube’s position until it balances well.
  • Aligning the Finderscope: During daylight, point your telescope at a distant object. Center it in the eyepiece and then adjust the finderscope until the object is centered in its crosshairs too.
  • Star Alignment: For night-time alignment, use the NexStar+ hand control to perform a two-star or SkyAlign alignment. This process involves pointing the telescope at two or three bright stars or planets and confirming their positions.

Using the NexStar+ Hand Control for Navigating the Night Sky

  • Understanding the Interface: Familiarize yourself with the hand control’s buttons and menu. The ‘Menu’ button accesses various features, while the directional keys allow you to navigate and select options.
  • Selecting Objects: Use the ‘Sky Tour’ feature for a guided tour of the night sky, or manually select objects from the database.
  • Tracking Objects: Once an object is selected, the telescope will automatically slew to it and track it across the sky.
  • Adjusting Slew Speeds: You can adjust the slew speed of the telescope for fine-tuning your view of the object.
  • Using the Database: Explore the hand control’s database to find and learn about different celestial objects.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable stargazing experience with the Celestron AVX C8. Remember, patience and practice are key to mastering telescope setup and navigation.

Performance and Observing Experience with the Celestron AVX C8

Exploring the night sky with the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8) is an experience filled with awe and precision. This section delves into the telescope’s performance across various conditions, the quality of celestial observations, and a comparative analysis with similar telescopes, such as the Celestron NexStar 6SE.

Performance Across Various Viewing Conditions

The AVX C8 demonstrates remarkable versatility and resilience in different observational settings:

  • Light-Polluted Skies: In urban areas with significant light pollution, the telescope’s 8-inch aperture and StarBright XLT coatings play a pivotal role, enhancing light gathering and contrast. This feature allows for clearer views of planets and brighter deep-sky objects even in less-than-ideal conditions.
  • Dark Sky Sites: Under dark skies, the telescope truly excels. Its ability to gather light brings out the finer details in deep-sky objects like nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters, offering breathtaking views with enhanced clarity and depth.
  • Variable Weather Conditions: The robust build and quality coatings of the AVX C8 ensure consistent performance in different weather conditions, although care should always be taken to protect the optics from moisture and extreme temperatures.

Celestial Observations and Image Quality

The AVX C8 provides an immersive observing experience:

  • Planetary Observation: When viewing planets like Jupiter and Saturn, the telescope reveals details such as the cloud bands on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn with remarkable clarity. Mars, Venus, and Mercury also show distinct features, like surface markings or phases.
  • Deep-Sky Exploration: The telescope excels in deep-sky observation. Nebulae appear vibrant, galaxies show structure, and star clusters are resolved to the core. The Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and the Hercules Globular Cluster are just a few examples of objects that can be observed in stunning detail.
  • Lunar Viewing: The Moon’s surface is rendered with sharp contrast, revealing craters, rilles, and mountains in great detail, making lunar observing sessions particularly rewarding.

Advanced Features and Astrophotography with the Celestron AVX C8

The Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8) is not just a tool for observing the night sky; it’s also a gateway into the world of astrophotography. This section explores the telescope’s astrophotography capabilities, the performance of its Advanced VX mount for long-exposure imaging, and provides tips for beginners in astrophotography.

Astrophotography Capabilities of the AVX C8

  • Optical Excellence: The 8-inch aperture and Schmidt-Cassegrain design of the AVX C8 are ideal for astrophotography. The telescope’s large aperture captures ample light, essential for photographing distant celestial objects, while the high-quality optics ensure sharp, clear images.
  • Versatility: The AVX C8 is versatile enough to photograph a wide range of celestial objects, from the Moon’s craters and the rings of Saturn to deep-sky objects like galaxies and nebulae.
  • Compatibility with Cameras and Accessories: The telescope is compatible with a variety of cameras, including DSLRs and dedicated astronomy cameras. Additionally, it can be used with a range of accessories like Barlow lenses, filters, and adapters, expanding its astrophotography potential.

Performance of the Advanced VX Mount in Astrophotography

  • Stability and Precision: The Advanced VX mount is designed for astrophotography. It offers stability and precision tracking, which are crucial for long-exposure imaging where even slight movements can blur the image.
  • Tracking Accuracy: With its high tracking accuracy, the mount minimizes tracking errors over long exposures, essential for capturing clear, detailed images of celestial objects.
  • GoTo Functionality: The mount’s GoTo capability is a significant advantage in astrophotography. It allows photographers to easily locate and track objects, saving time and ensuring the target stays in the frame throughout the imaging session.

Astrophotography Tips for Beginners Using the AVX C8

  • Start with the Moon and Planets: Begin your astrophotography journey with brighter objects like the Moon and planets. They are easier to locate and photograph, making them ideal subjects for honing your skills.
  • Master Polar Alignment: Accurate polar alignment of the Advanced VX mount is crucial for long-exposure astrophotography. Take time to learn and practice this skill to improve the quality of your images.
  • Experiment with Camera Settings: Experiment with different camera settings, such as exposure time, ISO, and aperture, to understand their effects on your astrophotographs.
  • Use Guiding Systems for Long Exposures: For longer exposures, consider using an autoguiding system to improve tracking accuracy and image sharpness.
  • Join Online Communities: Engage with online astrophotography forums and communities. These platforms are excellent resources for tips, advice, and feedback on your astrophotography journey.

The Celestron AVX C8, with its superior optics and the Advanced VX mount, is a formidable tool for both amateur and experienced astrophotographers. By understanding its capabilities and practicing essential skills, beginners can embark on a rewarding journey of capturing the marvels of the universe.

Pros and Cons of the Celestron AVX C8

When considering the Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8), it’s essential to weigh its advantages and limitations. This balanced perspective helps in making an informed decision, especially when comparing it with other models in terms of features and price point.

Pros of the Celestron AVX C8

  • Superior Optics: The 8-inch aperture provides excellent light-gathering capability, making it ideal for both planetary and deep-sky observations. The clarity and detail in the images are impressive.
  • Advanced VX Mount: The mount offers stability and precision, which are crucial for both observing and astrophotography. Its tracking accuracy is particularly beneficial for long-exposure astrophotography.
  • Versatility: This telescope is versatile enough to cater to both beginners and experienced astronomers. It’s suitable for a range of astronomical applications, from casual stargazing to serious astrophotography.
  • GoTo Capability: The computerized GoTo system with a database of over 40,000 objects makes finding and tracking celestial objects effortless and accurate.
  • Expandability: The AVX C8 is compatible with a wide range of accessories, allowing users to upgrade and enhance their observing or photography experience.

Cons of the Celestron AVX C8

  • Complexity for Beginners: The telescope’s setup and use might be overwhelming for absolute beginners. The learning curve can be steep in terms of aligning the telescope and mastering its features.
  • Portability: While it is relatively portable for its size, the AVX C8 can be cumbersome to transport and set up, especially for those new to larger telescopes.
  • Price Point: Compared to entry-level telescopes, the AVX C8 is a significant investment. Its price may be a barrier for those just starting or on a tight budget.
  • Power Requirements: Being a computerized telescope, it requires a consistent power source, which might limit its usability in remote locations without access to power or a portable power supply.

Accessories and Upgrades for the Celestron AVX C8

Enhancing your Celestron Advanced VX 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (AVX C8) experience can be achieved through a variety of accessories and upgrades. These additions not only improve the quality of your observations but also expand the capabilities of your telescope. Here are some recommended accessories and upgrades compatible with the AVX C8.

Essential Accessories to Enhance Observing Experience

  • Eyepiece Kits: Investing in additional eyepieces can significantly enhance your viewing experience. A kit with various focal lengths provides more magnification options, allowing you to view a wider range of celestial objects.
  • Barlow Lens: A Barlow lens doubles or triples the magnification of your eyepieces, offering a cost-effective way to increase your range of magnifications.
  • Filter Sets: Filters are essential for enhancing the visibility of celestial features. A lunar filter, for instance, can reduce the brightness of the Moon and improve contrast. Planetary filters enhance details on planets, and nebula filters are great for deep-sky observations.
  • Dew Shield: A dew shield prevents the formation of dew on the telescope lens during cooler observing nights, ensuring clear views throughout your session.

Upgrades for Improved Performance and Astrophotography

  • Higher Quality Eyepieces: Consider upgrading to higher-end eyepieces that offer better eye relief and wider fields of view. Eyepieces with long focal lengths and wide apparent fields of view can significantly improve the observing experience.
  • Electronic Focuser: An electronic focuser allows for precise, vibration-free focusing, which is especially useful for astrophotography and observing planets.
  • Autoguider System: For long-exposure astrophotography, an autoguider can be invaluable. It ensures that the telescope tracks objects with high precision, which is crucial for sharp, clear astrophotos.
  • DSLR or Dedicated Astronomy Camera: Upgrading to a high-quality DSLR or a dedicated astronomy camera can take your astrophotography to the next level. These cameras are designed to capture the faint light of distant celestial objects.
  • Power Supply Solutions: Since the AVX C8 requires a stable power source, investing in a reliable power tank or portable power supply is beneficial, especially for remote observing locations.

Compatibility and Installation

When selecting accessories and upgrades, it’s important to ensure compatibility with the AVX C8. Most modern astronomy accessories are designed to be user-friendly, allowing for easy installation and interchangeability. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specifications and, if necessary, consult with experts or the astronomy community for advice on the best options for your telescope.

Conclusion