Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celestron Advanced C-10 NG Computerized 10" Reflector Telescope

Celestron Advanced C-10 NG Computerized


This telescope is a fine option for an upgrade from your beginner telescope.  It offers quality optics at a very low price considering the aperture size to cost ratio.

It's a high quality 10" Reflector with a 9x50 bidirectional finderscope.  It also has a 2" focuser allowing the use of 2" and 1.25" seocondary lens eyepieces.  It comes with a high quality Computerized German Equatorial Mount that includes "The Sky" Astronomy software with over 40,000 pre-programmed clelestial objectss made easy to locate using the computer finder system.

The scope also comes with three Manuals in PDF format teaching the proper use of the Scope, Mount and Computerized features of this telescope.  The mount has two high quality DC Servo motors for tracking Altitude and Azimuth allowing for smooth slew sweeps for timed exposure Astrophotography purposes.  It is relatively easy to learn and offered at a wonderful savings through  This scope is priced at $1,271.49 and ships in two to five weeks with free SuperSaver shipping.  You will save $844.46, a 40% saving through Amazon.

Click here to shop and compare at   (Or click the image above)

Click here to read my article on how reflector telescopes work, and the superior light collection ability of a large aperture Newtonian Relector telescope design.

Click read more below to read my article on Astrophotography methods, or the specifications and image examples available from this quality intermediate telescope.
Telescopes and Astrophotography Methods:  Larry W. Price (Author)

   A view by telescope or the naked eye of our night skies is incredibly awe inspiring.  To view the same on a cold dark night in the desert or on a mountaintop brings with it a longing to know more and see more.  The first celestial pictures taken by my father in the 1960's were of the planets.  Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are the first pictures engraved into my memories.  Later, through the use of cameras, we were able to reveal the beauty of star clusters, nebulas and gas clouds so beautiful, you could not wait to photograph more.

   We now have Digital CDD Cameras that are in competition with old fashioned film photography methods.  Their use is viable and very competitive to film, and offer digital enhancement capability not available in film photography.  There are many other advantages associated with CDD imaging that are superior to film photography.  This will be discussed further in this article.  There are also methods using slide film which allow you to photograph both through the lens of the telescope, and piggybacked on the scope with wide angle lens attachments that capture astral images beautifully.  These methods will also be discussed within this article.

To this day I have a profound interest in Astronomy, and I am nowhere near the end of learning.  Such is the beauty of our universe.  Learning to photograph celestial objects has become a lifelong passion, and this article is intended to trigger the same interest in you.  What can be revealed by astrophotography is astoundingly beautiful, and without learning how to photograph that beauty, you will not get the pleasure of creating or viewing these images.

Wide Angle Imaging Using Film Cameras

For the last fifty years, film photography has been the standard for astrophotography.  It is clearly superior in quality, but is losing ground in the advent of CDD quality improvements and certain advantages found in manipulating digital images.  The method used is fairly straight forward and simple.  Mount your camera on the telescope tube or the equatorial mount.  Attach a 50mm to 300mm lens using a bayonet adapter, set your telescope upon a constellation or nebula, and open your camera shutter for a 5-10 second exposure.  Many timed exposures can go 5-20 minutes or more.   Sounds easy, but it’s a bit more complicated than this, but it's easy to learn the ropes.

First of all you will need to purchase an equatorial mount that is computer driven.  The drive mechanism should track smoothly on azimuth and altitude in order to keep the image from trailing on your film.  Not all computerized mounts have the same type of tracking ability.  Some claim to be computerized, and are only capable of finding a point in space that you give coordinates for.  With this type of mount, you simply zero the telescope on say, the North Star (Polaris), set xy axis on that point with the computer, and then give the coordinates you wish to view.  Once entered, the computer will move the scope into the position you have designated.

The problem with this type of mount is that it does not have the ability to track the celestial object you have chosen, from the point the scope is pointing at your chosen object, you must manipulate the azimuth and altitude buttons on your mount control to keep it in view.  You can only take snap shots through the secondary lens with the film camera and cannot set a shutter stop to get a timed exposure off these type mounts.  Quick exposures are fine images, but they lack details and contrasts you get from a timed exposure.  Many of the stars, Saturn ring striations and moon craters will fail to show in your photograph, simply because the shutter closes too quickly, and faint details cannot develop on the film surface.

The Piggy-Back Method

Once you have the appropriate computerized mount, you must adapt the mount itself to accept a special camera mounting device.  These can be found by searching online, in a camera shop frequented by astronomy buffs, or by information gained through involvement with an astronomy club or association you have joined to share and learn with.  Many camera shops carry mounting devices you can adapt for the purpose.

I am partial to mounting on the bracket that my telescope is held onto the mount with.  This position assures stability of the mount, both in the filming and tracking phase, and when you make contact with the mount yourself, either accidentally or purposefully.  Mounting your camera on the telescopes tube, just aft of the secondary mirror assembly, brings balance issues into play.  Those balance issues relate to the weight of the camera photography package and the available counter weights you have at your disposal.  It is possible to correct the weight balance problem and common sense would apply in the solution.

A good mount will allow you to attach a photography package weighing up to 90 lbs, at the rear and along the body of the telescope tube.  Low end and intermediate weight capacities are 40-60 lbs respectively.  The price range of adequate mounts varies by manufacturer; a low end price would be $660.00, while mid-range would go for about $1200.00.  A high quality mount could run in the approximate neighborhood of $3500-$5000.00.  The important thing is the materials they are manufactured of, and the slewing and tracking ability of the computerized DC Servo-motor drive system.  Specifications are outside the scope of this article, but a simple online research session will turn up much needed information.

Choosing A Good Camera

As you can see by the written picture above, we are in fact piggy-backing a photography package on the telescope mount or tube itself.  Determining what camera system and lens you will use is one of economic consideration, function and product quality.  I recommend the 35mm Minolta SRT 101(b) as a very good choice.  Other options would be a Pentax K1000, Canon F-1, Nikon F2, or an Olympus OM-1.  These are older cameras (1960-1975 or later) and they can be found in camera shops, on E-bay, or through other online sources.  I recommend them because of the quality materials used to construct them.  All internal gearing and movements are made of quality machined and anodized steels, so they will last many years without wear affecting their operation.  Most modern cameras are not made of such high quality materials, and will not last you nearly as long as one of these cameras.  However, many newer cameras fit the bill, you just need to be informed and shop carefully.

Selecting Proper Lenses

An additional lens or several lenses are needed.  You can take 35mm wide angle pictures thought the telescopes secondary lens for simplified near earth planet or star image creation.  This is a beginner option for you to consider until you have made up your mind to upgrade further.  However, quality imaging comes from using lenses with a focal length of 50mm-300mm, each having an advantage by giving you a larger or smaller swath of sky to photograph, and more light gathering capability.

An 85mm or a 135mm telephoto lens brings a realm of targets before your eye, and they are ideal for framing and shooting timed exposures of Milky Way star clouds, nebulas and star clusters.  Any object you can see with the naked eye or with binoculars is a target for piggy-back telephoto lens photography.  The Crab Nebula in Taurus, the Ring Nebula in Lyra and Hercules are suitable subjects.  In addition to these lens options, you will need the appropriate adapters, ring or bayonet type for attaching your lenses to the camera.

Selecting The Proper Film

Piggy-back astrophotography can produce disappointing picture quality when you use the wrong film.  Long exposure times while photographing an image can create a green cast on the picture.  Additionally, some film manufacturers intentionally block their films red sensitivity because of redeye.  The manufacturer wants the film to suppress the redeye effect when it's used to take pictures of people.  Since 2005, the best film to use for astrophotography is slide film produce by Kodak.  The Kodak Ecktachrome and Fuji Provia 400F films are best to use.

Wide Angle Imaging Using CDD Cameras

About twenty years ago, digital CDD imaging became available at a very basic level.  The first cameras were aimed at amateur astral photography and were not of high quality.  There is a basic picture resolution difference between the digital image capability of the early CDD cameras and film.  Film has a much higher resolution because it derives its picture from tiny particles of silver embedded on the film surface.  Film also has the capability to continuously collect pinpoints of light during open shutter exposure to the astral plane.  Meaning, with the shutter open for a defined period of time, while aimed towards the open sky, it will collect and define an image in much higher resolution than the early digital cameras.

The early CDD Camera was an ST-6 Model produced by SBIG (Santa Barbara Instrument Group) and had a pixel resolution of 23 X 27 Microns, which was not good for taking quality images of the sky.  The size of the cameras silicon collector chip was to small to produce fine images, but SBIG realized the future these cameras would have and went on to develop the new platform  This camera was capable of producing acceptable images when used with telescopes that have a long focal length however, and they took a foothold with astronomers of all types.

The ST-6's silicon collector chip had a pickup resolution of 6.5 X 8.6mm, which was improved from 1990-2001, with the release of the ST-7 through ST-10.  The ST-10 had a collector chip that used an 8.6 micron square chip.  A very large improvement came through this development and a larger group of astronomers embraced the new technology.  For the most part, these cameras need to be manipulated using various methods to get fine results.  The methods used to take photographs using CDD Cameras is varied, as the following discussion will show.

Piggy-Back CDD Astrophotography

Piggy-Back means again, joining the camera to the tube of your telescope by buying or creating a mount specifically for that purpose.  The available CDD cameras have varying configurations, and a mount may have to be designed and developed by you.  If you don't have such ability, you can shop online by inquiry through Google to find out what devices are available for what camera, and buy your CDD Camera accordingly.  These will be after market devices developed and sold by individual astronomers.  Basic mounting devices can be purchased through camera shops, you should look for a mount the has a Ball-Swivel feature, that allows you to swivel the camera to a desired attitude.

Once you have the appropriate mounting device for the camera, you need to develop or find a manufactured lens mount (sled or bayonet type), that allows you to mount lenses in the range of 50-300mm.  You don't need to purchase all these lenses, but a 180mm will do for starters, and will give you a wide swath of sky to photograph.  This lens coupled with an SBIG ST-7 will give you about 1.5° X 2.2° of sky, and the ST-10 provides 3.2° X 4.7° of sky coverage.  You will also need to purchase a hydrogen-alpha filter to place between the 180mm lens and the silicon collector cell of the camera.  This is because CDD collectors are very sensitive to the amplified light focused by the attached lens, and will saturate without a filter.

The mechanics of all this are outside the scope of this primer, but more information is easily found online, especially if you inquire through a search engine using the terminology learned here.  Visual images can be seen, email conversations can be had, and proper decisions can then be made.  Pricing is also outside the scope of this article, but it is safe to say you get what you pay for in quality.  Computer Driven Equatorial Mounts can range in price from $1200.00 to $5000.00.  The cameras discussed and the accessories can range from $1000.00 to $1500.00.  This is a very wonderful hobby and any costs are well worth the investment, and will give many returns to you and your family in the future.

Having all this together, we then go into the field.  Plan a camping trip for a few days, and bring the kids and other hobby friends with you.  This is a great opportunity for quality time.  You should have a computerized telescope capable of zeroing and following azimuth and altitude, as we have discussed above, and the equatorial mount or telescope tube should be retrofitted to allow mounting the camera and lens attachments.  Secure your scope, mount the camera accordingly, and zero the scope on Polaris for computer reference purposes.  Direct you computer accordingly, to the nebula you wish to photograph.  Once you are viewing it through your telescope it is time to aim the camera and select a shutter stop setting.  Trigger the shutter for the experimental time you wish and watch your digital view develop on your camera.

All digital cameras have a wonderful advantage to film.  That is, you don't have to keep any one picture.  If it's flawed, discard the image, simple as that.  Tinker and learn until you have developed your skills.  This certainly will spoil you and the children.  Your friends will be amazed to no end.  Additional advantage in the digital age comes from the ability to view your images as they are collecting.  Your camera will have a digital display and accessory output you can direct to a computer for high resolution digital displays.  With a laptop on site, you can manipulate your images after capture using Adobe Photoshop®,  AIP® for Windows® or  StellaImage®.  Color imaging can be enhanced by using small color filters placed between the lens and camera silicon collector cell, as needed.  You could use a filter wheel to rotate appropriate filters before the collector and shoot individual exposures, adding RBG and CMY attributes.  Having done so, you can then layer these images to produce "astral art" you can show off and be very proud of.


I hope this article has informed and encouraged you.  Simple astronomy is a great and beautiful hobby that can be shared with family and friends.  And, astrophotography multiplies enjoyment and creativity.  It truly brings out what the naked eye and telescope cannot, and that is the absolute beauty of our universe.  In that you will get a permanent record of your images, you get to share each for years to come.  The quality of learning through interaction is so great that your children will be drawn to astronomy, and the bonds you will develop by this are everlasting.

Good luck in this new aspect of the hobby.

I wish you the best in developing needed skills, and hope you enjoy it as much as I have for so many years.

Specifications of Celestron Telescope:

Optical Design:
254 mm (10 in)
Focal Length:
1200 mm (47.24 in)
Focal Ratio:
CG-5 Equatorial
Eyepiece 1:
20 mm (0.79 in)
Magnification 1:
60 x
Accessory Tray:
2 inch Stainless Steel
"The Sky®" Level 1
Power Supply:
Car Battery Adapter
Highest Useful Magnification:
600 x
Lowest Useful Magnification:
36 x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude:
Resolution (Rayleigh):
0.55 arcsec
Resolution (Dawes):
0.46 arcsec
Photographic Resolution:
425 line/mm
Light Gathering Power:
1317 x
Angular Field of View:
0.83 °
Linear Field of View (@1000 yds) :
44 ft (13.41 m)
Optical Coatings:
Secondary Mirror Obstruction:
2.3 in (58.42 mm)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area:
5.3 %
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter:
23 %
Optical Tube Length:
45 in (1143 mm)
Telescope Weight:
94 lbs (42.64 kg)
Motor Drive:
DC Servo motors with encoders, both axes
Computer Hand Control:
Double line, 16 character Liquid Crystal Display; 19 fiber optic backlit LED buttons
Slew Speeds:
Tracking Rates:
Sidereal, Solar and Lunar
Tracking Modes:
EQ North and EQ South
Alignment Procedures:
AutoAlign, 2-Star Alignment, Quick Align
Software Precision:
24bit, 0.08 arcsec calculation
Communication Ports:
RS-232 communication port on hand control
Motor Ports:
Aux Port, Autoguide Ports
40,000+ objects, 100 user defined programmable objects. Enhanced information on over 200 objects
C10-NGT Computerized Telescope
C10-NGT Computerized Telescope
Item #11048

2-year Telescope Warranty

A. Celestron warrants your telescope to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for two years. Celestron will repair or replace such product or part thereof which, upon inspection by Celestron, is found to be defective in materials or workmanship. As a condition to the obligation of Celestron to repair or replace such product, the product must be returned to Celestron together with proof-of-purchase satisfactory to Celestron.
B. The Proper Return Authorization Number must be obtained from Celestron in advance of return. Call Celestron at (310) 328-9560 to receive the number to be displayed on the outside of your shipping container.
All returns must be accompanied by a written statement setting forth the name, address, and daytime telephone number of the owner, together with a brief description of any claimed defects. Parts or product for which replacement is made shall become the property of Celestron.
The customer shall be responsible for all costs of transportation and insurance, both to and from the factory of Celestron, and shall be required to prepay such costs.
Celestron shall use reasonable efforts to repair or replace any telescope covered by this warranty within thirty days of receipt. In the event repair or replacement shall require more than thirty days, Celestron shall notify the customer accordingly. Celestron reserves the right to replace any product which has been discontinued from its product line with a new product of comparable value and function.
This warranty shall be void and of no force of effect in the event a covered product has been modified in design or function, or subjected to abuse, misuse, mishandling or unauthorized repair. Further, product malfunction or deterioration due to normal wear is not covered by this warranty.
Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages or limitation on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to you.
This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.
Celestron reserves the right to modify or discontinue, without prior notice to you, any model or style telescope.
If warranty problems arise, or if you need assistance in using your telescope contact:
Customer Service Department
2835 Columbia Street
Torrance, CA 90503
Tel. (310) 328-9560
Fax. (310) 212-5835
Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM PST
NOTE: This warranty is valid to U.S.A. and Canadian customers who have purchased this product from an authorized Celestron dealer in the U.S.A. or Canada. Warranty outside the U.S.A. and Canada is valid only to customers who purchased from a Celestron's International Distributor or Authorized Celestron Dealer in the specific country. Please contact them for any warranty service.


The C10-NGT is the largest computerized Newtonian in its class with 178% more light gathering than the 6 inch model and almost twice the resolving power. The optics of the C10-N telescope are manufactured to Celestron‘s uncompromising standards. The C10-N uses diffraction-limited parabolic primary mirrors for razor sharp star images across a wide field of view. This telescope is mounted on the very rigid computerized CG-5 German Equatorial mount.
A counterweight, latitude scale, setting circles, and slow motion controls on both axes are standard. Includes premium accessories including a 9x50 finderscope with bi-directional alignment screws and a spring loaded pivot support, 20mm Plössl 1-1/4" eyepiece, 2" focuser, accessory tray and more, so you have a fully loaded telescope right from the start.
Mounted on the Advanced GT Series computerized mount, this telescope has some high performance software and hardware features. Operated by our proven NexStar® computer control technology the telescope has a 40,000+ object database with 100 user-definable objects and expanded information on over 200 objects. Custom database lists of all the most famous deep-sky objects by name and catalog number; the most beautiful double, triple and quadruple stars; variable star; solar systems; objects and asterisms.
Using the RS-232 communication port on the hand control, you can control the telescope via a personal computer and our new flash upgradeable hand controls allow you to update your telescope's operating software via the internet. An autoguider port is also included for astrophotography. 
CG-5 Mount - Precision engineered for stability.
Our new German Equatorial mount has precision worm gears on both axes for extremely smooth stability. The key element that makes this system the most stable in its class is the NEW heavy-duty tripod with larger and more substantial legs that offer excellent damping characteristics for more stable views. The CG-5 also has a convenient latitude scale for easier alignment and an optional polar finder scope for the ultimate in precision alignment.

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