After months of deliberation I decided to thin my herd of scopes and move towards one main scope for visual use. The 10″ Dob had shown me the benefits of simplicity – a no wires setup, but it was heavy and of course it lacked tracking. Rather than go down the tracking platform route I decided to go for a Celestron Evolution 8.
In the UK the scope is now close to £2000 for the standard, non-Edge model, so this is a considerable investment, but if it gets used and it allows me to see a lot of targets in my usually short observing sessions then it could fit the bill.
After hitting “buy” I waited for the scope and a few weeks later Evo 8 #1 turned up at my door. #1? Well, the scope didn’t look brand new and exhibited scuffs on the mount and tube, along with a more significant blemish on the corrector plate.
I made a video on my YT channel. Not happy.
The scope went back to First Light Optics for inspection, and subsequent replacement. FLO provided great service, as usual.
Scope #2 looked better out of the box – it looked brand new!
What do I think of the Evo 8 a few months down the line? I like it. You can carry it in one piece!
Some weight info: OTA + Mount = 28lbs/12.5kg, Tripod = 14lbs/6.5 kg. Whole setup = 42lbs/19kg. It’s manageable because you can carry it close to your body – no jutting corners or counterweight shafts here.
Some other views of the mount – this is the reason for the extra cost vs an SE model; it’s a substantial lump of kit that carries the OTA with little fuss and tolerable motor noise. I say tolerable because, for me in my back garden, the full motor speed in altitude slewing is noisier than I’d like. It’s not a big issue – Celestron provide an app/HC feature to limit the max slew speed.
The Hand Controller is supplied with the scope, and can seem like a good proposition when you need to centre an alignment star and want to feel the N/S/W/E buttons rather than looking at a screen, but I forced myself to use the SkyPortal app on my phone instead. I don’t want even one wire. It requires more dexterity but with practice it becomes quite simple.
As for the OTA, well it’s an 8″ SCT, familiar for many years. I can only compare it to other SCTs I’ve used and say that, once collimation is locked in, it provides great views that are sharp and of good contrast, especially when paired with a good EP. I’ve started using a Baader Morpheus 17.5mm with it and am more than happy with the field of view, comfortable eye position and image quality of the setup. Of course it isn’t an 8″ APO, but then who could afford one of those?
This scope package has features that you know were designed by astronomers for astronomers – it’s the kit you need and little else. Gone are the wires which I have come to loath with my AP setups and other Eq visual kit. In comes a self contained lithium battery, large axis knobs, chunky carrying handles, tactile eyepiece trays and many more little details that make it so much easier to use in the darkness.
I made another video of scope #2 if you’d like to see more details of it’s features.
While the Evo 8 model is now a few years old (it first appeared in 2014), in my opinion it’s still worth looking into if you want a decent aperture, portable scope that’s streamlined to provide the features you will use. Nice job Celestron