You might think you can only get an astrophotography telescope by having to buy a GoTo mount and a telescope separately.
Well, the Celestron Advanced VX 6 SCT is a complete package.
You have a tripod with a German equatorial mount with computerized GoTo capability. You have Celestron’s NexStar+ hand control technology, a catadioptric compound optical system, and a very short tube with a very long focal length.
Sounds like a recipe for experimentation, sky-searching, and astro imaging!
✔️ Best Feature: Catadioptric telescope
❌ Worst Feature: No included power supply
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, DSO Viewing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, Astrophotography, Beginners, Intermediates
- Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
- Aperture: 150 mm (6”)
- Focal Length: 1500 mm (59”)
- Focal Ratio: f/10
- Eyepieces Included: 25 mm
Our Verdict: The Celestron Advanced VX 6 SCT is will get your foot in the door to discovering what a long focal length telescope can do in terms of astrophotography. Don’t underestimate its ability, because it’s a scope that comes with the package to get it done.
Who is the Celestron Advanced VX 6 SCT Best Suited to?
The VX 6 SCT isn’t a beginner’s telescope per se, but it’s a good upgrade for a beginner who wants to learn more and dabble in astrophotography with less limitations. It’s certainly an expensive buy for the beginner, but it does come with a Schmidt-Cassegrain tube and computerized mount. This may be necessary if you want to take photos and travel between sites to maximize observation sessions.
It’s also an excellent telescope for intermediate level users especially those who know how to work equatorial mounts. They’ll appreciate that it comes with all the fixings and is ready to go. There are a few more accessories you’ll need to get maximum performance, so be sure to budget those in.
How Does the Celestron Advanced VX 6 SCT Perform?
The VX 6 SCT performs excellently for what is seemingly a little telescope. Its Schmidt-Cassegrain optical system allows for a long 1500 mm focal length with only a 16” tube length. This results in a more compact and lightweight telescope that is more pleasurable to use and transport because of its small size.
The Advanced VX mount is known for its sturdiness and dependability, and the motorized system expands opportunities for astrophotography – all of which are reliable and accurate, by the way.
As you can imagine with a 6” light bucket and slow focal specs, high power observation is the name of the game.
Features & Benefits
This type of catadioptric telescope has a Schmidt-Cassegrain optical system that consists of both lenses and mirrors. The mirrors are spherical in shape, but where it would introduce spherical aberration in fast telescopes, this has a long focal length and a corrector plate that either reduces or eliminates the issue. What you end up with is a very portable telescope that provides a resulting long focal length of 1500 mm, slow focal ratio of f/10, and large aperture of 6”.
So, why not just opt for a 6” Dobsonian and save some money? Well, the SCT has a built-in corrector plate for spherical aberration, it’s much shorter in tube length, and the mounting system and computerized drive allow for tracking and astrophotography.
What about the visuals? Provided that atmospheric conditions are in your favor and it’s the right time of the year, you can achieve excellent and stunning views of objects in the night sky from lunar and planetary to deep-sky observation – not unlike 6-10” Dobsonians.
Good for Astrophotography
Some may have their doubts about this setup being good for astrophotography, but it’s definitely a viable option. Off the bat, it has a very dependable computerized mount with software for accurate pointing and tracking, and that’s half the battle right there.
Now, the optics. It does have a very long focal length, but this can be shortened with a focal reducer. It may even help to correct off-axis aberrations, help to flatten the field, and shortens exposure time while providing a wider field of view. It almost seems like a lose-lose situation when “affordable” telescopes either don’t have a long enough length to allow a DSLR camera to achieve focus or it’s too long and it doesn’t provide enough of a wide field of view. However, even with f/10, you can take planetary nebulae and bright globular cluster photos. To expand your astronomy portfolio, modifications may need to be made and a ton of experimenting with different exposures.
Advanced VX Mount
The Advanced VX mount is a computerized GoTo German equatorial mount, and it comes with all the bells and whistles. Better yet, its payload capacity is 30 lbs, so it’s sure going to hold your heavy loads for all the imaging you’ll be doing. It has a Vixen-style V dovetail bar to mount the scope, has backlash compensation, and is compatible with a GPS accessory.
The mount will automatically track your objects in the sky and has a port for an autoguider if you decide to use one. It also has two more AUX ports of additional accessories and a NexStar+ hand control. The NexStar+ provides all the motions and functions your mount is capable of including automatic slewing to over 40,000 objects with up to nine speeds.
Portable & Lightweight
With this setup, why not travel to various locations to acquire stunning views of deep space? The entire assembly weighs approximately 57 lbs, but no one piece weighs over 20 lbs. This is certainly comparable to other telescopes that are worth trudging around to get the best pictures.
The mount weighs 17 lbs and the tripod weighs 18 lbs. The counterweight weighs 12 lbs and the optical tube weighs 10 lbs.
No Included Power Supply
Unfortunately, the only included “power supply” is a car battery adapter. You can power your mount with the adapter by plugging it into your car’s cigarette lighter. Honestly though, how many cars still have those or that aren’t already taken up with USB port chargers? The better thing to do would be to buy a 12V AC power pack to operate it while you’re in the field. At home, you can always use a wall adapter.
What Software Drives the Computerized Mount?
You’ll receive a free download of Starry Night Special Edition Software. You can learn a lot with this software and even control the scope with a computer. But, the main software you’ll be taking advantage of is CPWI (Celestron Plane Wave Instruments) Software. It’s the result of a collaboration between the two companies and provides multiple features and functions including an interface to use third party software applications.
What Type of Mounting Plate is the AVX Compatible with?
The mount head has a Vixen-style V dovetail bar, so it’s compatible with Vixen format dovetail plates. Many users may have a telescope they want to mount to the Advanced VX mount with a Losmandy D Dovetail plate. This cannot be done. The plate must be at last 100 mm in length so the knobs make contact with both sides of the plate, it must have a dovetail undercut of at least 10.2 mm, and the width cannot exceed 74.5 mm. The dual saddle plate is only compatible with a Celestron CGE or CG5 universal mounting plates.
What Additional Accessories does the Advanced VX 6 Need?
It really depends on what you want and what your needs are. Is it purely visual or will there be attempts at astro imaging? Filters and extra eyepieces are always a highly recommended addition. A dew shield may be in order, and an alternate power supply would be extremely convenient.
If you’re tinkering around with prime focus astrophotography, a T-ring and T-ring adapter and focal length reducer would be necessary. Auto-guiding equipment may also be needed, and there is an autoguider port on the mount.
Can the Advanced VX be Slewed Manually?
Yes, you can manually slew the mount. You’ll essentially have rough adjustments as you would with any manual tracking mount, but the option is there to manually track an object. However, the highlight feature of the Advanced VX is its computerized GoTo capability.
There are no real complaints about this telescope. In fact, many users bought it after having been disappointed with a previous scope buy and wish they had made the plunge on this one first. Don’t make the same mistake. If you want a GoTo mount with an aperture that won’t break the break or seriously cut back on the field of view, this Celestron is a viable option. There’s plenty here to experiment with and grow into. The Advanced VX 6 is top quality on a budget.