In the past I’ve talked about how much I enjoy classic black Celestron telescopes. Well, there is one telescope from that vintage that I’ve always admired but never owned: the Celestron Super Polaris C6 (SP-C6). This was a Vixen-manufactured 6″ f/5 Newtonian on Celestron’s Super Polaris German Equatorial mount — a heavier version of the excellent Polaris mount. In fact, before the SP-C6, Celestron offered the C6, which was the same optical tube assembly (although painted funky orange) coupled with the Polaris mount.
Anyway, about a month ago I was idly pursuing eBay on my iPad (yes, looking at used telescopes on eBay, Craigslist and Astromart constitutes recreation to me) and a few posts caught my eye: somebody had an SP-C6, and was selling it in two lots — the mount and the optical tube. The prices were very reasonable, as they often are a few days before auction close.
Hmmm…what to do? The prices were too good, so I put in a bid on each. It lasted about a day, and then I was outbid. I decided that I would mount the C6 tube on the Polaris mount, so I dropped out of the SP bidding and upped my bid on the C6 … which lasted for about two hours. Then, I upped my bid one more time — at this point I was still getting this OTA for under $150 with shipping — and went to bed hopeful I would win the day. But of course, I was outbid again a few hours before the auction closed. At that point, I made the decision that I didn’t want to go any further, and let it go. Still, it hurt a little bit to see the notification that I lost when the auction finally ended. That SP-C6, or even a C6 setup, was still on my mind.
Have I learned anything from this? Yes — at this point, I’d have to say I’m a telescope collector as much as an observer. I love to observe, and I love to teach astronomy and do public outreach, but I also am hopelessly enamored with telescopes themselves. Not really cameras, computers and electronics, but the telescopes and mounts themselves, their history and their varied design.
My wife will probably read this and tell me this isn’t news to her. But after this latest episode, it dawned on me that some of the telescopes I have are there just because I like them, and I felt a little guilty about that. But then I realized that people collect guns, cameras, motorcycles, cars, Faberge eggs, and all sorts of things. So I got over it.
Now, if anyone has an SP-C6 out there that they are tired of, let me know. Or if you have an old Meade 6600 OTA, that would work too … I have the mount already …