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Your favorite eyepiece for planetary detail

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#1 Skywise2



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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:53 PM

What is your favorite eyepiece for planetary viewing? Right now, I'm using a 10" SCT, but plan to invest in a TV NP101IS :question:

#2 killdabuddha



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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:37 PM

Our 11mm T6 is our best for 170x most the time. No tracking. The 82* even lets us scan. ES would be good, too.

#3 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:44 PM

That's like asking which of your children is your favorite. Not Fair.

That said, when I'm looking at planets, I find myself reaching for my Brandon 6mm far more often than any other. :love:


#4 beatlejuice



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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:51 PM

5mm and 7mm BGO's, but last spring I got terrific views of Saturn in my 10" with ES 14-82/2.5x powermate combo.


#5 ibase



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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:00 PM

UO-HD 5mm, 6mm BGO, 6mm Delos, Nagler 5T6, RGO 7mm.


#6 Jaimo!


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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:12 PM

4mm, 7mm &10.5mm Meade RG Orthos. In most of my scopes.


#7 operascope


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:33 AM

ES 6.7mm. I observe with a 6" f/9.4 dob and a 12.3" f/5 dob.

#8 MikeBOKC


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:34 AM

24 Panoptic, 13 Ethos or 16 Brandon, depending on seeing.

#9 Taeyoung



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:43 AM

4.4mm, 5.9mm, 7.3mm ball lens eyepieces and XO 5, Televue 8mm Pl, Brandon 8mm with my 10" dob.
They are cool^^

#10 Svezda


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:24 AM

5XW, 7XW, 10XW (have 14-40mm but too low for most details I want to see)
5XO - fills the spot where a 5mm SMC would be; also acts as a 'ZAO-II 5mm' (since there isn't one)
6, 7, 9, 12 SMC orthos (have 18 but too low power for details)

ZAO-II set + Zeiss/Baader 2x
25 aspheric micro ep (superb contrast)+ 2x Zeiss Barlow
ZAJ set excluding the 4mm, 8mm

Docter 12.5 84deg AFOV (on 'never sell no matter what' list)

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:17 AM

For me, it depends on the telescope and the conditions, these are far more important than the particular eyepiece I am using.

If the seeing supports 400x, I need first to be using a telescope that is performs well at 400x and then I will choose the appropriate eyepiece. The 25 inch, that would be the 9mm Nagler, in the 12.5 inch F/6, the 4.8mm... In the 12.5 inch F/6 it would be the 4.8mm Nagler, in the 12.5 inch F/4.06, the 3.5mm...


#12 kkokkolis



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:14 AM

Since when in city all I can enjoy are the planets, I use all my eyepieces on them. I consider as planetaries my BGOs (I prefer the 18 and 12.5 with Powermate 2.5 over 9 & 6 for eye relief), Delos 10 & 6 and Radian 8. Baader zoom is also great, it shows almost what the other show with a bit of lateral color sometimes, but it gives me the perfect magnification everytime, as is or barlowed.

#13 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:06 AM

Leica ASPH zoom, in all three telescopes. It beat out the Pentax XWs that I had, and was the equal of the ZAO IIs that I had on loan. It's nice to be able to dial in the right magnification to match the seeing.

#14 junomike


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:29 AM

5mm XO = 155X in AT111EDT. Perfect magnification for Jupiter and Saturn in my skies. I have other well (LVW, TMB SMC), but nothing can match the snap focus and detail in the XO (although the TMB SMC comes close).


#15 REC



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

ES 6.7mm in my ED80mm and the ES11mm in my 8"SCT....on a good seeing night. Otherwise it's my 16mm Brandon. Something mysterious with that EP on the Moon?


#16 j3ffr0



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

In my refractor the 3-6 Nagler zoom is my favorite. In my SCT's my 16mm Nagler Type 5 has always impressed me.

#17 Sean Cunneen

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

I like the 12mm Brandon for Jupiter. In my refractor, 8mm or 6mm tends to bump against seeing.

#18 BillP


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

What is your favorite eyepiece for planetary viewing? Right now, I'm using a 10" SCT, but plan to invest in a TV NP101IS :question:

Unfortunately, what will work good in your SCT won't even be a candidate for planetary in the NP101 because of the radically different focal lengths. A 5mm eyepiece in the SCT will get you around 500x and in the NP101 only 100x. So the planetary choices will be quite different.

Magnification and exit pupil should be considerations in the choice, as well as what your local seeing conditions will allow on most evenings, and on rarer evenings. For me, the local seeing usually allows 200x most all the time, and then more rarely 400x. So that is my working range.

I also find that a .75mm exit pupil is a good working max for maintaining good contrast. Not a hard-fast rule but just what my eye tends to like. In the NP101 that exit pupil would be produced by a 4mm eyepiece (135x). In your SCT that exit pupil is produced by a 7.5mm eyepiece (330x). But that magnification is a bit high so if you back it down to 200x then the SCT would be using a 12.5mm eyepiece. Bottom line is that the SCT, due to its larger aperture, will having working planetary eyepieces between 12.5mm to 7.5mm or even 6mm, whereas the NP101 will likely have a working range starting at 4mm then getting smaller, probably down to 2mm on the very rarest evenings under very dark conditions since the view will be dim using 2mm.

If it were me, I would be looking for 3 eyepieces for the SCT, probably 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm. Without getting exotic, an 8mm and 12mm Brandon, then need to find some suitable eyepiece near 10mm, so perhaps an 11mm TV Plossl or the older 10.5mm smoothsided version. Going exotic would opt for the 8-10-12 TMB Supermonocentrics or AP-SPLs since they both come in those focal lengths.

For the NP101 the 2-4 Nagler Zoom gets you the focal length range you need in one eyepiece, so something to consider. Another thing you could do would be to get the 8-10-12 trio for the SCT, then get a 3x Barlow to use those same three with the NP101. This way save some money by using the Barlow to get to the shorter focal lengths that the NP101 needs for productive planetary. Yes, not a purist approach for planetary mandating a Barlow, but it works good enough and IMO a higher class planetary, like the Brandon, when Barlowed will at least be the equal of the 2-4 Zoom in terms of how detailed the image is.

A final consideration is to think about operating ergonomics. The NP101 shines as a rich field telescope with its very short focal ratio. In that role you are likely to be using very wide field eyepieces with some good eye relief. So the switch to a tight eye relief narrow FOV planetary may not "feel" like a great transition. So the better tactic from this standpoint would be to perhaps get some wide fields with good reputations for planetary also and then Barlow them for the NP101. So in the 8-12mm focal length range you could assemble some Pentax XWs or Delos to fit that also.

Lots to consider...most of it driven really by personal preferences.

#19 bremms



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

7mm and 9mm UO ortho. My generic 12mm Japanese vintage ortho I got with a scope is super sharp, it surprises me all the time. Great on Jupiter in the C11 when the seeing won't tolerate the 9 or 7 mm. My 9mm UO was only OK until I realized the field lens was very dirty and the field stop was not in the correct place. It had a lot of scattered light and a fuzzy field stop.
It's great now. I mean it was DIRTY... a film and dirt. blew off the dirt and used 91%Iso with dist H2O. It may become my favorite now. Have to say my 17mm TV smoothie is darn good too.
My award goes to the underdog 12.5 generic Ortho for now.

#20 FirstSight


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:59 AM

I have an NP101, and for planetary viewing find the 2x Powermate invaluable. Here's my two primary planetary observing sets:
(1) 7mmT6 Nagler, 5mmT6 Nagler, 2" 2x Powermate
which respectively give (magnification, exit pupil):
7T6: (77x, 1.3mm)
5T6: (108x, 0.96mm)
7T6 + 2xPM: (154x, 0.65mm)
5T6 + 2xPM: (216x, 0.46mm)

(2) 4.7mm Ethos; 3.7mm Ethos, 2" 2x Powermate
4.7E: (115x, 0.87mm)
3.7E: (146x, 0.68mm)
4.7E + 2xPM: (230x, 0.46mm)
3.7E + 2xPM: (292x, 0.34mm)

Obviously, the 3.7E + 2xPM pushes the scope a bit over its recommended "true" magnification limit of around 250x, as well as producing an exit pupil problematically small for many people. The 5T6 + 2xPM or 4.7E + 2xPM are at the realistic useful limits most nights, or even just the 3.7E by itself on really mediocre-minus nights.

If the scope is undriven, the 3.7E and 4.7Es keep planets within the FOV luxuriously long, and therefore easier to pick up fine detail from extended uninterrupted study than with the Naglers. For my tastes, in an undriven NP101 a narrower-field EP (e.g. 50deg AFOV) would require annoyingly frequent nudging in the magnification ranges useful for viewing planetary detail.

#21 John Huntley

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:49 PM

For me it's the Ethos 6mm and Pentax XW's in 5mm and 3.5mm.

I've been through Baader GO's and University HD Ortho's and a 5mm TMB Supermono in the past but I'm very happy with my current line up and see them being with me for a long time :)

#22 Sasa



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

C63/840: ATC 8mm Erfle (planets), Carl Zeiss Jena ortho 6mm (Moon)
AS80/1200: Carl Zeiss Jena ortho 10mm (Jupiter), TMB Mono 7mm (Mars, Moon)
ED100 f/9: TMB Mono 7mm, Carl Zeiss Jena ortho 6mm, Pentax XO5.1
in past N250/1600: TV Plossl 8mm

#23 kevint1


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:12 PM

Depending on the conditions, in my 102 f7 I like a 2x Barlowed TV 11mm Plossl, and straight through ES 4.7 and UWAN 4 mm. The UWAN hits a sweet spot for me at about 178x. I've had some really nice views of Jupiter over the last couple of weeks with this eyepiece.

#24 Deep13



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Posted 23 November 2012 - 06:43 PM

6 or 10mm ZAO-II. Also, 8 & 11mm TV Ploessl, 8 & 12.5mm RKE.

In pairs: 15 or 20mm TV Pls., 15 or 21mm RKE, or 16mm Brandon.

non-tracking Dobs: 10 or 7mm Pentax XW.

for 5" f/12, 8" f/6, and 12.5" f/5.

#25 Javier


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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

In my 6" SCT it's a 16MM Nagler, in my 8" SCT a 18 Radian.

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