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Eyepiece Recommendation for New Scope

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#1 ShaneOS

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:58 PM

I recently ordered a Celestron 8" EdgeHD with VX mount. I am brand new to astronomy, so I need some guidance on eyepiece selections. The scope comes with a 40mm eyepiece. The scope's focal length is 2032mm, for reference.

I have browsed several threads on eyepieces, but the options are overwhelming. Please recommend a decent medium power EP and high power EP. I will use the 40mm that comes with the scope for my low power EP until I "need" a better one. My budget is around $150 per eyepiece unless you can justify a more expensive one.

#2 SeattleScott

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:30 PM

A couple things that would help us help you, because, like you say, the options are overwhelming. Do you wear glasses? Do you plan to observe from the city or a dark sky site? What is the most you would consider spending on an eyepiece? Explore scientific are popular. A lot of people feel they have the best bang for the buck. But they will not accommodate eyeglasses well and their $100-200 price tag may be more than what you can afford.

#3 Pharquart

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:58 PM

Wow! Asking for an eyepiece recommendation is like walking into a wine bar and asking people what's a good wine. You're setting yourself up for a long list of wildly different and sometimes contradictory opinions. It's why eyepiece research is overwhelming.

So rather than give specific recommendations, I'll provide more general info. First comes focal length:

The 40mm that came with your scope is a bit of a waste unless your scope has a 2" visual back (and I don't think it does). A 32mm eyepiece is about the longest focal length eyepiece in a 1.25" format that can provide 50 degrees apparent field of view. The 40mm provides a narrower field, something like 40 degrees. I also have an 8" SCT and gave up using my 40mm and instead use a 32mm. Same true field, more magnification. That's my low power eyepiece. You can absolutely stay with your 40, but don't get a 32mm and expect to see much different.

For medium power, I'd look for something in the low 20's. That will get you something just under 100x, in my opinion a really good magnification for a lot of objects.

For high power, aim for 8mm as the shortest. Anything less on that type of scope will produce over 250x magnification, and unless you have really stable skies, your seeing (atmospheric distortion) will typically limit you to around that.

Maybe aim for a 12-15mm for medium/high views. Remember that you can use a 2x Barlow to double your eyepiece collection, so in general stay away from eyepieces that are close to half of another. If you have a 24mm eyepiece, a 12mm is a bit redundant if you have a 2x Barlow.

Field of view is entirely a personal preference. Plossls are inexpensive and give about 50-55 degrees. You can go to 60, 68, 72, 82, 100, and now beyond that. Wider is generally better (see more at the same magnification) but comes with trade offs, most notably price. Some people really don't like the view in really wide field eyepieces and get a little dizzy or disoriented, or sometimes have problems holding their eye in the right spot to take advantage of it. If you want to dip your toe into wide fields, I strongly recommend you buy 1 and try it before buying a set.

$150 opens up quite a few options in the "semi premium" eyepiece market. Explore Scientific 68 and 82 degree eyepieces are nice (I've had a few and really liked them). Used Televue Radians fall right about there and also perform extremely well. You can also take that $150 and buy 2-3 more budget eyepieces in the $60 range like the AstroTech Paradigm series that are close in performance to the Radians. The Edmund RKE line has a narrower field, but sharp views, and generally cost about $45 used.

Generally, high price also buys you better correction at the edges. Less expensive eyepieces can show distortion at the edges (stars are lines, blurs, or seagulls rather than points at the edge of the field) when used in "fast" scope (low focal ratio). The good news is that your SCT is F/10, meaning it will be very gentle on eyepieces. You don't require an expensive Televue to get good sharp views across the field.

I've found that used eyepieces hold their resale value quite well if cared for. So I recommend you troll the classifieds and buy a couple different models, perhaps even in the same (or close) focal lengths. Try them head to head, keep the better and sell the other. You'll lose the inbound shipping, but will probably get the eyepiece value back. I have about 7 eyepieces in my case, but have probably owned 20 as I've bought and sold used depending on my whim and what type of observing I'm hooked on lately. Lots of planetary: short focal length, high contrast. Deep sky: wide field, longer focal length.

Remember that everyone sees and likes different views. Don't let anyone's recommendations, including mine, drive you strongly for or against any particular eyepiece. For everyone that LOVES their Explore Scientific 14mm 82-degree, there's someone that thinks it's a load of junk next to their Nagler. So find one at a good price, try it, and if you don't like it, sell it and try something else. Have fun exploring rather than stress out over buying the "perfect" eyepiece.

Brian

#4 Erik30

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:11 PM

Remember that everyone sees and likes different views. Don't let anyone's recommendations, including mine, drive you strongly for or against any particular eyepiece. For everyone that LOVES their Explore Scientific 14mm 82-degree, there's someone that thinks it's a load of junk next to their Nagler. So find one at a good price, try it, and if you don't like it, sell it and try something else. Have fun exploring rather than stress out over buying the "perfect" eyepiece.

Brian


Absolutely agree, I went through the used market and have a variety of eye pieces. One thing to try is go to a star party and talk to people. A lot of people will let you try their eye pieces in your scope. (One, because they want to see too) This is how I found what "I" liked. On a side note... You can have my 20 T2 Nagler when you pry it from my cold dead Hands.. (Only Nagler I still own)

#5 MikeBOKC

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:28 PM

When I acquired my CPC1100 a few years ago it also came with the stock 40mm plossl. I started shopping for eyepieces to give me a variety of fields of view and magnifications and wound up over a couple of years with a good selection, but it was a lot of trial and error in between.

Frankly if I was just starting out with a new SCT I would buy 3-4 of the Astro Tech Paradigms in focal lengths around mid-20s, high teens and 8-11 or so and use those as I learned my new scope and tried other eyepieces at star parties and such. I have picked up a couple of Paradigms for use in solar observing and found them to be darn good values for the money ($60 per).

https://www.astronom..._c52.aspxhtt...

#6 TexasRed

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:38 PM

Consider starting with a good Barlow like this one: http://agenaastro.co...arlow-lens.html which can easily be used for 1.5x or 2x magnification. Then plan your other eyepiece purchases to avoid duplication.

#7 star drop

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:15 PM

Hi Shane and welcome to Cloudy Nights. Have you looked for a nearby astronomy club? Try this link to Astronomy Clubs in Missouri for 2013. It is most likely that someone has a telescope like or similar to yours. Go to a star party and check out the members eyepieces. They will know what works best at a particular price point. When you look into their eyepieces you will be able to get a feel for them. Ease of use, eye relief, difficulty of eye placement, etc are user specific. What works for some doesn't necessarily work for everyone. Going at it this way you won't be on the spin cycle buying, trying and selling eyepieces.

#8 pjensen

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:17 PM

I recently ordered a Celestron 8" EdgeHD with VX mount. I am brand new to astronomy, so I need some guidance on eyepiece selections. The scope comes with a 40mm eyepiece. The scope's focal length is 2032mm, for reference.

I have browsed several threads on eyepieces, but the options are overwhelming. Please recommend a decent medium power EP and high power EP. I will use the 40mm that comes with the scope for my low power EP until I "need" a better one. My budget is around $150 per eyepiece unless you can justify a more expensive one.


Just buy one eyepiece - a Pentax XW 10mm. Look at some Global Clusters, nebulae and some planets. It is pretty much the one I use the most. It costs $330.

Use this for a month or more and decide what you want next. Go slow and learn what you like to view.

You will need a cross hair reticle eyepiece - for star alignment. Cost is $75.

You won't use the 40mm ever again, except to throw at a wild animal... :)

#9 Usquebae

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:23 PM

(I am a beginner myself, so take that into consideration)

One item I don't often see recommended is a zoom eyepiece. I decided to make an 8-24 zoom (a common type) my first EP purchase after the 3 pieces that came with my first scope. I spent a bit more than you've allocated ($289) on a middle-high brand, but Zhumell and Celestron make 8-24 zooms that go for $60. I cannot comment on those two cheaper zooms, except to say that the typical reviews characterize them as "good for what you pay."

What I appreciate about the zoom from a beginner's standpoint is that it gives me experience with a large range of magnifications on every object I view. So I am learning, for the price of one piece, which mags work best on my particular scope, from my home site, and to my own eye. A $60 fixed 10mm EP may offer a better view than the $60 zoom at 10mm, but if your only pieces were 10, 20, 30, 40, how would you know to compare? Checking the same object (like Saturn) through the same zoom from one night to the next has also taught me a great deal about the effects of "seeing," collimation, cool-down time, etc. (I may get optimal resolution of Saturn at 8mm one night, then 10mm the next.)

Getting club & star party experience before spending limited resources sounds like the right advice. But if you prefer to, or must, go it alone, I think a zoom can teach you a lot. Due to the convenience factor, a zoom may have a proper place in your collection even after you accrue an arsenal of better fixed focal length EPs.

I may be commenting out of turn here, being a newbie, but I thought I should put the idea out there. Because I have had a great experience with my zoom EP (Hyp Mark III), yet experienced observers seem seldom to recommend them.

#10 Mark9473

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:22 AM

Very good advice, Usquebae. :waytogo:

#11 ShaneOS

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far, everyone. I really appreciate the advice.

To answer a couple of questions, no, I don't wear glasses, and I will be using this primarily in a very rural area with dark skies.

Now for more questions. It seems many prefer widefields for low or med powers. I am definitely intrigued by all the buzz with the 82 deg EPs. Do I need a 2" for this? It seems only lower focal lengths are available in 1.25". I had originally planned on sticking with all 1.25", but not if I will be limited. If I do need to venture into 2" EPs, can you recommend a quality 2" diagonal?

Also, several mentioned a barlow. I'm assuming that you get what you pay for. What price point should I be looking at for a quality barlow?

#12 hawk

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:02 PM

I just debated this exact question myself. I've currently got the Celestron kit of 1.25" Plossls (and it comes with an okay barlow), and I wanted something better. (I've had my scope for a couple months now.) I'm sure I'll eventually get a 2" diagonal, but I hit a little bit of price concern and indecision.

For example, I could get the Celestron 2" diagonal for under $150. But -- using the Explore Scientific line as my example -- the 2" 24mm ES82 is $200 (or 2' 30mm for $25), and the higher power (lower-mm) 1.25" ES82s are around $100. So that's $450-$500 to get the diagonal and two EPs.

If I'm considering that kind of money, I should also consider something like the Denkmeier power switch (barlow, focal reducer, and good quality 2" diagonal in one) for around $500 if I remember correctly.

So I decided to skip the 2" diagonal for now, and simply get the best reasonably-priced 1.25" eyepieces I could find. Turns out the longest ES82 in a 1.25" is a 14mm, and I stepped down to the ES68 (still quite a nice wide field), which comes in up to 24mm in 1.25". And neither one of those eyepieces is much over $100 with the Summer Solstice sale going on. (Finding them in stock is a different problem, but possible.)

#13 ShaneOS

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:10 PM

I was curious if the ES68s with longer focal lengths are still pretty good. Though it seems like with longer focal lengths, you want the wider FOV, and with the shorter focal lengths, a narrower FOV is acceptable. There is so much hype around the widefields.

#14 Kevdog

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:43 PM

I got the wiliams optic SCT diagonal (so you don't have to buy a separate 2" visual back) and the Williams Optic 2" 40mm 70deg FOV. In my C11, it provides a nice bright wide low-power view. The pair cost me $260 or so from agena astro.

It comes with a 1.25" adapter that is nice too. Both the 2" and 1.25" have a ring compression system for holding the eyepieces and not just a set screw.

I'm looking to add an ES82 18mm now and an Antares 1.6 barlow. That should really fill in my gaps with nice widefield views.

I too started with a really nice Williams Optic 7-22.5 zoom (rebranded as an Orion). It was $300 and preforms quite well. BUT it is still not as good as standalone eyepieces. It has a bit of a narrow field of view (47-52 IIRC). But a zoom is great for figuring out what works best in your scope. Now that I've upgraded to my C11, everything lower than 14mm is pretty useless on most days with the longer focal length of the C11, so I rarely use the zoom anymore. It was great in my Meade LT8 though! I should probably sell it now, but it still works great in my solar telescope!

Widefield views are great for when you want to magnify a DSO and still see the outer edges of stars.

One great tool if you have an android phone is called StarLogFree. It's used for an observation log. But a cool thing is that you can add in your telescope params, eyepiece data, barlow data and then select any combination and see about what it will look like through your scope. You can select a ton of different objects and get a good idea of what you'll be able to see. I enter any new eyepieces I'm considering into it, have browse around and then select what I want and delete the rest out of the database. Also if you're new it helps you know what you're looking for when slewing to a new "M" object or even the NGCs :D Great tool!

So my journey went like this:
Meade LT8
WO 7-22.5 zoom + 25mm plossl that came with it
Orion Shorty 2x barlow
32mm Orion Sirius Plossl (good eyepiece for not much $$$)
8.8mm ES 82 (great eyepiece)
C11
2" WO diagonal
2" WO 40mm SWAN eyepiece (my most used one now)

Now selling the 8.8 to fund an ES 82 18mm and will get Antares 1.6x 2" barlow to extend the use of the 40mm and 18mm.

*whew* Busy year!

#15 SeattleScott

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

The focal length does not really make a difference in deciding to use super wides or ultra wides. You can get the same FOV out of either design. You just use a different focal length eyepiece. All the ultra wide really does is allow you to frame a target at higher magnification, which will typically show more detail and a darker background sky. Which is cool, don't get me wrong.
Also, you can get a focal reducer instead of a 2" diagonal, which would give you the wider FOV with 1.25" eyepieces, solve the problem of dim exit pupil at higher mags, and provide better edge correction if you have a standard SCT instead of a Meade ACF or Celestron Edge. Personally, I went with the 2" diagonal instead because: I don't think they make a focal reducer for my Mak, I already had a 2" diagonal for my Refractor, and I didn't want my big, impressive looking 2" eyepieces to gather dust.

#16 dmgriff

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:17 PM

At 150usd per ep, the speers-waler s2 82deg afov may fit your budget.

A vendors site: http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_sw2x.htm

#17 pjensen

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:40 PM

Now for more questions. It seems many prefer widefields for low or med powers. I am definitely intrigued by all the buzz with the 82 deg EPs.


For me, using higher magnification (with tracking) can give you amazing views of Saturn, globular clusters, and most nebulae. For example, the field of view for my XW 10mm is 0.35 degrees with a magnification of 200.

Using a 7mm eyepiece, the magnification would be 290 with a 0.24 degree field of view. If seeing conditions are good, then you can see a larger image of Saturn, planetary or glob.cluster, for example.

Using a lower power eyepiece may be easier for someone with a non tracking scope to find an object and to keep it in the eyepiece. But for me, a globular cluster like M13 just looks like a grey smear at 84x (Panoptic 24mm). Put in a higher power eyepiece and it resolves into thousands of stars, like multicolored diamonds on velvet. Big difference - totally unimpressive at low power.

A wide field lens will show larger objects, but with less detail. For these objects, I use my binoculars.

#18 hawk

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:40 PM

So my ES68 24mm showed up today along with the ES82 14mm. (As did the clouds, as per usual.) Still, got a chance to try them on a hazy moon when the clouds thinned a bit.

For reference, the 25mm stock Plossl that comes with the 8SE is roughly a 50 degree AFOV. Comparing directly with the ES68, the extra FOV jump from 50 to 68 is definitely noticeable. I'm really digging it so far. It really removes the "looking down a paper towel tube" feeling. The jump to 82 (14mm) is good, but not quite as significant. I mean, it's impressive -- you feel more of that "picture window" effect, but it's harder to get concrete benefits; you're getting wide enough have to actually aim your eyeball to see it all. You'll have less field curvature in an EdgeHD, though, so it might be even more impressive for you. Also, maybe it's the 3mm less eye relief, but I feel like I have to be a bit more exact with my eye position to see the whole 82 degrees on the 14mm 82. (Obviously the less eye relief comes from the shorter focal length, not the extra FOV, so I'm not trying to say the 68 is somehow better.)

Once you go longer than 24mm in the ES68, the eye relief keeps going up as well, so unless it gets uncomfortably long, I doubt you would be disappointed. (But you have to go 2" at that point.)

But really, other than FOV and comfort, I can't really judge. A hazy, cloudy night with a scope that hasn't yet cooled down isn't going to be a good test. :) I also suspect the benefits will become more apparent on some DSOs and planets; the extra FOV will start to provide more context, which is exactly what the wider FOV is for.

#19 Pharquart

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 07:31 PM

Now for more questions. It seems many prefer widefields for low or med powers.


Many deep space objects like nebulae are actually quite large, some covering more area of the sky than the full moon. These are best seen at low to medium powers, and because they're big, people like the wide field eyepieces so they can see more of the object. By contrast, when using high magnification like for planetary work, the object is small, and the wide field isn't required.

It seems only lower focal lengths are available in 1.25".


The barrel size is a function of the focal length and apparent field of view. There are several on this forum that can quote the formula (and as a geeky engineer, I should be able to quote it) but it's not critical to this answer. I think of it like this: there's only so much angle of light that can fit through the end of the eyepiece barrel. If I'm looking at a huge swath of sky (low power, wide angle), I need a big opening to let the light in. If I'm focused in tightly and looking at a narrower angle, I can have a smaller barrel. So 14mm and 82 degrees is about the maximum you'll get in a 1.25" barrel. Go to 32mm and you can only fit 50 degrees there.

2" eyepieces are larger and, almost by necessity, more expensive because they have more glass. That's why you don't find many short focal length 2" eyepieces...they don't need to be 2" to still achieve the desired view. Some manufacturers make a dual format that's actually a 1.25" eyepiece with a 2" ring attached so the eyepiece can fit in either size focuser, but that's just a metal ring and not extra glass.

Brian

#20 ShaneOS

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:57 AM

You will need a cross hair reticle eyepiece - for star alignment. Cost is $75.


Any specific recommendations for one of these? ^

#21 ShaneOS

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:08 AM

Consider starting with a good Barlow like this one: http://agenaastro.co...arlow-lens.html which can easily be used for 1.5x or 2x magnification. Then plan your other eyepiece purchases to avoid duplication.


This barlow seems inexpensive, but I have also found out that you get what you pay for most of the time. Is this a normal price for a decent barlow, or just a good one to get started with that I'll want to upgrade later? If the latter, can you recommend a quality barlow that I will use for a long time? I would rather buy a high-quality barlow once.

#22 ShaneOS

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:15 AM

Any good recommendations for a high-powered eyepiece in the 200x-250x range (8mm-10mm)? It sounds like an Ortho or an EP with a narrower FOV works well at these magnifications. Or would I be better off using a barlow on a medium power EP?

#23 csrlice12

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:30 AM

I just use a plossel and center the alignment star in the FOV, and this works fine for visual. No need for a cross hair recticle unless you're doing time exposure AP, then you would benefit from it.

#24 CeleNoptic

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:12 PM

Welcome to CN and congrats on your new scope!

As one of the best brief general recommendations on eyepieces I used to suggest reading an article by David Kinsley, Useful Magnification Ranges for Visual Observing.

Since the telescopes are so different, we used to operate by exit pupil, a light cone produced by any optical system objective-eyepiece for cross-comparisons. In most cases you need to cover just several exit pupils for most of the objects. Normally, you need the eyepieces providing 0.75mm and 1mm exit pupil for high and medium power planetary observations, 1.4mm for compact DSOs and low power planetary, 2mm for the fainter DSOs, 3-4mm for brighter and more extended DSOs and 5-6mm as the finder/scanning eyepiece for large objects.

You can calculate the eye pupil by dividing the eyepiece focal ratio by the scope focal ratio, which in your case is 10. If you do an opposite, that is multiply your scope ratio by exit pupil youl get the eyepiece focal length. So, you can see from above "standard" exit pupils generally required that you'll need 7.5, 10, 14, 20, 30-40mm eyepieces. As with most of the slower scopes with long focal lengths you can't get exit pupil wider than certain diameter, probably 4mm in your case and you've got the 40mm stock eyepiece for that range. It will be your finder eyepiece. As you see, you may need just more 4 eyepieces or just 2 and a good 2x barlow. For example, with the barlow you may just need the 20 and 14mm eyepices and you'll get 7mm, 10mm, 14mm and 20mm in addition to your stock 40mm. Well, the 40mm with the barlow will overlap with the 20mm "straight" eyepiece.

As it has been already said your f10 scope don't need any expensive schmaglers :), just any decent eyepiece will work fine. I'm with MikeBOKC on AT Paradigms. You also may consider it's clones like Meade HD-60 or Celestrone X-Cel LX, but they are slightly more expensive. Since your scope has motorized mount, your better choise for high power (0.75 and 1mm exit pupil)would be the UO Orthoscopics or Vixen LVs. You don't need wide field for high power, you need contrast and sharpness to observe the details on planets and the Moon. For DSOs the Hyperions/AT AF70s/Stratuses will be probably a step up and the ESs probably even better. But the eyepieces are all personal choice, so listen but act according to your own preferences :).

This barlow seems inexpensive, but I have also found out that you get what you pay for most of the time. Is this a normal price for a decent barlow, or just a good one to get started with that I'll want to upgrade later? If the latter, can you recommend a quality barlow that I will use for a long time? I would rather buy a high-quality barlow once.


The Explore Scientific 1.25" 2x Focal Extender may be the best bang for your buck. It's telecentric and according to reviews here and on the Agena webpage works on par with the Powermate but for the portion of it's price :grin:.

Don't forget about the narrowband filter, like DGM NPB, Lumicon UHC or UltraBlock , a must for nebulae.

Hope that helps ;).

#25 Achernar

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 07:44 PM

If possible, join the local or regional astronomy club. There you can try various eyepieces in your telescope and see firsthand what suits you and your budget best. That was how I figured out which eyepieces to buy that I was able to afford.

Taras






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