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Saturninus
sage
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Reged: 11/27/13

Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy
      #6222536 - 11/28/13 11:17 PM

Hello Everyone!

After several days of doing scattered research on the web, I am at the point where I think I could benefit from some direct advice. I've decided on a scope (Nexstar 8 SE), and now I am trying to figure out which eyepieces to start out with. I realize that my preferences will evolve over time, so I'm just looking to get started with something that makes practical sense. So here is my plan so far.

Scope Specs: 203mm, f10
1) 32mm plossl - 64x, 3.2 exit pupil. Something basic
2) 20mm wide - 100x, 2.0 exit pupil. Everything I read tells me that that is the "Sweet spot", and this is where I will likely be spending most of my time. Therefore, I'm willing to invest a little more here and get something with great contrast and a wide field of view
3)10mm ortho - 200x / 1.0 exit pupil - for when I want to look at planets. Don't need wide field of view here, and the ortho design seems to be the best bang for the buck.

And so my question is this this: Because I am typical impractical beginner, I want something that pushes the scope to the edge of its abilities. I'm thinking this is somewhere in the 5 to 6mm range, but my seeing conditions will not be typical. I live in Hawaii, and I plan to take an occasional trip up Haleakala (10,000ft). Would those kind of seeing conditions allow me to make good use of a <5 ortho at 400+ magnification? University Optics makes a 4.8mm ortho that I wonder if I can get away with. Or is a 6mm ortho HD the most aggressive I could get without ending up frustrated?

Thanks in advance for any advice/recommendations


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youngamateur42
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6222583 - 11/29/13 12:04 AM

Welcome to CN, and Happy Thanksgiving! Your scope is a Cassegrain type scope so it will by nature have a narrow FOV. I don't own one but I have heard that you can by an adapter to accept a 2" Diagonal and eyepieces. I would go this route as to be able to maximize your field of view, to make it easier to find objects. Cass owners will chime in but something around 40mm might be good, like an Orion Optiluxe (discontinued). Pentax 40mm is pricey but good apparently. For your higher power consider a Barlow and then another eyepiece of the similar Barlowed focal length, then that can be Barlowed to provide high power. For example if you had a 40mm Optiluxe and used a 2x Barlow it would provide a 20mm eyepiece. Then buying something like a 17mm Baader Hyperion would provide a higher power, then barlowing that would give you 8.5mm. And the Hyperions have longer eye relief, much more than an Ortho, and longer er is great. Just some ideas. Mix and match eyepiece brands, and slightly vary your focal lengths to compliment your budget. Hope this helps!

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CeleNoptic
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Reged: 12/20/07

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6222794 - 11/29/13 04:02 AM

Welcome to CN Saturninus!

Quote:


1) 32mm plossl - 64x, 3.2 exit pupil. Something basic.



BTW, with the 1.25" back the 25mm AT Paradigm/Meade 5000 HD-60/Celestron X-Cel LX will give you the maximal TFOV of ~45' at higher magnification (81x) than the 32mm plossl. An eye pupil will be 2.5mm though. If you get the 2" back, you'll be able to achieve a wider TFOV, over 1 degree, which would be good for DSOs in your dark skies. For example, the 2" 32mm Agena SWA/70* AFOV will give you 1*6' with the same 3.2mm eye pupil as the 32mm plossl.

Quote:

2) 20mm wide - 100x, 2.0 exit pupil.



You can buy ES20/68* for wider field. Not sure, if the 20mm Agena EWA will work good at f/10, may be somebody who have it will chime in. I have only the 9mm version and it's excellent even in my Dob.

Quote:

And so my question is this this: Because I am typical impractical beginner, I want something that pushes the scope to the edge of its abilities. I'm thinking this is somewhere in the 5 to 6mm range, but my seeing conditions will not be typical. I live in Hawaii, and I plan to take an occasional trip up Haleakala (10,000ft). Would those kind of seeing conditions allow me to make good use of a <5 ortho at 400+ magnification? University Optics makes a 4.8mm ortho that I wonder if I can get away with. Or is a 6mm ortho HD the most aggressive I could get without ending up frustrated?




You can get the 10mm Baager Classic Ortho, the 7mm Fujiyama HD ortho (BTW, they are on sale at Agena now) and a good 2x barlow. Under excellent seeing conditions the 10mm BCO combined with the barlow will give you the needed 5mm and you'll see if it works good. If you prefer a longer eye relief, you may get the 12.5mm Fujiyama HD ortho instead of 7mm and use it with the 2x barlow to get 6.25mm. If you'll need more magnification you can buy 3x barlow to use it with the 12.5mm ortho.

Good luck.


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Kraus
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Reged: 03/10/12

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: CeleNoptic]
      #6222890 - 11/29/13 06:57 AM


I think at ten thousand feet altitude, the 4mm will do just fine. You'll be above the weather.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Kraus]
      #6222897 - 11/29/13 07:06 AM

Quote:


I think at ten thousand feet altitude, the 4mm will do just fine. You'll be above the weather.




4mm will provide 500x in an C-8, it might be useful for splitting close double stars but will be quite dim and not otherwise useful.

A 4mm ortho will be very short on eye relief, about 3mm or 1/8 inch..

There is a lot to know about eyepieces, I think the beginner's strategy is to learn about eyepieces, experience eyepieces and discover for oneself. A good place to start just might be William Paolini's book, Choosing and Using Astronomical Eyepieces.

Forty dollars might seem like a lot of money for a book but for the cost of one simple eyepiece, one can gain a wealth of understanding and knowledge, that seems like quite a bargain to me.

Jon Isaacs


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penguinx64
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Reged: 11/12/13

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6223063 - 11/29/13 09:52 AM

I just got 2 new eyepieces in the mail today. One is a 20mm Meade 4000 Super Plossl. This will give me about 22.5x magnification and a 50 degree field of view in my Starblast 4.5. The other one is a 14.5mm Orion Long Eye Relief eyepiece. This should give me 31x magnification and a 55 degree field of view. These are 2 nice budget eyepieces for large objects. They'll probably work good with a 2x barlow too. I'm not sure if I can try them tonight. It's been raining ever since I opened the package. Maybe the rain will stop if I put them back in the box and tape it up?

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howard929
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Reged: 01/02/11

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6223104 - 11/29/13 10:20 AM

Certainly it has to be simple picking a few eyepieces to start off with. I'm joking of course.

Your best bet IMHO is getting to a club event or star party and trying out different EP's in similar telescopes to that 8SE you're interested in.


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Joe Aguiar
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Reged: 02/10/07

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: howard929]
      #6223116 - 11/29/13 10:33 AM

i 2nd getting a 2" SCT diagonal with 1.25" adptor and then a low power 2" EP like a 35mm to 40mm BUT dont get a 2" barlow tho use this EP for low power & the big wide objects then start from a 32mm 1.25" ep and go higher powers from there.

The 5mm ep should be about the max you should go which your not going to achive most of the time, if you will have a barlow then getting 400 to 500x on splitting tight double stars are ok if you will do this is not then 400x is your high limit.

Not sure if you will go to that mountain only once a few times or its going to be a regular monthly thing or not but going from the 200x power to 400x you should try to have a 300x power ep somewhere around here as if you nights you cant get to 400x try 300x, 200x is good but you can go more.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6223131 - 11/29/13 10:40 AM

Hi Sturninis and welcome to Cloudy Nights!

First, if you're planning on getting an 8SE (great scope by the way!), I'd suggest you take a look at the "Celestron Nexstar" forum farther down on the forum list. There are lots of friendly, helpful, knowledgable people there that also own the 8SE. And there are frequently questions regarding the best eyepiece selections for that scope, so you should be able to read through lots of threads there to find good advice on EPs.

My own experience with the 8SE is from upstate New York where the conditions are much worse than where you'll be observing. For me, most nights I observe I can get to around 150-200x magnification, and a 13mm EP serves me well there. Less than half the nights let me get to about 250-300x with an 8mm EP. Only a few rare nights a year can I use the scope's full magnification with a 5mm EP.

Normally, I wouldn't recommend starting off with a 5mm EP because it is used so infrequently. A beginner's money can be better spent elsewhere. But in your situation, viewing from such a great location may make it worth your while. The most likely use of such a high magnification will be on planets or the moon because they are bright enough to overcome the inherent dimming.

I've tried 4mm (my 8mm with a 2x barlow), and have found it to be useful only once in the 5 years or so I've owned the scope. And even then, it was debatable whether it really showed any improvement over the 5mm. Again, you may have better luck in your location.

As for the sweet spot, it depends on the scope. But most owners of the 8SE report using an EP in the 15 to 13mm range as their workhorse EP.

I would recommend getting wider angle EPs than the orthos or plossls you're looking at. There's a real difference in the experience when looking through a portal of 68° or more. In addition orthos and plossls have very short eye relief, especially at shorter focal lengths, and can be uncomfortable to view through. Modern EPs tend to have much longer eye relief along with the wider view, and their designs make for a larger view area so you don't have to hold your head in one specific spot to avoid blackouts and kidney-beaning. Again, this makes for much more comfortable viewing sessions.

The cost of good eyepieces can be daunting. But, the f/10 SCT is forgiving of eyepiece design so some of the midrange EPs like the Baader Hyperions and Explore Scientific 82 series can provide top notch views for reasonable prices. Agena Astro is currently having a 20% off sale on Baader Hyperions:
http://agenaastro.com/eyepieces/2-eyepieces.html?ca_ep_series_bucket=156

Note that the 25mm Plossl that comes with the scope is a pretty good eyepiece to start with. If I were going to start a collection of good EPs on a limited budget, I'd start with the Hyperion 13mm and 8mm. That would give you access to plenty of magnification to start with. If you have enough money, I'd then look at going wider at the low mag end, and purchase a 2" diagonal and something like the Baader 31mm or 36mm Hyperion Aspheric. At some point later on you might replace that 25mm with a wide view EP in the 20 to 24mm range.

If the Baaders are too high priced for you at this point, I think the Agena Astro Enhanced Wide Angle EPs are an excellent bargain, and are also on sale right now. You can get the whole set for $135:
http://agenaastro.com/agena-1-25-ewa-eyepiece-set.html
Or buy them individually for $37 each. They have similar specs as to the Hyperions - 66° apparent field of view, and eye relief in the 15-20mm range. I have several of these EPs and they provide excellent views. The place where they fall down compared to better EPs is in the size of the view area. They do experience blackouts fairly easily if you don't hold your head in just the right spot.

-Dan


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Thomas Karpf
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Reged: 02/09/09

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6223147 - 11/29/13 10:50 AM

Personally, I'd consider investing in a decent 2x or 3x barlow instead of the Orthoscopic. A barlow retains eye relief of the base eyepiece, and inexpensive eyepieces with short focal lengths have really short eye relief, typically of about 1/2 to 2/3 the eyepiece focal length.

A 2x barlow would yield:
32mm (by itself)
20mm (by itself)
16mm (32mm with barlow)
10mm (20mm with barlow)

A 3x barlow would yield:
32mm (by itself)
20mm (by itself)
10mm (32mm with barlow)
6.7mm (20mm with barlow)


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maugi88
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #6223158 - 11/29/13 10:57 AM

Quote:



A 2x barlow would yield:
32mm (by itself)
20mm (by itself)
16mm (32mm with barlow)
10mm (20mm with barlow)




I thought the barlow increased magnification not reduced it.


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AngryHandyman
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Reged: 06/28/13

Loc: Nanaimo, BC
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: maugi88]
      #6223173 - 11/29/13 11:06 AM

A barlow does increase magnification, a eyepiece with a shorter focal length provides higher magnification. A 20mm eyepiece with 2x barlow gives you the equivalent of a 10mm eyepiece at the point of focus. 1000mm scope / 20mm eyepiece = 50x mag where the same 1000mm scope / 10mm eyepiece = 100x mag

Edited by AngryHandyman (11/29/13 11:09 AM)


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dan_h
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Reged: 12/10/07

Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6223184 - 11/29/13 11:12 AM

Quote:

I live in Hawaii, and I plan to take an occasional trip up Haleakala (10,000ft). Would those kind of seeing conditions allow me to make good use of a <5 ortho at 400+ magnification? University Optics makes a 4.8mm ortho that I wonder if I can get away with. Or is a 6mm ortho HD the most aggressive I could get without ending up frustrated?




Although seeing conditions may allow the use of a 6mm ortho or shorter focal length, as others have suggested, this can be uncomfortable due to the very short eye relief. At 10,000 ft it is doubly so due to the continuous cold. Placing your eye close to a cold hunk of metal is not pleasant and you will always run the risk of fogging up a cold eyepiece with moisture from your eye. Plan on using an eyepiece with longer eye relief.

As Jon has mentioned, at 400X you may find the image dims more than you care for. Possibly consider a quality zoom that will let you work the higher powers and dial in the optimum magnification for the target and seeing conditions.

Keep in mind that you will spend a lot less time at extreme magnifications than you may imagine at this time. Even on top of the mountain you will find that you will settle in on the most comfortable viewing, not necessarily the most magnification.

dan


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Kevdog
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6223186 - 11/29/13 11:14 AM

Quote:

Hello Everyone!

After several days of doing scattered research on the web, I am at the point where I think I could benefit from some direct advice. I've decided on a scope (Nexstar 8 SE), and now I am trying to figure out which eyepieces to start out with. I realize that my preferences will evolve over time, so I'm just looking to get started with something that makes practical sense. So here is my plan so far.

Scope Specs: 203mm, f10
1) 32mm plossl - 64x, 3.2 exit pupil. Something basic
2) 20mm wide - 100x, 2.0 exit pupil. Everything I read tells me that that is the "Sweet spot", and this is where I will likely be spending most of my time. Therefore, I'm willing to invest a little more here and get something with great contrast and a wide field of view
3)10mm ortho - 200x / 1.0 exit pupil - for when I want to look at planets. Don't need wide field of view here, and the ortho design seems to be the best bang for the buck.

And so my question is this this: Because I am typical impractical beginner, I want something that pushes the scope to the edge of its abilities. I'm thinking this is somewhere in the 5 to 6mm range, but my seeing conditions will not be typical. I live in Hawaii, and I plan to take an occasional trip up Haleakala (10,000ft). Would those kind of seeing conditions allow me to make good use of a <5 ortho at 400+ magnification? University Optics makes a 4.8mm ortho that I wonder if I can get away with. Or is a 6mm ortho HD the most aggressive I could get without ending up frustrated?

Thanks in advance for any advice/recommendations




You didn't mention your budget for eyepieces?

The ES 82 18mm is a great eyepiece and is one of my favorites. I do about 35% of my viewing with it, 50% with the ES 82 30mm and 15% with the ES 82 11mm and 7mm. But the 18mm and 30mm are 2" eyepieces, so you'd also need about $150 for a 2" diagonal with SCT adapter.

When I got my 2" diagonal (the Williams Optic one with SCT adapter for $160) I also got the 40mm Williams Optic SWAN eyepiece for $120. It works great in an SCT and gives a nice low mag-wide field view (for an SCT). When I got my fast dob, then I traded it in for the ES82 30mm.

Though when I was starting out the best (and easiest) companion to my LT8 (the Meade cousin to the SE 8) was a good 7-22mm zoom. The zoom was handy because I didn't have to swap eyepiece, but could just turn the zoom ring until I get the best magnification for the object on that night. That plus my Orion 32mm Sirius eyepiece for wide views took care of all my needs.

The biggest problem is choices... there are TONS of them!


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-Starfighter-
super member


Reged: 10/22/13

Loc: Kelowna, Canada
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: maugi88]
      #6223219 - 11/29/13 11:30 AM

Have you had different scopes before? Are you familiar with the sky? I have the 6SE and find any EP less than 10mm not very useful. If you're a beginner and are just picking up the scope I would spend some time with the EP's that come with the scope, a barlow, and a zoom EP (that will get you to 8mm). I think the easiest way to find your favourite magnification is a zoom EP. Spend a few sessions with it. Once you find you preference you can then start choosing better quality fixed EP's. Celestron has a reasonable priced zoom but if you have the money I would pick up the Baader.

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csrlice12
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: -Starfighter-]
      #6223344 - 11/29/13 12:40 PM

+1 on an 8-24mm zoom. The Zhummell is under $60 and was the best first eyepiece to buy. It showed me what fixed f/ls I liked best in my scope...and is actually a very well corrected eyepiece for the price. In your SCT, it will perform excellently. It's also a really good grabngo eyepiece and is also great for public viewing nights. It has about 20mm of eye relief, so you can use it even wearing glasses. As you have tracking fov is not important, the Zhummell fov goes from about 40* at 24mm to over 60* at 8mm. Overall, this is the type of eyepiece everyone should have in their kit.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6223626 - 11/29/13 03:24 PM

Quote:

4mm will provide 500x in an C-8, it might be useful for splitting close double stars but will be quite dim and not otherwise useful.




I agree. Maybe something closer to 8mm would be better. Here are some possibilities:
--http://www.eyepiecesetc.com/ASTROTECH_PARADIGM_ED_1_25_60_DEGREE_EYEPIECE_8MM_p/3101080.htm

--https://www.astronomics.com/astro-tech-8mm-70-degree-field-af-series-eyepiece-dual_p18395.aspx

--http://www.eyepiecesetc.com/TELEVUE_PLOSSL_1_25_4_ELEMENT_8MM_50_DEGREES_p/4100070.htm


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Zedwardson
member


Reged: 11/26/13

Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: GeneT]
      #6223670 - 11/29/13 03:52 PM

Since someone else is dicussing this, and I am in the same boat.

SpaceProbe 130ST (f/5) with the following eyepieces (f/5)

2x Barlow Lens with T-threads
25 mm Plossl Eyepiece
15 mm Kellner Eyepiece
10 mm Plossl Eyepiece
6 mm Plossl Eyepiece

the 25 and 10 came with the scope, and it was due to sales only a handful of dollars more to get the 15 and 6 (and three filters) then buying the Barlow by itself.

Good choices? or did I screw up?


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CeleNoptic
sage


Reged: 12/20/07

Loc: Cloudy East Coast
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #6223697 - 11/29/13 04:09 PM

Quote:

Personally, I'd consider investing in a decent 2x or 3x barlow instead of the Orthoscopic. A barlow retains eye relief of the base eyepiece, and inexpensive eyepieces with short focal lengths have really short eye relief, typically of about 1/2 to 2/3 the eyepiece focal length.




Any regular 2-3 component barlow (they also call it "achromatic" or "apochromatic") does increase eye relief. It's a kind of strategy to pair shorter focal length eyepieces with short eye relief (plossls,orthos) with regular, non-telecentric, barlow to get good planetary eyepieces with longer eye relief. I do it myself. So, it's not advisable to use long focal range eyepieces like 32mm with regular barlow because of inevitable blackouts. In this case you need a telecentric barlow (4-component) like TV Powermate to retain eye relief of the base eyepiece.


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penguinx64
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Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: Holland
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Zedwardson]
      #6223759 - 11/29/13 04:53 PM

Ok, I got to try the 14.5 Orion Long Eye Relief and 20mm Meade 4000 Super Plossl eyepieces tonight for 1/2 hour. they worked great at 31x and 22x magnification on Cassiopia and the Pleiades with my Starblast 4.5 telescope.

The Meade 4000 Super Plossls are great budget eyepieces. I also own the 9.7mm Meade 4000, another keeper. The eye relief and field of view aren't quite as good as the Orion long eye relief eyepieces, but the Orion eyepiece cost twice as much.

Just beware of Plossl eyepieces with focal lengths 6.5mm or less. The eye relief is also very short and the field of view is small too.

I found these magnifications useful for my budget short tube reflector telescopes. 12-15x, 25-35x, 60-75x. If you aren't sure which eyepieces to get, maybe try an inexpensive Barlow like this one?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/278-3889662-4899954?url=search-ali...

I like to start out cheap, then upgrade after I know what works best for me. I started with a budget 3 inch Celestron Firstscope. The eyepieces that came with it were so-so. Other reviewers use less flattering expletives to describe these cheap Astro eyepieces. I upgraded to some other budget eyepieces that were much better. I tried some cheap Kellners and Plossls. At low magnifications, some budget eyepieces work pretty darn good. Eye relief and field of view don't seem to matter as much at low-mid magnification. I consider low 10-20x and mid 25-35x.

So what's the strategy? Save money by trying less expensive eyepieces with low-mid magnification first. No matter what you try first, you'll probably want to upgrade anyway. Then upgrade after you see what works best for you and your particular telescope. Save your money for the higher magnification eyepieces with longer eye relief and a wider field of view. You'll need it!


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Zedwardson]
      #6223805 - 11/29/13 05:20 PM

Quote:

SpaceProbe 130ST (f/5) with the following eyepieces (f/5)

2x Barlow Lens with T-threads
25 mm Plossl Eyepiece
15 mm Kellner Eyepiece
10 mm Plossl Eyepiece
6 mm Plossl Eyepiece




Your eyepieces cover the range of useful magnifications quite nicely. With the 2x Barlow you can achieve about 220x, quite useful if the seeing is good. If your Barlow is allows you to remove the front section and thread it onto the eyepiece, then it would work with the 6mm to provide about 162x, a nice place to be as well.

I like having a set of eyepieces that range from the lowest power widest field of view to the maximum useful magnifications. A 32mm Plossl or a 24mm Widefield would be a nice addition to your set and I imagine as the years pass you will slowly build your eyepiece set but I think you are in a good place..

Jon


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rdandrea
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Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Zedwardson]
      #6223829 - 11/29/13 05:29 PM

Quote:

Since someone else is dicussing this, and I am in the same boat.

SpaceProbe 130ST (f/5) with the following eyepieces (f/5)

2x Barlow Lens with T-threads
25 mm Plossl Eyepiece
15 mm Kellner Eyepiece
10 mm Plossl Eyepiece
6 mm Plossl Eyepiece

the 25 and 10 came with the scope, and it was due to sales only a handful of dollars more to get the 15 and 6 (and three filters) then buying the Barlow by itself.

Good choices? or did I screw up?




The only one I don't really like is the 6mm Plossl. Very short eye relief. If I were doing it (and I have) I would have gone for a 6mm Expanse or clone.

But that's personal. As long as you aren't fogging up your 6mm in the winter or getting eyelash goo all over it, it'll work fine for you.


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Zedwardson
member


Reged: 11/26/13

Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: rdandrea]
      #6223972 - 11/29/13 06:25 PM

Well the 6mm was part of a package deal. The Barlow was 35 or so in the shop, or I could get the Barlow, 3 filters, and two eyepeices and a case for 45. It was a no brainier for me.

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gene 4181
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Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Zedwardson]
      #6224250 - 11/29/13 09:29 PM

good deal, i would think. and i do like the 130 orion short tube. very capable scope.

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aatt
sage


Reged: 07/26/12

Loc: CT
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6224330 - 11/29/13 10:36 PM

Sterling plossls. I have the 20mm and now the 17mm and they are fine eyepieces compared to my Orthos and ES 82's. The best thing about them, besides excellent light transmission is the price-$40. I also have the 6mm and 4mm for the rare nights, but eye relief on those is very tight.I use my 20mm for DSO all of the time and I just had a great night with the 17mm and M42. No complaints-they are keepers.

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Gvs
member


Reged: 05/19/11

Loc: Texas
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6224905 - 11/30/13 10:31 AM

My advice is the same as most above. First go for zoom, then once you know what magnification you use most, spend your money on a great eyepiece, don't settle for anything else, TV, Pentax, ES or alike. Otherwise you are just wasting your money.

In the meantime get yourself a great 2"diagonal and a feathertouch 2x focuser. If you decide to go for an electronic focuser, also consider top end options. You will always be able to use most of these on any scope.

After you've saved some more money up, consider investing as much possible on a good mount (avx, ioptron, lx850, AP, etc, this will mainly depend on your budget). After that, upgrade your scope and keep going after eyepieces until you have a decent set of great ones.

Only then, should you consider astrophotography and a refractor. Otherwise you will end up spending thousands and end up with some frustration because you can't those amazing pictures.

If you want pictures go for a mount then a great refractor or astrograph.

An SCT Like you SE is a great starter scope. If you add the Wifi link and spend some money on sky safari, you will have lots of fun. If you have a Canon or Nixon digital camera, spend some more on DSLR remote and it will keep your astrophotography desires in check until you can afford a decent rig for that purpose.

Regarding Barlows, go for focal extenders instead of Barlows.


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Saturninus
sage
*****

Reged: 11/27/13

Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6225052 - 11/30/13 12:04 PM

OP here - thanks for all of this helpful advice! I have to admit, a lot of it is going over my head, but I expect that I will have to get used to that as a beginner.

Seems like I should get the scope, a 16mm ortho to go along with the 25mm kit plossl, and a barlow so I can experiment at four different magnifications. After I get familiar with it, I will spend the real $$$$ on the focal lengths I really like


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Geo31
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Saturninus]
      #6225688 - 11/30/13 06:35 PM

Quote:

Hello Everyone!

After several days of doing scattered research on the web, I am at the point where I think I could benefit from some direct advice. I've decided on a scope (Nexstar 8 SE), and now I am trying to figure out which eyepieces to start out with. I realize that my preferences will evolve over time, so I'm just looking to get started with something that makes practical sense. So here is my plan so far.

Scope Specs: 203mm, f10
1) 32mm plossl - 64x, 3.2 exit pupil. Something basic
2) 20mm wide - 100x, 2.0 exit pupil. Everything I read tells me that that is the "Sweet spot", and this is where I will likely be spending most of my time. Therefore, I'm willing to invest a little more here and get something with great contrast and a wide field of view
3)10mm ortho - 200x / 1.0 exit pupil - for when I want to look at planets. Don't need wide field of view here, and the ortho design seems to be the best bang for the buck.




OK, I've just browsed prior responses, but here goes...

I just actively returned to this pursuit after 35 years on the sidelines and probably the biggest change has been eyepieces, so I'm not far off where you are (I bought a C8).

The first thing I decided was to buy high quality basic eyepieces until I could decide what I really wanted. As a result I bought:

32mm TeleVue Plossl
25mm TeleVue Plossl
20mm TeleVue Plossl
15mm TeleVue Plossl

The 15, 20, 25 I bought as a set from someone on the classifieds. It helped me sort out the myriad possibilities of focal lengths. Plossls are nice solid basic performers, and the better the quality you can afford the better. I bought these because I knew I could resell them and recoup virtually all of my initial investment (I've bought all my eyepieces used). I added the 32 when a deal became available.

I bought a 2x extender from Explore Scientific. Highly regarded and not expensive (only thing in my eyepiece case bought new). I've since bought a 2.4x Dakin barlow, but I bought that purely because I knew Ralph Dakin before my hiatus from astronomy (I have other things from him as well). I also picked up a 0.63x reducer. More options...

I decided I wanted more magnification for the few times I could really enjoy it and bought a nice classic volcano top 6mm Ortho. Before I got to use it, I came across a killer deal on a TMB Planetary II 6mm. Here's where thing started changing....

I got a semi-decent night finally to compare the Ortho with the TMB II. That is where I learned to truly appreciate the wide view eyepieces. Total game changer.

After refiguring my desires I realized I could replace both the 32mm and the 25mm with a 24mm 68* eyepiece (I was planning on a Panoptic, but made an opportunistic purchase of an ES instead). With the 82* AFOV of the Naglers, I could consolidate further. I ended up with a 16mm T6, an 11mm T6, and a 7mm T6. All 1.25", so no need to upgrade my TV 99% diagonal or my ES 2x extender.

All this started with the huge appreciation of the extra FOV of the TMB 6mm vs the Ortho 6mm. And while some people would suggest the 7mm T6 is not necessarily a good planetary EP, it still beats either 6mm I have.

I'm not particularly saying you should follow my lead. But I'm hoping my recent experience will give you something to think about and lead to a plan. Whether you start basic like me and go fancy later, or just go for the end-game (whatever it is) from the start is up to you. In my case, I just didn't know what I really wanted and until I experienced the relative wide field of the TMB, I still had no idea what I really wanted.

I'm personally really happy with my selection. I chose TV because while they may not be the absolute best in all (or even any) cases, they are truly the gold standard in eyepieces (despite arguments by some) and will always hold their value. That said, my 24mm 68* ES is very impressive. I've had a few chances to upgrade to a 24mm Panoptic, but have been hard pressed to pull the trigger just yet. That 24 ES really impresses me. Currently, due to availability, you'll have a hard time finding deals on used ES eyepieces. You can get better deals on TV, but they are still much pricier than the ES. Beyond those two brands, I cannot help. Everything I read said buy the best EPs you could afford and I've not been disappointed in the least.

This was wordy, but I hope it helps. Good luck. Buying EPs can be really really confusing to a newbie, or even in my case, someone returning from a long layoff.


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Ethan311
member


Reged: 11/06/13

Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6225707 - 11/30/13 06:46 PM

In the same boat ordering the 11 inch edge hd cgem dx, it somes with a 23 mm. This threat really helped me out on what direction to go! still a little unsure thoe seems like i would want a higher mag for planets than 12mm

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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Ethan311]
      #6225755 - 11/30/13 07:21 PM

higher than a 12mm. not in the winter time, unlees you have great seeing. a nice 15 mm 82 degree and a barlow. or a 14 es with barlow. start with that and take your time. the luminos is on sale now. reasonable price, 79.95. i have some, i like them. but i'm the minority here. see how you like your 23 too.

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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: maugi88]
      #6229221 - 12/02/13 02:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:



A 2x barlow would yield:
32mm (by itself)
20mm (by itself)
16mm (32mm with barlow)
10mm (20mm with barlow)




I thought the barlow increased magnification not reduced it.




Let me rephrase that:

A 2x barlow used with 32mm and 20mm eyepieces would effectively give you the following eyepieces:
32mm (32mm used by itself)
20mm (20mm by itself)
16mm (the 32mm eyepiece used with the barlow)
10mm (the 20mm eyepiece used with the barlow)


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Geo31
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Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: maugi88]
      #6229667 - 12/02/13 04:59 PM

Quote:

I thought the barlow increased magnification not reduced it.




What a barlow does is increase the effective focal length of the instrument, e.g., in your scope, your 2,000mm focal length becomes effectively 4,000mm.

The eyepiece does not change focal length, but it has become somewhat of a customary shorthand to halve the eyepiece focal length, because it gets you to the same magnification and it's easier to think of when deciding which eyepieces to purchase.

Remember, magnification is: Instrument focal length/eyepiece focal length.

Therefore (keeping the math ultra-simple), using your scope as an example:

2,000mm focal length instrument
20mm eyepiece
yields 100x (2,000/20)

If you add a barlow:
2,000mm instrument fl with barlow is effectively 4,000mm fl
20mm eyepiece focal length
yields 200x (4,000/20)

Now the common shorthand:

2,000mm instrument fl
20mm eyepiece fl with barlow is equivalent to 10mm
yields 200x (2,000/10)

Once again for clarity, a barlow increases the instrument's focal length and does not halve the eyepiece focal length, but the numbers work to the same magnification and for deciding on eyepieces, the shorthand is easier to think of in your head.


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Geo31
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Geo31]
      #6229677 - 12/02/13 05:01 PM

Oh, and in my write-up about wide field eyepieces, I mentioned the 24mm effectively replaced my 25mm and 32mm Plossls (basically the same magnification of the 25, but with an even bigger field than the 32).

The 16mm also replaced the 15mm and the 20mm for the same reasons.

I probably could have just skipped the 11mm, but what the heck, I was buying eyepieces...


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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: penguinx64]
      #6231001 - 12/03/13 09:21 AM


Get Naglers.


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Kevdog
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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: Beginner's Eyepiece Strategy new [Re: Ethan311]
      #6231049 - 12/03/13 09:50 AM

Quote:

In the same boat ordering the 11 inch edge hd cgem dx, it somes with a 23 mm. This threat really helped me out on what direction to go! still a little unsure thoe seems like i would want a higher mag for planets than 12mm




For my C11 (older carbon fiber tube, but basically the same scope) I use the following:
ES82 30mm for wide field views (with a 2" diagonal of course) Gives about 1.3deg
ES82 18mm for detailed views of DSOs (again with a 2" diagonal)
ES82 11mm for planetary views

I use the 30mm about 60% of the time, the 18mm about 35% of the time and the 11mm really just for looking at planets, so 5% of the time (at most).

Below 11mm is rarerly useful, but I have a 2x barlow and a 7-22mm zoom if I want to push it.

Before I had the ES line I only had an Orion Sirius 32mm and the Orion 7-22.5 zoom.


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