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Eyepiece for Outreach

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#1 Rocketrat1


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:16 PM

Hi all, so pretty much I do completely astrophotography so my EP collection is pretty bare bones. I only have a 32mm Celestron eyepiece, just good enough to see the stars. But lately I have been doing more outreach and feel that avoid eyepiece can make a big difference. Do people have any recommendations for good eyepieces for outreach? I'm thinking about and ES 20mm, but I'm not sure.

Edited by Rocketrat1, 16 August 2019 - 10:28 AM.

#2 cookjaiii


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:58 PM

I use two cheap Kellners and/or Plossls plus a 2x Barlow that give low, medium, and high magnification.  I've never had it happen to me, but I have read stories where people have touched the glass of an eyepiece, or have left residue from heavy eye make-up.  At outreach events, I want to focus on sharing the view rather than worrying about my expensive eyepieces.

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#3 sg6


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:16 PM

I use the equalent of the AT Paradigms.

Generally take a 25mm for wide and find the 8mm and 12mm useful.

Lot depends on the scope, I generally have nothing extreme - Bresser 102/600 and/or 72ED skywatcher.


Will say that as I have a trolly case to load bits into, batteries, spreader general items I can get 5 eyepiece boxes in, but the 8, 12, 25 are the ones I try to limit myself to using. Reason simply easy enough to keep track of 3.


Also have around 10mm, 15mm and 20mm WO SWANs that are an alternative. Never used them yet actually.


Generally reasonably decent items, not expensive, usually chosen for ease and comfort of use.


Last big outreach experience was heart stopping - little fingers and an expensive eyepiece, just not mine. Had no choice but to accept it all, gave up trying after about the tenth set of fingers, the nature of the place running it.

#4 havasman


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:19 PM

What eyepiece to use is really going to depend on what scope(s) it's going to be used with. I used an ES100 14mm for years in an XT10i with very good success. It gave 98x and a 1 degree field with a 2.6mm exit pupil and could be cleaned of all the crud the public left on it. It was my outreach eyepiece, was easy for the public to use and put up really fine views of a wide range of objects from the moon and planets to fine open clusters and bright galaxies like M81/82 and M31.

Edited by havasman, 15 August 2019 - 05:23 PM.

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#5 ShaulaB


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:49 PM

I like using a Celestron zoom, 8mm to 24mm range. That way, an object can be framed nicely at an appropriate magnification. No time is wasted changing eyepieces, as the people in line to observe tend to get restless. Something with decent eye relief would be a plus.


The public wants to see the Moon, the bright planets, and a handful of easy to view DSO's. Maybe have an eyepiece just for the Moon with a neutral density filter already attached, to save time.

#6 Astro-Master


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:57 PM

What size scope do you have for outreach and what is the focal length?  The Explore Scientific water proof eyepieces are a good choice.  An eyepiece that gives you a 2mm exit pupil is a good choice.  Multiply your F / Ratio by 2 to get a 2mm exit pupil.  If your F/ Ratio is 5 than a 10mm eyepiece would be a good one.

#7 Rocketrat1


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the replies everybody, to answer a question, I have a Meade 8in SCT with a 2000 mm focal length and it is f/10. Im thinking of getting a 20 mm ES 52 degree fov eyepiece.

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#8 Napp


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:43 AM

I use a Baader Hyperion Mark IV 8-24mm zoom for outreach.  I like not having to mess with physically changing eyepieces in a crowd and the Baader is very easy for folks to look through.  I mostly us an 8 inch Meade SCT - 2000mm f/10 for outreach.

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#9 hdavid


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:57 AM

I also recommend the Baader Hyperion Mark IV 8-24 zoom.  I've had one for over year, and it gets used more than any of my other eyepieces, even when I'm viewing alone.  It's especially nice when I have guests looking through the scope since I don't have two or three eyepieces to keep track of.  An eyepiece set aside even for a moment looks like a toy to young hands, and even older hands sometimes.

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#10 aeajr


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Posted 16 August 2019 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for the replies everybody, to answer a question, I have a Meade 8in SCT with a 2000 mm focal length and it is f/10. Im thinking of getting a 20 mm ES 52 degree fov eyepiece.

A lot depends on what you are showing.  Most outreach focuses on the Moon, planets and showcase DSOs like the Orion Nebula or some pretty double stars.  If your site is dark I presume you show them galaxies.   I think globular clusters are great outreach targets.  They are like exploding fireworks in the eyepiece. 


Your 32 mm eyepiece, I presume it is a Plossl, gives you 62.5X which gives you enough FOV to nicely frame the moon in the sky and the Mag will be comfortable for most visitors, but they do like to get closer.


I tend to use a Celestron 8-24 zoom which allows me to adjust to whatever target I am on and it gives people the opportunity to zoom in and out to see the effect of magnification.  This usually results in a WOW response. I also have a Baader Hyperion Zoom if I choose to use that.  People are very used to zoom lenses on cameras or zooming in on their tablets and phones. 


With the Celestron zoom, at 83X, this will give you just under 1/2 degree FOV which is just enough to see the whole Moon, and you can zoom in on it to whatever degree you like.  The Baader zoom, which has a wider AFOV, should frame the Moon in your scope. 


The zoom also allows me to illustrate, in real time, what it means to split a double star as they can turn the zoom and watch the star split. That usually gets a WoW response. 


In your scope the zoom would take you from 83X to 250X with one eyepiece.  Nice range to optimize planets or to dive in deeper on the Moon or to split doubles.  Start at low power and then zoom in to the optimal image, then let them do it. 


You don't say if your SCT is on a GoTo or tracking mount, but I presume it is tracking, so wide FOV is much less of an issue as the mount will keep the target in view.


The only time I go to single FL eyepieces for outreach is when I am using a Meade LX200 14" SCT for outreach, 3550 mm FL.  Here I use a 2" 38 mm 70 or 20 mm 82, both 2".   Or a 14 mm ES 82.  Mag is so high I prefer to use my 70 and 82 degree AFOV eyepieces, but again, the mount tracks so keeping the target in view is not an issue. 

#11 Pharquart



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Posted 16 August 2019 - 10:29 AM

I regularly use an 8" SCT for outreach, so essentially the same telescope as you.  These days, that scope is usually pointed at Saturn so I can get good magnification on that far planet.  My favorite outreach eyepieces for that scope are the Astro-Tech Paradigms or their clones (StarGuider from BST/Agena Astro).  I actually start the night with a 28mm Edmund RKE eyepiece until the scope cools and settles a bit, and I'll switch back to the RKE if I get someone who can't quite find the eye location of the Paradigm.  Just about everyone can figure out the view with the 28mm RKE.  The view is smaller, but nice and sharp.  Once I'm ready to boost magnification, I'll jump to an 18mm Paradigm, sometimes moving to 15mm or 12mm if the seeing supports it.


Whether the RKE or Paradigm, these eyepieces nicely fit the three "ideal outreach eyepiece" criteria in my mind:


* Long eye relief that allows comfortable positioning for people not used to lining up with eyepieces, and often allows people to keep their glasses on.

* Generally easy to find the correct eye position.  I've found that wide field eyepieces (anything over 60 degrees) are GREAT for experienced observers, but the inexperienced public will often be hunting, saying "I can't see anything" because they don't know how to get their eye lined up with the exit pupil.  I'm a huge fan of outreach eyepieces that allow just about anyone can find the view in 2 seconds.  In addition, my scope is on a tracking mount, so wide fields don't buy me anything when looking at planets.  And I'm in way too much light pollution to try to show people large-area DSOs.

* Reasonable cost.  These are $60 new and generally about $45 used.  So if they get touched, smudged or, heaven forbid, dropped, it's not a huge loss.  I like my Baader 8-24 zoom as much as the next guy, but they're over $250+, and I find that I rarely change magnification back and forth much during a given outreach session.  I pick the best eyepiece view for the conditions and stick there unless someone has a problem.  And I need to clean smudges and eyelash goop off the eyepieces a couple times a summer.  I don't sweat it with these eyepieces.


I've bought and sold probably 20 different eyepieces trying to find the optimum eyepiece for outreach.  For my 8" SCT on planets, I REALLY like the Paradigms and my 28mm RKE.



#12 pgs/sdg



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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:23 PM

+1 for the Baader 8-24 zoom. Fits 1.25 or 2" focusers/diagonals.

Nice quality EP makes it much easier.

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#13 vertex2100


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Posted 22 August 2019 - 08:26 AM

Anyone try the SVBony 23 mm and 10 mm eyepieces for outreach? A reasonable 62 degrees and a disposable price of about 8$ apiece. I compared the 23 mm to a University Optics 24 mm Konig and saw no difference in the view between the two in a 102 mm f9.8 refractor.

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