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EP Management

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#1 Fredo456

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 05:20 PM

So I've been observing the skies for a couple of months now, and I think I finally have my setup down pat, equipment wise. I'm having a lot of fun discovering this hobby (when I can actually go outside).

 

I have a twofold question for you folks about EP management.

 

1- Do you always put the caps back on the EPs as you "zoom" from shorter to shorter EP? (i.e. take out the 25mm from the scope, re-cap it, de-cap the 17mm, put it in the scope, focus. Take out the 17mm, re-cap, de-cap the 13mm, put it in the scope, focus, and so on). Or do you de-cap everything, or at least your most used EPs, and keep them so for the observing session?

 

2- Do you do this whole progression every time, from 25mm to 17mm, to 13mm, to 8mm, to 6mm, then barlow the 8mm, then barlow the 6mm,  or do you skip some steps?

 

As always, your wisdom is greatly appreciated.



#2 epee

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 05:36 PM

In my mind that depends on the environment I'm in. If I'm at home, on a concrete driveway with my "astronomy cabinet" a few steps away in the garage, I don't recap; I either use the eyepiece rack on the scope or replace the eyepiece in the camera bag I keep them in. If at an outreach with lots of feet raising dust, I recap each eyepiece and replace it in the bag as I go to another selection.
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#3 DLuders

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 05:37 PM

1.  I usually take all of the caps off, and leave them off, for an observing session.  It's dark, and you really can't see much.  If you fumble around trying to put a cap on, it's a recipe for a big fat thumbprint on the glass.  Besides, a couple of hours of exposure shouldn't expose it to much (if any) dust, unless you're in a very dry environment.  Leaving the caps off will also help the glass to acclimate to the surrounding air temperature (unless you want them to be warmer to prevent dew).

 

2.  I usually skip some steps.  Center the desired object with a long-focal-length eyepiece, gently remove it, insert another eyepiece with a considerably smaller focal length, and find that it's still centered.  smile.gif    


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#4 scngc7317

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 05:56 PM

I never get outside, buy the time I decide what eyepiece to use the Sun is up!  ..rofl2.gif

 

3520

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#5 ShaulaB

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:00 PM

This makes the case for a zoom eyepiece, like Baader's MK IV.



#6 deepwoods1

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:07 PM

I recap eyepieces not in current use to prevent dew. When it’s winter, eyepieces become fully capped before being pocketed to stay somewhat warm. Then of course I accidentally breath on them and they frost over......



#7 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:09 PM

Hello.,It depends on the target how many changes I do.,and they stay uncapped but in a pouch.,I usually only bring two or three out at a time.,habit,.half the year it's freezin. Cheers



#8 Lazaroff

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:20 PM

I never use caps at all. I have a (small) set of (inexpensive) eyepieces for each scope, and I keep each set in whatever case seems appropriate for that scope's use--a foam-lined belt pack for the dob I ordinarily use at home, bolt cases in a cheaper belt pack for the smaller dob I take camping, and for a small refractor I keep the eyepieces in the same metal case as the scope. Each eyepiece goes back in the case when it's not in use--only one is out at a time.

 

I seldom carry more than three eyepieces--low, medium, and high power--and I often use only two of them for a given object. For an extended object it might be low & medium; for a planet, medium & high. I started out with three eyepieces decades ago, when I couldn't afford more. Since then I've tried using larger sets, but I've found they make me spend too much time changing eyepieces and not enough time looking through them!

 

Edit: after reading the next two entries, I think should add that I'm observing in dry climates in the Southwest. I never have trouble with dew.


Edited by Lazaroff, 15 December 2019 - 07:21 PM.


#9 Starman1

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:37 PM

So I've been observing the skies for a couple of months now, and I think I finally have my setup down pat, equipment wise. I'm having a lot of fun discovering this hobby (when I can actually go outside).

 

I have a twofold question for you folks about EP management.

 

1- Do you always put the caps back on the EPs as you "zoom" from shorter to shorter EP? (i.e. take out the 25mm from the scope, re-cap it, de-cap the 17mm, put it in the scope, focus. Take out the 17mm, re-cap, de-cap the 13mm, put it in the scope, focus, and so on). Or do you de-cap everything, or at least your most used EPs, and keep them so for the observing session?

 

2- Do you do this whole progression every time, from 25mm to 17mm, to 13mm, to 8mm, to 6mm, then barlow the 8mm, then barlow the 6mm,  or do you skip some steps?

 

As always, your wisdom is greatly appreciated.

Leaving the caps off is a surefire way to find them already dewed up when you go to use them.

Leaving them outside the case, in a small eyepiece shelf, will also allow the eyepiece to cool to the point where your warm moist eye will likely fog it instantly.

Keep all eyepieces capped and in the case until you use them.

 

As for magnification progression, I customarily start with a medium power eyepiece that has a 3/4° field and then vary as needed.

If I had to use a low power eyepiece as a finder, my next magnification would likely be to double the power, so from 25mm to 13mm in your case.

However, once you gain some experience, you'll know what magnification to use on an object before you even find it, based on its size, type, and brightness.

So you may use a low power eyepiece to find it and skip directly to the magnification that works best on the object.

Say you use your 25mm to find M57.  Your next eyepiece might be the 6mm or 8mm.

In my 4" apo, I often skip from a 24mm to a 7mm or 5mm once I've found the object at the lower power.  On other objects, the jump is to a 16mm.  It varies.

You have quite a selection.  Experiment.  I bet you'll find different objects require different magnifications, which is why you have all those eyepieces.

And once you learn what eyepiece works best for a type of object, after you find the object, jump right to that eyepiece.  You might be wrong.  But you can always switch.


Edited by Starman1, 15 December 2019 - 06:39 PM.

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#10 M57Guy

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 07:07 PM

I usually take EPs out of case one at a time. When selecting a focal length, I skip around all over the place.

 

For me, every EP has a labeled bolt case. Caps (if present) get stowed in the appropriate bolt case so I don't have to remember which caps go with what EPs. Once out, I typically leave an EP out (uncapped) for the rest of the session, but dew is not typically a concern for me. At home I observe near my backyard picnic table - at darker sky locations I use the tailgate on my pickup as a my table. I have a designated towel for my table or tailgate to place open EPs while they're not in a focuser. If I'm concerned about wind (or dew), I fold the extra part of the towel over the exposed EPs. When I'm done with a session, I recap EPs and return them to their bolt case as my first step when breaking down for the night.

 

Others here will have better advise about dew management and re-stowing EPs under high humidity situations.

 

Clear skies!



#11 sg6

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:00 AM

Try to use a reletaively small number so I do not recap - will likely use an eyepiece again soon.

Do try to replace in their box, although that usually fails as I unbox the next eyepiece then change over, means there are then 2 boxes empty and I get the wrong one.

 

Did find that a small plastic storage tub of good size was useful. Put a bigger towel in and place the eyepieces on the towel. At least everything was in one place. Then I either reboxed at the end or took tub home and reboxed there - you need a bigger towel to form valleys to put the eyepieces in.

 

Have to be careful as you can spend more time organising and reboxing eyepieces then observing.

 

To not have 2 boxes open - which can/does cause hiccups - you would have to remove longer eyepiece, locate box, put end caps on, put in box, find next eyepiece, unbox, that off end caps, insert in focuser, refocus.

 

Whatever you do will take time, suppose a small wooden eyepiece holder is an option. Any good with wood? Five or six holes should be enough.



#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:56 AM

I have a twofold question for you folks about EP management.

 

1- Do you always put the caps back on the EPs as you "zoom" from shorter to shorter EP? (i.e. take out the 25mm from the scope, re-cap it, de-cap the 17mm, put it in the scope, focus. Take out the 17mm, re-cap, de-cap the 13mm, put it in the scope, focus, and so on). Or do you de-cap everything, or at least your most used EPs, and keep them so for the observing session?

 

I take the caps off once and store them in a plastic bag.  At the end of the night, I put them back on.  How I manage the eyepieces during an observing session depends on the particular telescope as well as the conditions.  I frequently observe where it's very dry and not particularly cold.  If I am not expecting eye lens fogging or dew, then I am comfortable with the eyepieces stored in a rack or accessory tray.  

 

If I am concerned that the eye lens may fog with my breath or that dew is a possibility, then I store the eyepieces in the case and close the lid each time.  My eyepiece case(s) have cutouts and the eyepiece lay flat so their easy to handle. Each eyepiece has it's own place so I don't get mixed up.  

 

In the winter in Canada, I would think that you would need to keep your eyepieces covered when not in the focuser and you may need some heat as well.

 

2- Do you do this whole progression every time, from 25mm to 17mm, to 13mm, to 8mm, to 6mm, then barlow the 8mm, then barlow the 6mm,  or do you skip some steps?

 

Since I am a star hopper, I generally start out with a low power eyepiece.  From there, it depends on the object.  If I am viewing a planet or closer double star, I will generally go to a higher magnification, maybe 150x.  From there, I will swap eyepieces, increasing the magnification until I find what seems optimal. 

 

Otherwise, it depends on the object.  If I am familiar with the object or have a good idea what I should see, I generally jump right to that magnification.  If I am using a ~30mm for a finder, low power view, I might jump right to the 13mm or 9mm for a globular cluster or smaller open cluster.  I generally have a good idea of what magnification will about right.  It also depends on my mood, stepping up in smaller steps is fun and I get many different views of the object.

 

In your situation, I would tend towards doing the entire progression.  This not so much because it would be the most efficient. Rather, you gain experience quickly as to which eyepiece works best for each object as well as a sense of what each eyepiece can do.  When you say to yourself, I think the 8mm will be best, then you can make the jump and see how it worked out.  

 

Swapping eyepieces is part of getting the best possible view or views.  There's a lot of theory, a lot of analysis one can do to try to determine the best eyepiece for an object but I think it's best to pretty much forget all that and just see what works best for a given object.  

 

So I've been observing the skies for a couple of months now, and I think I finally have my setup down pat, equipment wise. I'm having a lot of fun discovering this hobby (when I can actually go outside).

 

 

It does look like you have a nice scopes and a full range of eyepieces, a red dot finder and a 50mm RACI finder.. As they used to say, "Now you're cooking with gas."  The red dot finder (or Telrad) plus the 50mm RACI finder is my favorite setup for star hopping.  

 

Now if you can get some more clear skies.

 

Jon


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#13 Fredo456

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 05:38 AM

Thanks for all the advice everyone.

 

I think I might leave them uncapped in the padded case, and then just close the lid of the case to avoid dewing (which in my neck of the woods this time of year would mean frosting). I think I'll save a lot of time that way.

 

In your situation, I would tend towards doing the entire progression.  This not so much because it would be the most efficient. Rather, you gain experience quickly as to which eyepiece works best for each object as well as a sense of what each eyepiece can do.  When you say to yourself, I think the 8mm will be best, then you can make the jump and see how it worked out.  

Good advice, I'll keep doing the whole progression for a while. I'm not above acquiring experience quite yet wink.gif. Plus it will be quicker now that the caps will remain off. 

 

Some of you mentioned keeping the EPs warm, or protecting them from the cold... Until now, I have been taking them outside to get acclimated about an hour before I go out, at the same time than the scope and the finders. Should I not do that?


Edited by Fredo456, 16 December 2019 - 05:40 AM.

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#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 06:04 AM

Some of you mentioned keeping the EPs warm, or protecting them from the cold... Until now, I have been taking them outside to get acclimated about an hour before I go out, at the same time than the scope and the finders. Should I not do that?

 

The scope needs to acclimate to avoid tube currents (convection currents) that disturb the view.  The finders and the eyepieces are OK being warm and are best kept warm as long as possible to keep them from dewing up.  You might want to make an extended dew shield for the finder. Just some heavy black construction paper is sufficient.

 

Jon 



#15 Araguaia

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 06:16 AM

I keep my eyepieces in a plastic box, on top of a folded towel.  I uncap all of them at the beginning of a session, but I always put the lid back on the box when I switch eyepieces.  That way they are protected from dust and dew, and I don't risk thumbprints on the glass from all the capping and uncapping in the dark.

 

Putting caps back on every time is impractical for me, without tracking or Go-to.  I find and center things at low power (51x), and often want to switch straight to high power (277x or 435x).  If I take too long the object drifts from the center and is off the field by the time I re-focus.  



#16 russell23

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:29 AM

So I've been observing the skies for a couple of months now, and I think I finally have my setup down pat, equipment wise. I'm having a lot of fun discovering this hobby (when I can actually go outside).

 

I have a twofold question for you folks about EP management.

 

1- Do you always put the caps back on the EPs as you "zoom" from shorter to shorter EP? (i.e. take out the 25mm from the scope, re-cap it, de-cap the 17mm, put it in the scope, focus. Take out the 17mm, re-cap, de-cap the 13mm, put it in the scope, focus, and so on). Or do you de-cap everything, or at least your most used EPs, and keep them so for the observing session?

 

2- Do you do this whole progression every time, from 25mm to 17mm, to 13mm, to 8mm, to 6mm, then barlow the 8mm, then barlow the 6mm,  or do you skip some steps?

As

As always, your wisdom is greatly appreciated.

1.  Yes.  I always cap the eyepieces between use.  It keeps dew off them during an observing session - and slows down the inevitable buildup of dust.  Also, get yourself a blower bulb to blow dust off the lenses every so often. 

 

2.   Depends on the target.   With some objects I will go through the progression to find the ideal combination of exit pupil and image scale.  As you increase magnification the image scale gets larger, but the image gets dimmer due to the exit pupil getting smaller.  Find exit pupil by dividing the aperture of your scope by the magnification ... or divide the eyepiece focal length by the telescope focal ratio.  So at some point - especially with DSO the exit pupil gets too small and the image appears too dim. 

 

Once I know what magnification(s) I like the best for a given object I will simply go straight to those magnifications and bypass the others.



#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:32 AM

My eyepiece management is different from most people's. I generally have either two or three eyepieces active at any given time. One of those is the low-power eyepiece that I use for finding objects and viewing them in context. Another is the default eyepiece for viewing objects in detail. Which one I choose for the default depends on what kind of objects I'm viewing and on the seeing. And my third eyepiece -- when relevant -- is usually the next step up in magnification from the default eyepiece.

 

So, for instance, when using my 12.5-inch f/5 Dob, my low-power eyepiece is usually my 27-mm Panoptic, and my default eyepiece is either a 10.5-mm or 7-mm. The third eyepiece would then most likely be my 7-mm or 5.2-mm, respectively.

 

Anyway, one of my active eyepieces is normally in the focuser, and the other one or two are in pockets, uncapped. That's mostly to keep them warm, but also for convenience. I have learned to reach for the eyepieces without touching the optical surfaces.

 

The inactive eyepieces remain in their cases, as capped and wrapped as I can make them. They are there first because my choice of default eyepieces sometimes turns out to be wrong, and second because I sometimes want to view something for which the default is clearly wildly incorrect. For instance, in a session devoted primarily to observing galaxies at medium power, I may want to split a double star or view a planet at high power.

 

When I bring an inactive eyepiece into the rotation, I try to plan as far in advance as possible, so that the new eyepiece has ample time to warm up in my pocket before I use it. When I am already in 3-eyepiece mode and need to introduce a fourth, I either put away one of the active eyepieces in full style -- capped and all -- or at least put something on top of it to protect it from dew and/or frost, and to keep it as warm as possible. Big, plastic Deep Map 600 when unfolded makes a great, general-purpose dew protector for stuff on my observing table. Deep Map 600 itself invariably dews and/or frosts up; it's a sacrificial victim. But being made of plastic, it also dries out nicely once brought inside (and unfolded).

 

When I'm traveling or observing from my city home, I often use a grand total of three eyepieces, with no spares. That would be a low-power, an 8-24 zoom, and either a dedicated high-power eyepiece or a 2X Barlow. In that case, my pockets are all I ever need.



#18 desertstars

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:10 AM

I never get outside, buy the time I decide what eyepiece to use the Sun is up!  ..rofl2.gif

 

bugeyes.gif

 

Dude... you need therapy... or something.

 

Just sayin'...

 

wink.gif


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#19 scngc7317

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:05 AM

bugeyes.gif

 

Dude... you need therapy... or something.

 

Just sayin'...

 

wink.gif

I NEED a new picture I have 12 new eyepieces now  .elephant.gif


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#20 Starman1

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 12:30 PM

My eyepiece management is different from most people's. I generally have either two or three eyepieces active at any given time. One of those is the low-power eyepiece that I use for finding objects and viewing them in context. Another is the default eyepiece for viewing objects in detail. Which one I choose for the default depends on what kind of objects I'm viewing and on the seeing. And my third eyepiece -- when relevant -- is usually the next step up in magnification from the default eyepiece.

 

So, for instance, when using my 12.5-inch f/5 Dob, my low-power eyepiece is usually my 27-mm Panoptic, and my default eyepiece is either a 10.5-mm or 7-mm. The third eyepiece would then most likely be my 7-mm or 5.2-mm, respectively.

 

Anyway, one of my active eyepieces is normally in the focuser, and the other one or two are in pockets, uncapped. That's mostly to keep them warm, but also for convenience. I have learned to reach for the eyepieces without touching the optical surfaces.

 

The inactive eyepieces remain in their cases, as capped and wrapped as I can make them. They are there first because my choice of default eyepieces sometimes turns out to be wrong, and second because I sometimes want to view something for which the default is clearly wildly incorrect. For instance, in a session devoted primarily to observing galaxies at medium power, I may want to split a double star or view a planet at high power.

 

When I bring an inactive eyepiece into the rotation, I try to plan as far in advance as possible, so that the new eyepiece has ample time to warm up in my pocket before I use it. When I am already in 3-eyepiece mode and need to introduce a fourth, I either put away one of the active eyepieces in full style -- capped and all -- or at least put something on top of it to protect it from dew and/or frost, and to keep it as warm as possible. Big, plastic Deep Map 600 when unfolded makes a great, general-purpose dew protector for stuff on my observing table. Deep Map 600 itself invariably dews and/or frosts up; it's a sacrificial victim. But being made of plastic, it also dries out nicely once brought inside (and unfolded).

 

When I'm traveling or observing from my city home, I often use a grand total of three eyepieces, with no spares. That would be a low-power, an 8-24 zoom, and either a dedicated high-power eyepiece or a 2X Barlow. In that case, my pockets are all I ever need.

Alas, my parka's pockets are not loose enough nor large enough to accept large eyepieces.  I agree that pockets are nice, if only someone would make a parka with large, ballooning pockets to accept Ethos eyepieces.

However, lenses can get scratched in pockets, so it's still advisable to keep the eyepieces capped.  At the very least, that'll keep lint off the lenses.


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#21 Starman27

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 12:58 PM

I use ScottVest multi pocket vest and coat compos. The hood and sleeves are removable and exchangeable. On average 14-18 pockets, large enough for large eyepieces in the out side pockets, tablet and two smaller eyepieces in the inside, flashlights, smaller eyepieces in the chest outside pockets and a large wraparound pocket to put warmers for you back and side. Lot's of flexibility.


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#22 Starman1

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 01:49 PM

Does the vest come in XXXL to fit over a couple winter parkas?

Edited by Starman1, 16 December 2019 - 01:49 PM.

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#23 Sketcher

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:02 PM

We're all different and observe with different equipment in different situations.  Find out what works well for you in your observing situations/conditions and go with those procedures.

 

For myself, my ep-management will vary depending on atmospheric conditions (is dew or frost likely during the session?) and on the nature of my observing for a particular night (Will I be transitioning from object to object or will I be making a more detailed observation of a single object?).

 

In general, I take out a box containing all eyepieces that I could potentially end up wanting to use.  All eyepieces in the box have their caps on.  I remove from the box those eyepieces that I know I'll be making use of, and place them on a solid tripod shelf (I'm usually using a telescope that's on a tripod).  Caps are removed from an eyepiece only when that eyepiece is ready to go into the telescope.  Removed caps are usually returned to the shelf with their open ends face down.

 

An eyepiece that's removed from the telescope will usually be re-capped (often just the top end -- especially if I feel that it's likely to see more use later) and returned to the shelf.  If I know I won't be using a particular eyepiece again, I'll re-cap both ends and either place it on the shelf or return it to the eyepiece box.  The box is always closed unless an eyepiece is being removed or replaced.  Eyepieces always have their caps on when in the box.

 

I don't allow dew or frost to form on optical surfaces.  One eventually learns what's necessary here.  Either that, or one learns how to deal with dew and/or frost afterwards -- a whole 'nother topic!

 

Of course, there's a lot more that's not mentioned:  Where does the eyepiece box/case go?  Does one use a portable table?  Does one observe in one's yard?  Does one travel to an observing site?  What things are done differently when different telescopes are used?  And so on and so forth.

 

Naturally, any of us could go on and on concerning less common situations, etc.  But the short version is:  One eventually learns what one prefers (and what works!) in one's different observing conditions, etc.

 

Nowadays, I almost always observe from within the Colosseum:

 

Sketchers Colosseum Open Air Observatory 2

 

It's always cleared of snow as soon as possible after the snow stops coming down.  Inside are stacked concrete blocks that serve as four different semi-permanent tables (My eyepiece box goes on one.) as well as one longer platform of blocks on which I can rest telescope cases -- up to and including my 6-inch refractor's case.

 

The Colosseum has (for at least the last decade) taken the place of my no longer used Rattlesnake Observatory:

 

Sketchers Roll Off Roof Observatory 2

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#24 desertstars

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:07 PM

I NEED a new picture I have 12 new eyepieces now  .elephant.gif

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#25 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

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  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:15 PM

Do you do this whole progression every time, from 25mm to 17mm, to 13mm, to 8mm, to 6mm, then barlow the 8mm, then barlow the 6mm,  or do you skip some steps?


OK, let me tell you how I would approach that question if I owned an XT6. Nice scope, by the way. Simple and sweet. And it's also a very elegant eyepiece collection -- covers every possible contingency at very modest cost.

 

First off, I would end up using my 32-mm eyepiece a mighty lot -- you definitely want quick access to that particular eyepiece! Four millimeters is a very nice exit pupil. Plenty bright and wide, but significantly sharper than 5 mm.

 

You can do essentially all your deep-sky observing without the Barlow. Your 6-mm eyepiece gives you 200X with an exit pupil of 0.75 mm, which is enough for the planets on all but the best nights, and also for even the brightest, smallest and finest-structured DSOs, such as some planetary nebulae or the bright part of the Orion Nebula. So you only need the Barlow for observing planets on those rare nights of great seeing, or for splitting tight double stars.

 

On the other hand, you might want to switch to the Barlow early, to give you longer eye relief. How comfortable do you find that 6-mm Plossl? Many people think their eye relief is painfully small, but some people love them. If you want longer eye relief, use the 13-mm eyepiece with the Barlow. I imagine that over time you will settle into a pretty regular rhythm; find out what seems most comfortable and natural to you.


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