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Looking for my first "nicer" eyepiece - Advice welcome!

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#1 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 06:55 AM

My current setup is an Orion 130ST I picked up for free about a year ago.  The eyepieces I have been using are these:

 

https://www.telescop...2160/p/8890.uts

 

I am looking to get my first "higher quality" eyepiece -- one that is not completely wasted on a 130ST but that will also be useful to me if I get an upgraded scope in the future.  The Orion 5mm Stratus caught my eye:

 

https://www.telescop...me=SortByRating

 

I primarily enjoy looking at the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Once I am able to get my scope up to my family's farm in the middle of nowhere, I am going to explore other objects.  As a complete beginner, I have to ask: Is the 5mm Status a good option for me here?  If anyone has other suggestions, I am all ears!

 

Thanks! 



#2 N5SE

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:11 AM

You should probably look at the TeleVue range.


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#3 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:12 AM

Also: Given the weaknesses of the focuser on the 130ST, I was thinking of picking up the Orion AccuFocus to assist with the focusing...  I think trying to use the rack & pinion focuser on this scope with a higher magnification eyepiece would not be fun...



#4 bigdob24

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:28 AM

Look at the TV Delos line. 
I have the whole set and love them. 
Same coatings as the Ethos line , lots of eye relief adjustment and provide nice crisp sharp views


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#5 JoshUrban

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:34 AM

I'd keep an eye out for some used Televue offerings on the classifieds!  It looks like the Stratus is a 68 degree eyepiece, similar to the TV Panoptics (although the Panoptics are longer focal length offerings.  I've got the discontinued 15mm, and that's as low as they go.)  I've never used a Stratus, but it looks nice!

 

  Even though you'd be duplicating your focal lengths, you might enjoy an upgraded low or mid power design.  (Another way to look at it:  I like to have different eyepiece designs as each one gives different views.  Plossls vs. Naglers vs. Orthos, etc.)

 

  Another eyepiece I really enjoy for it's sharpness (although not ease of use) is the Ortho design.  I've got a 12.5mm, 9mm, and 4mm University Optics.  This is a discontinued line, but you'll also see them for under a hundred bucks on the classifieds here.  I had the 9 out last night with my 12.5" dob, and MAN it was killing on Jupiter!  They've got tiny fields of view, but man, talk about sharp!  These are probably worth skipping on this current shopping trip, but I'd recommend keeping half an eye out for 'em!



#6 sg6

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:56 AM

"Nicer" is relative. For the 130ST I wouldn't go beyond the Paradigms/BST (Where are you?) Saying buy a Paradigm is OK if wherever you are sell the things if elsewhere they are under different names.

 

Whatevr it reads you need better as your signature says "Still amazed at the white dot that is Jupiter." and Jupiter shouldn't be  a white dot.

 

The 130 is 650mm focal length an 8mm is around 80x and so good for most general viewing. My most used is 8mm, 12mm and 25mm (Paradigms). For a little more I have a 6mm - think it is a WO Planetary copy/clone/rebrand.

 

And I suspect that those would suit you well.

The 6mm and 8mm will be fine for Saturn, the 8mm and 12mm for Jupiter and the 25mm for finding things.

 

Would a 5mm Paradigm work? Maybe say half the nights.

 

So think of 8mm, 12mm, 25mm Paradigm.

A 6mm in something search out the Altair offering but they seem to have eyepiece ranges under 2 identical names but different costs. Mine is the cheaper one.

And suggest you wait and think about a 5mm - Paradigm does one.

 

Other eyepieces ES 52's maybe ES 62's. Meade HD's and X-Cel LX's.

 

Going expensive eyepieces on the 130ST seems like overkill. 1 Delos costs way more the the scope itself.


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#7 epee

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:58 AM

The Orion Stratus is a rebranded Baader Hyperion. A pretty good eyepiece that show's some weaknesses in short f/ratio scopes. It was a hot number back in the 2Ks.

 

The brands/lines that get the most favorable comments lately are TeleVue (of course), Explore Scientific, and the Baader Morpheus line. All of these work pretty darn well down to about f/5 and even shorter with a Coma Corrector. Pentax also has a strong following.



#8 rexowner

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 08:53 AM

I would echo the comments about considering Tele Vue.  I am starting to upgrade my eyepieces,

and since I've decided I'm going to stick with the hobby, I may as well buy equipment I can use

for the rest of my life.  A couple of nice things about Tele Vue is that the peformance actually

matches what they say their specs are, and their eyepiece lines are logically arranged in different

focal lengths, FOV's etc.  You can go look at the chart on their website and with a little

experience you know how all of the individual eyepieces fit.

 

Check out:

- If you use a spreadsheet, download Don Pensack's 2020 eyepiece spreadsheet from the

pinned post at the top of the Eyepiece Forum.  Incredibly useful.

- Read some of the eyepiece essays on Televue's site.  Al Nagler points out how you can

have a great set with 3 eyepieces.  He's probably right, especially for one scope.

- There are some other good essays on buying a "set" of appropriate focal lengths.  I know

Don Pensack has another essay on that in the Eyepiece Forum, but I don't have a link.

 

The challenge I have with a number of companies who "re-brand" eyepieces made

by others is that I don't really know what goes with what.  They may be perfectly

good products, but all of a sudden I am going from a long-eye-relieve 50-deg

"planetary" to a totally different wide-field of view from another manufacturer.

 

I'd rather have a few nice things that I understand how to use, and logically fit

with one another in terms of magnification, FOV etc. that I'll keep forever rather

than a bunch of very different products from various sources.  Given how many

used eyepieces are on the classifieds, it seems a lot of people feel differently,

because they buy and sell various eyepieces, sometimes the same one

more than once.  Nothing wrong with that, but personally, I just want to

buy once and concentrate on other things. 

 

There may be other good lines.  E.g. Explore Scientific has various FOV eyepiece

families that seem to be logically arranged.  That might be a good choice, but

I don't know as much about every brand as some others on Cloudy Nights.

 

Tele Vue isn't cheap, but to me, it's worth it.

 

YMMV


Edited by rexowner, 10 July 2020 - 08:55 AM.

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#9 Barlowbill

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 08:55 AM

What is "nicer"?  Could be different to different folks.  You can certainly spend more (a lot more) on eps (eyepieces) than the two Plossls you listed.  The real question is how much do you want to spend?  $60 Paradigms or $300-$600 Explore Scientific/TeleVue?  And anywhere in between.  You should probably learn to "view" before jumping into the ep hole.  It is never ending.  


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#10 vdog

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:23 AM

Start by expanding your search beyond Orion's website.  There are many, many vendors of astronomy gear out there and you don't want to limit your options.  Often, the gear Orion sells can be purchased more cheaply elsewhere under a different brand name.

 

"Higher quality" is somewhat vague, but it sounds to me like you just want to dip your toe in the waters rather than dive in headfirst and buy a $300+ eyepiece.  A good eyepiece around the same focal length and price of the Stratus you're looking at is the Meade UWA 5.5mm.  The Stratus has more eye relief, a better ergonomic design, and can be used in 2" focusers without an adapter.  The Meade, however, has a wider field-of-view and is an eyepiece that many (including me) say provides a view well beyond what its price tag would seem to warrant.

 

If you don't mind a slightly narrower field, the Paradigms get a lot of love here.  I can also recommend the Meade HD-60s.  You could get two of these for about what one Stratus will cost you, and they would still be wider than the Plossls you're using.

 

Also, like sg6, I have to wonder about the "white dot" reference.  With your current equipment, you should at least be able to see the two main bands on Jupiter.


Edited by vdog, 10 July 2020 - 10:30 AM.

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#11 jakecru

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 11:12 AM

I think a Meade UWA 5.5 fits the bill nicely. Not too costly, but a very very nice eyepiece for the price. 


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#12 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:05 PM

Oh, haha: re: the White Dot reference.  That as more a statement about how Jupiter looks just through the naked eye.  With my current set up, I can see a couple clouds on Jupiter.  Saturn looks like a round ball clearly placed in the middle of a ring.  My viewing, however, is limited in my backyard because (1) My backyard abuts a freeway; (2) I am smack in the middle of the SF Bay Area.  So with the light pollution and vibration of passing traffic, the seeing is never *great*.

 

What I am going to be doing is taking my scope to my family's farm way up on the Oregon border (and in the middle of nowhere) on a monthly basis for a deeper dive into what there is out there.

 

I will add: I have an opportunity to buy a CPC925 for a decent price this weekend.  I may be picking it up if my "test drive" with the current owner this weekend goes well.  Hence my interest in having decent eyepieces that can work in the 130ST but also "grow" if I get a better scope.

 

Thanks so much for the recommendations- I will definitely check out the paradigms but also the UWA 5.5!



#13 SeattleScott

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 04:20 PM

The Paradigm and Xcel LX are good value eyepieces that outperform their price point in certain focal lengths. But at those prices you don’t get consistent excellence like with TV and other premium brands. So you would want 25/9/7 Xcel LX and 12/5 Paradigm to cherry pick the best from each line and avoid the duds.

The Meade UWA series is very good and affordable.

Personally I spent a year with plossls and then started upgrading. I opted for $240 Vixen LVWs which are discontinued now. Like you part of my thinking was getting better scopes in the future and wanting quality eyepieces. So I can relate to considering premium $300 eyepieces, which is probably about what the LVWs would cost today with inflation. But I could only afford about one a year as a college student, so I filled in with some $60-70 eyepieces to get an upgrade from plossls and get me by until I could get a full lineup of premium eyepieces, like I have now. Depending on your circumstances you might take a similar approach. Maybe buy one premium eyepiece and 2-3 $60-90 ones as place holders until you save up more and learn more about your eyepiece preferences. In particular, I could see a 17-20mm wide angle being useful in the short tube reflector or C9.25 so maybe a 17.5 Morpheus or 17.3 Delos or 19 Panoptic. Followed by a 12 Paradigm and Xcel LX 9/Meade 8.8 UWA or something. Rather than get several good but not great Stratus, you could get one premium eyepiece and a couple affordable placeholders.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 10 July 2020 - 04:30 PM.

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#14 SteveG

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 04:53 PM

Also: Given the weaknesses of the focuser on the 130ST, I was thinking of picking up the Orion AccuFocus to assist with the focusing...  I think trying to use the rack & pinion focuser on this scope with a higher magnification eyepiece would not be fun...

No, waste of time and money. You’ll be fine with your focuser.


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#15 SteveG

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 09:32 PM

 

What I am going to be doing is taking my scope to my family's farm way up on the Oregon border (and in the middle of nowhere) on a monthly basis for a deeper dive into what there is out there.

 

Okay, that is where things will change. You are going to want a nice widefield for you low-power sweeping. In a really dark sky, a 5" f5 will show you a lot! 

 

There are a handful of low-power widefields that have been mentioned. Basically you can go with a 30-32 mm plossl, a 60 deg 25 mm (Paradigm, Meade HD series), or a 22-24 mm 68 deg widefield. One of the best choices here is the ES 24/68. With my 5" f5, I use an LVW 22/65. This eyepiece is no longer made but available used (around $170-190). I tried the Pan 24, Pan 22, and ES 24/68, but the LVW22 does a better job in providing a flat, well corrected field of view in this f5 scopes.

 

BTW, that Meade 5.5 would be an excellent choice for your highest power, and it's on sale everywhere for $99.


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#16 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:03 PM

Thank you everyone for the great suggestions.  I am going to definitely order that Meade 5.5 people have recommended and I will check out some of those widefields.  Maybe I will try to get 3.  I'm excited to see how this operates up North.  The only telescope I have taken up there before is a small 90mm/500mm focal length travel refractor, and that was during a full moon.  The moon looked cool, but it was so bright up there, haha.

 

My first planned trip is around July 20 for the new moon...


Edited by NDLaw, 10 July 2020 - 10:04 PM.

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#17 KTAZ

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:03 PM

Looking at your existing pieces I think that a mid-power wide field piece would be a better choice. Especially if you get the 9.25.

 

A 5.5MM is nearly overkill for a 5” aperture; the lowest I had for my old 5” Mak was 6.7mm and I think it got used about 10% of the time. Low powers from planets are a must, and plossl’s can work very well here, but mid-powers for galaxies and nebula will be very useful if you get a 9.25.

 

I second the ES 24mm 68. You can pick one up here on CN used for about $125 depending on condition.


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#18 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 10:33 PM

Assuming good seeing conditions, wouldn't a high magnification eyepiece (that is within the 260x max useful mag. for a 130ST) show more detail?  Why would a lower power be better for viewing planets?

 

Looking at the recommendations here, it seems like I could get a decent high, mid, and low power eyepiece for just under (or around) a combined $400 (obviously not the TeleVues given their cost)?  Maybe that is a good way for me to go...


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#19 KTAZ

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 11:26 PM

A lower power would not be better for planets. My point was that a 9.25 will open up an entire new range of observing possibilities due to its light gathering power. Galaxies and nebulas barely seen in a 5" can be readily seen in the larger scope.

And your original post did not state your budget.

#20 NDLaw

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 11:28 PM

A lower power would not be better for planets. My point was that a 9.25 will open up an entire new range of observing possibilities due to its light gathering power. Galaxies and nebulas barely seen in a 5" can be readily seen in the larger scope.

And your original post did not state your budget.

 

Oh gotcha, that makes sense.

 

And you're right.  I think my max budget would be around $300 (maybe $400 if really worth it).  From what I am hearing here, it might be better to get 2 or 3 decent eye pieces of different focal lengths than one really decent one...



#21 SeattleScott

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 11:51 PM

I was suggesting 19mm to 9mm because those would be useful in your current scope or a C9.25. A Meade 5.5 would be great for your current scope but not much good for a C9.25. I tend to spend more on eyepieces I can use with more scopes, and less on ones only useful with one scope. So a paradigm 5mm might make more sense. But the Meade is a really good value at just $40 more.

#22 NDLaw

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 03:37 AM

So to start, I have picked up 3 eyepieces recommended here:

 

(1) Meade UWA 5.5mm

(2) Astro-Tech Paradigm 12mm

(3) Astro-Tech Paradigm 25mm

 

Thank you all for your recommendations!  These, plus going up to the middle of nowhere in 10 days or so, will let me see what this 130ST is capable of.  I have bookmarked the TeleVue line for down the road!


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#23 SeattleScott

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:44 AM

The paradigm 25 will struggle a bit. The 12 is good as well as the Meade 5.5. Overall it should be a nice kit and give you an idea of what is out there (as well as variation within the same line).

Scott

#24 tony_spina

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:36 AM

Report back and let us know how the eyepieces worked out for you



#25 gnowellsct

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 12:59 PM

My current setup is an Orion 130ST I picked up for free about a year ago.  The eyepieces I have been using are these:

 

https://www.telescop...2160/p/8890.uts

 

I am looking to get my first "higher quality" eyepiece -- one that is not completely wasted on a 130ST but that will also be useful to me if I get an upgraded scope in the future.  The Orion 5mm Stratus caught my eye:

 

https://www.telescop...me=SortByRating

 

I primarily enjoy looking at the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Once I am able to get my scope up to my family's farm in the middle of nowhere, I am going to explore other objects.  As a complete beginner, I have to ask: Is the 5mm Status a good option for me here?  If anyone has other suggestions, I am all ears!

 

Thanks! 

The best way to improve your eyepieces is to improve the telescope you put them in.  Most eyepieces are functional one way or t'other. Even the eyepieces I don't like, are functional and on Jupiter, the Moon, and Saturn will deliver 95% of what any other eyepiece will deliver.  

 

But if you change from a 5 inch scope to an 8 inch scope, your eyepieces will miraculously "deliver a better view."

 

I myself spent my first year or two upgrading aperture to the point where I was happy with it.  THEN I went to work on the oculars.  I had rock bottom options (most not even sold anymore).   I upgraded to some mid range eyepieces and then when I was using the mount I liked and the scope I liked proceeded to work my way into very high end glass.  So I'm worried your priorities are premature.

 

The other thing is that often the best improvement of the view (short of a bigger/better telescope) lies in a better mount.  The reason being that no matter how good your ocular is, if the view is jittering every time you try to adjust focus you're not getting value out of your gear.

 

Greg N




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