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Another rookie steps up to the plate

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#1 Luke82

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 03:27 AM

Greetings all!

 

I am new to the sport of astronomy and super excited to start exploring space. It has already been an exciting journey so far - very busy doing my research and my brain has been overloaded with new ideas – I had no idea the variety (and cost) of equipment available.  This forum seems like an excellent community and has been my #1 source for information and points of view so thanks for everything so far!

 

In order to pursue my new found passion I have been forcing my girlfriend to watch Star Trek and subtly commenting “ah wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see cool things like that’ and tagging her on asto-images on bookface. With the backdrop skilfully set I have just purchased Skywatcher 12” Goto dob as a gift for her birthday… I am sure she will love it 😉

 

Now it is critical that my.. I mean her first views are WOW moments – so clearly the stock standard plossls that come with the scope will not suffice… definitely want to get some of that spacewalk goodness! Unfortunately, after purchasing the telescope and then a spacesuit I do not have enough cash left for set Ethos, or 82 Naglers, or ES100/92s. To that end – been reading heaps on this site and got some ideas on eyepieces I can afford. 

 

I know this question comes up a fair bit but I just thought I’d seek some validation and or see if there are some better suggestions around for something in my price range that will deliver the results for this type of scope.

 

The scope is f4.9 (reflector) and with focal length of 1500mm. I want to see everything I can - but naturally moon and planets before moving on to DSOs.

 

So, here’s my plan
Get a decent ~9mm, ~13mm eyepiece to see if I’m happy with them before expanding to ~5 and ~20. I would like to stay parfocal for convenience and looking for wide FOV. 

 

At this point I am leaning towards the APM XWAs.. they have been getting a great wrap and seem very well priced for a 100deg AFOV.

One thing i am also debating is whether to get a decent 2 x barlows (suggestions welcome!) to push out to the higher magnifications for lunar and planets (initially) or just get another eyepiece (maybe the XWA 4.7mm)?.  I am guessing ill get a parracorr down the track...so will it be a waste to get both or do they play well together?  

 

Any suggestions for a better plan of attack?

 

Cheers,

Luke

 



#2 Second Time Around

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 03:45 AM

I bet she'd love a zoom eyepiece. It's like landing a spacecraft!
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#3 sg6

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 03:46 AM

Any suggestions for a better plan of attack?

First is buy your girlfriend something that she wants not something that you want. How stupid do you think she is? I also say never buy a scope for someone that you think is a good idea. If someone bought me a 10" reflector I would suggest they visit a hospital, whereas an 80mm ED refractor would be welcome. You are thinking "boys toys".

 

4.7mm eyepeice may not work well. A 10" mirror, 250mm, will have enough manufacturing problems. Sorry just measuring the diameter means little. You make the presumption that they all come out "perfect". More a case that most come out "questionable".

 

Ultimately a 10" pile of junk doesn't give a good image. And a 10" quality mirror will cost 5x the price of your whole scope. Newtonian owners need to drop the idea that a 10" beats a 12" automatically based on diameter alone.

 

Eyepeices in general I suggest the simple idea of a few ES 68's and 82's. They are said to be reasonable down to f/4.5 which likely means they give an acceptable image at 4.5, but not exceptionable. So 4.7 should be OK.

 

So now you have used her birthday as an excuse as buying something for yourself, what are you going to buy her. Maybe crystaline carbon and large.


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#4 25585

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 04:32 AM

I have a 12" Skywatcher. 12 to 14mm is a good 1 of 3. Wow her with views of M13 globular cluster, M31 & its 2 satellite galaxies & work through a reader-friendly book on to "see what's out there".

 

A 30mm and 2x Barlow are good choices.

 

Do either you or your girlfriend wear eyeglasses? 


Edited by 25585, 13 August 2020 - 04:35 AM.


#5 Luke82

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 06:23 AM

So now you have used her birthday as an excuse as buying something for yourself, what are you going to buy her. Maybe crystaline carbon and large.

A diamond.. really? Such a thoughtless gift.

 

 

I have a 12" Skywatcher. 12 to 14mm is a good 1 of 3. Wow her with views of M13 globular cluster, M31 & its 2 satellite galaxies & work through a reader-friendly book on to "see what's out there".

 

A 30mm and 2x Barlow are good choices.

 

Do either you or your girlfriend wear eyeglasses? 

Good to hear 25585. Well she is longsighted (so wont need glasses).. i am short sighted but my dominant eye probably isn't too bad...so not sure if ill need glasses or not just yet. I don't need them when using microscopes or binos.   

 

Yes definitely want to check out Andromeda...good suggestion thanks. Ill give that some thought. 



#6 Luke82

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 06:26 AM

I bet she'd love a zoom eyepiece. It's like landing a spacecraft!

I like the way your thinking Mariner! Are zoom scopes any good. I thought the common view was the single eyepieces give a better viewing experience? 



#7 havasman

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 07:38 AM

 

4.7mm eyepeice may not work well. A 10" mirror, 250mm, will have enough manufacturing problems. Sorry just measuring the diameter means little. You make the presumption that they all come out "perfect". More a case that most come out "questionable".

 

Ultimately a 10" pile of junk doesn't give a good image. And a 10" quality mirror will cost 5x the price of your whole scope. Newtonian owners need to drop the idea that a 10" beats a 12" automatically based on diameter alone.

No matter how many times this canard is floated, it is simply not correct that a small doublet refractor outperforms a 10 or 12" mass market Dob nor is it correct that primary mirrors in mass market Dobs do not work well. I have Dobs with 10" Orion stock mirror and 16" Zambuto mirror and have a brand new 12.5" Zambuto mirror arriving today at Teeter going into a custom Dob in the last stages of production. I had the 10" tested by John Hall several years ago and the data supports the fact that stock mass market primaries like the Orion and Skywatchers are very good. They are not the equal of a custom mirror but support very fine observations, do not require a year's wait and are relatively economical. Extraordinary claims like those in the other post that are made w/o data support are easily dismissed in the face of both experience and data.

 

Aperture does matter. A lot. And a 12" Skywatcher Dob is a very powerful observing tool.

 

I have owned 20, 13 and 9mm APM HDC eyepieces and know them to be very good even when compared to my 21, 13 and 10mm Ethos. I often recommend the APM ep's and do here to Luke82. That spread of focal lengths is also where I would start. Beginners almost always overestimate the value of magnification. Add an ES82 6.7mm to the HDC's and Bob's y'er uncle, as they might say in Jolly Old England. Later when you have developed the skills that will make it work for you, go for a 4.7mm. I use 4.7 & 3.7 Ethos and 5, 3.5 and 2.5mm Naglers. I recommend them and certainly recommend the ES82 4.7mm too as one of the best ES eyepieces I have ever used. Plan your kit from the widefield end down for least wasted $ in the end. Buy those 13 & 9mm 1st if you like, probably a good idea. Buy the shortest focal lengths last as they will be the least effective initially but after building observing skills they will reward handsomely. Closer eyepiece focal length spacing at the short end is useful for many observers in good conditions.

 

Whether one likes a zoom (or hyperwide for that matter) eyepiece is a personal choice. I prefer discreet ep's. Some like zooms. I dislike the narrow FOV at low magnifications and think it essentially bassackwards.

 

The ES68 24 & 16mm are very good eyepieces that I carry in my case full of Ethos, Naglers and Tak Abbe Orthos. The 24mm in particular is very useful in all my scopes as a very good 1.25" widefield option and a fine ep. Those 2 also make a high performance, relatively low cost "starter set" for a medium and powerful aperture scope like yours.

 

All the eyepiece recommendations are subject to your needs for eye relief if you wear glasses to observe or otherwise need long eye relief but this is not known.


Edited by havasman, 13 August 2020 - 07:41 AM.

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#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:33 AM

The problem with the HDC series is the extreme wide AFOV will really highlight the coma. So you should really consider a coma corrector if going that wide. This adds an extra layer of complexity with finding the right setting or spacing. These eyepieces are also quite heavy and can cause balance issues, possibly requiring counterweights. Another layer of complexity, especially for a truss Dob where you can’t just slide a magnetic weight up and down the tube to change balance. So the HDCs might be the way to go but it can take some time experimenting to really make good use of them.

I would suggest an APM 30 UFF for low power. Nice and wide but not so wide that coma will be a real issue. Also light compared to many 2” eyepieces so it won’t cause serious balance issues. After that maybe go ultrawide to minimize balance issues and control coma a bit, while still getting the bulk of the wide field experience of the hyperwides. Morpheus could be a contender as they have about 78 AFOV and are reasonable weight with excellent eye relief, but if glasses are not needed you could save money with Meade or ES UWA eyepieces.

Don’t forget a collimation tool!

Scott
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#9 havasman

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 01:33 PM

I agree with Scott but for the HDC's weight analysis as they're not heavy compared to others in the class. But a coma corrector should be seriously considered. Counterweights are pretty much just a fact of Dobsonian life and pretty easy to rig. And that 30mm's apparently very good.

 

A lot depends on the OP's observing location and I am not aware of that.



#10 Xyrus

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 03:52 PM

So you bought a girlfriend to go with your scope? lol.gif

 

Saturn. Or the moon. Those would be my recommendations if you wan't to wow her out of the gate. In a 12" both of those are easy, familiar targets that even complete astro-n00bs know and can appreciate even with no previous viewing experience. As someone else mentioned, a zoom eyepiece in 12" dob on the moon? It is like landing a spacecraft.

 

But Saturn might start up some talk about rings so...whistling.gif

 

Anyway, the only reason why I would steer clear of the faint fuzzies at first is due to the fact that it takes a bit more viewing experience to fully appreciate them. Well, maybe with an exception for large open clusters like the Wild Duck cluster since it has the "my gawd, it's full of stars!" effect. smile.gif

 

My 0.02



#11 Luke82

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 05:19 PM

But Saturn might start up some talk about rings so...whistling.gif

 

Avoid Saturn... got it! Thanks Xyrus.

 

Scott, Havasman thanks your your responses... these sound like very good well reasoned suggestions. 

Turns our the scope is not far away- i was expecting delays at the moment... must have got lucky. I guess i can work out if i need glasses for viewing or not soon enough. 

 

So are you both saying i may as well bite the bullet and get coma correction? 

If i do that - is the UFF eyepiece still what i am looking at for long focal length or does that open up options for wider field of view? maybe 82deg? 

 

I didn't want to bring collimation into this topic Scott, but I'm just going a cheshire piece and star alignment until i have a feel for it and then maybe play with laser/barlowed collimation. 

 

Cheers,

Luke



#12 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 05:36 PM

The 30mm ES 82 will go wider but it is kind of a beast. The APM gets you most of the way there and is reasonable weight and price. Another possibility is the 20mm HDC which would go about as wide as the 30 UFF, but with considerably more magnification, weight and cost. So yes coma corrector opens up some doors, but those doors are to big, heavy eyepieces, so the 30mm might still be the way to go.

If you have heavy light pollution, the 20 HDC or ES 24 82 would be preferred.

Scott

#13 Elroy

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 07:34 PM

+1 on the APM 30mm. The 35mm Panoptic is also a nice EP that can be often found used in the CN classifieds. A good finder EP would be my first choice. Zooms are also nice.laugh.gif


Edited by Elroy, 13 August 2020 - 07:35 PM.


#14 Tom Masterson

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:37 PM

A 12" GOTO Dob for her birthday??!! What are you thinking man?? She'd be WAY more happy with a snow shovel, a dust buster, an iron or a push mower. Sheesh . . . Some guys don't understand women at all! It's been 30 years and my wife STILL talks about the Dustbuster I got her for Christmas once. (True story) 

 

9-13mm eyepiece is a decent choice. Be careful about wanting to push the power at first. The higher the power, usually much over 200x, and the fewer the nights the seeing will allow it. Any good barlow is a nice tool to have in the toolbox, and my eyepiece case has always contained a 20mm eyepiece. I find I use three focal lengths 90% of the time - and always have - despite the fact my main eyepiece case holds 9 eyepieces and a barlow. These three focal lengths have remained roughly the same for 50 years of observing give or take a couple MMs. 9, 14 and 20. Outside of those, a 30mm ultra wide field (82degree) and something in the 5-7mm range for those super steady nights are used, but less often. Hold a gun to my head - or threaten to beat me to death with a Dustbuster on Christmas (Almost a true story), and force me to chose three eyepieces, and they'd be those first three. Although I've always owned one, I'm not a much of barlow user because I find the added physical length of a barlow and a largish eyepiece to be awkward. No issues optically, just a lot of tubing and glass hanging off the focuser. But that's just me.

 

Oh, one last thing. Choosing the proper Birthday gift requires some tactics, and thoughts of the future. Choose the right gift, and future romantic accessories fall right into place. As an example: Snow shovel for her birthday, and for a later special occasion, a matching windshield scraper would be perfect. She'll instantly see the value in being able to scrape the windshield clear on your truck after shoveling the driveway of snow before you leave for work. If a push mower is the birthday gift, a pair of manual hedge clippers is the perfect follow up gift for say, your anniversary. Ok, there you go. A little astronomical advice, and of course, some perfect romantic advice from an expert on the opposite ****. Now go and knock her off her feet with you newfound romantic knowledge, and be sure to duck when she tries to return the favor.



#15 Luke82

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:47 PM

Sounds great everyone! So i guess the message is go easy on high mag for the moment and invest in the longer focal lengths first, get experience up before trying to see the little men on mars. I guess I was thinking backwards so i wouldn't have to deal with as much coma immediately. I'll start thinking more on the 20-30mm lenses and do some more research on my options for paracorr. 

 

 

Oh, one last thing. Choosing the proper Birthday gift requires some tactics, and thoughts of the future. Choose the right gift, and future romantic accessories fall right into place. 

Tom you sound like a man after my own heart. I work long hours and often don't get around to tending the lawn to the frustration of my girlfriend. I went into the garage one night last year and noticed the whipper-snipper had moved and was laying on the floor in the centre of the garage yet i noticed the edges had not not been trimmed. Remembering that the whipper-snipper was a pig to get started I subtly dropped hints that would like a Honda easy start whipper-snipper and when Christmas came.. guess what i got! Now this is truly the gift that keeps on giving as I rarely have to trim the edges anymore!




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