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Eyepieces for f4.5 dobsonian for planetary observation

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#1 Jarl

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:02 PM

Hello people,

I'm in the process of what could be described as "polishing a ****". Except this particular **** has given me some nice views 🙂.

I found an old Coulter Odyssey at a thrift store and of course I couldn't pass on it. I got it, cleaned the mirrors, made a new mirror cell, and I'm in the process of making a focuser for it.

One of my problems now (to use this scope on planets) is the lack of short eyepieces. My shortest eyepiece is an Antares 8.6mm W70, and from what I can find these wide eyepieces are not the best option for short focal length telescopes.

The question is, then, which eyepieces DO work well with short f ratios.

There's a huge variety of eyepieces these days, in all price ranges. Which non-premium eyepieces should I be looking for?

Thanks!


Edited by Jarl, 22 September 2020 - 12:08 PM.

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#2 Augustus

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:08 PM

A Meade 5.5mm UWA would be good for higher power, or get a few used older Naglers or ES82s. 


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#3 jim kuhns

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:12 PM

Many eyepieces are sold on this site and many as good as new.
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#4 Jarl

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:33 PM

@Jim: there are just too many options :) I have a history of buying the wrong thing and then keeping it "just in case", so I'd love to know what has worked for other people with short-ish 8" newtonians.

@Augustus: would the Meade 5.5 UWA play well with short f ratios?



#5 Augustus

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 12:36 PM

@Augustus: would the Meade 5.5 UWA play well with short f ratios?

Yes, it works great with my Coulter 13.1".

 

The Meade UWAs, ES82s, and Naglers are specifically made for fast Dobs.


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#6 Jarl

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:15 PM

Yes, it works great with my Coulter 13.1".

 

The Meade UWAs, ES82s, and Naglers are specifically made for fast Dobs.

That's good information!

Have you had the chance to compare your 5.5 UWA to similar f.l. orthoscopic eyepieces on your Coulter?



#7 Augustus

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:30 PM

That's good information!

Have you had the chance to compare your 5.5 UWA to similar f.l. orthoscopic eyepieces on your Coulter?

Yeah. The Ortho is like a soda straw, the eye relief on a 5mm or 6mm is zilch and you are going to get frustrated nudging the scope along every two seconds. Any sharpness benefit, in practice, is irrelevant.


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#8 Jarl

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 02:44 PM

Yeah. The Ortho is like a soda straw, the eye relief on a 5mm or 6mm is zilch and you are going to get frustrated nudging the scope along every two seconds. Any sharpness benefit, in practice, is irrelevant.

Lol. Your soda straw comment is priceless

I'll look around to see what I can find. Thanks!


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#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 03:03 PM

The 5.5mm Meade UWA is probably your best choice without spending too much.


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#10 spaceoddity

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:53 PM

The 5.5mm Meade UWA is probably your best choice without spending too much.

Not sure what they are going for now but I got 1 about a year ago on amazon for $80 brand new, talk about a smokin' good deal. It's an excellent eyepiece but twist-up eye cup on mine twists extremely hard. Maybe it will loosen up over time. I have several other Meade 5k UWA's and SWA's and they all twist up smoothly and easily. 


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#11 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 07:39 PM

Not sure what they are going for now but I got 1 about a year ago on amazon for $80 brand new, talk about a smokin' good deal. It's an excellent eyepiece but twist-up eye cup on mine twists extremely hard. Maybe it will loosen up over time. I have several other Meade 5k UWA's and SWA's and they all twist up smoothly and easily. 

The current price is $129, minus the discount that Astronomics generously bestows upon Cloudy Nights members.  The 5.5mm occasionally goes on sale for $99.

 

https://www.astronom...waterproof.html


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#12 Jarl

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 02:40 PM

The current price is $129, minus the discount that Astronomics generously bestows upon Cloudy Nights members.  The 5.5mm occasionally goes on sale for $99.

 

https://www.astronom...waterproof.html

There's one on Amazon in $260



#13 Don H

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 06:16 PM

There is a 6mm Radian for $165 in the CN classifieds. I used to have a 10, and my current 18mm Radian is my top choice for my 4.5" f/4 reflector.

 

In one eyepiece review page, 6mm Radian was excellent, beating out the Meade 5.5. Just scroll down for the results.

 

https://translate.go...700190,15700201

 

https://www.cloudyni...ue-radian-6-mm/


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#14 neildo

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 12:38 AM

Get a zoom lens and a 2x or 3x barlow. I've been happy with this 7-21mm zoom and this 2x barlow. I'm usually zoomed between 4-5mm focal length when viewing planets. Eye relief is good and FOV is good enough for comfortable viewing without having to constantly move the scope.

 

I tried a bunch of different eyepieces to find the best views of Jupiter and Saturn on a Z130 tabletop dobsonian. I tried the Meade 5.5 UWA and returned it. It was decent but the planetary views were not better (I'd almost say worse) than the zoom+barlow. FOV was nice but it required more precise eye placement to avoid blackout effects. I just couldn't justify the price. A zoom and barlow combo gives you so much more flexibility, and is cheaper.

 

Realize that this advice is coming from someone completely new to telescopes so this is just my novice experience with telescopes and eye pieces.


Edited by neildo, 24 September 2020 - 12:43 AM.

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#15 oldtimer

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 04:08 AM

As a 'GENERAL' rule of thumb eyepieces with less than 6 elements do not play well with fast (F4 & F5) Newts. IMNSHO the Celestron X-Cell LX series for about $90  each (including a 5mm) are the best bang for the buck. Six elements, 60 degree FOV and nice eye relief.



#16 spereira

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 06:53 AM

Moving to Eyepieces ...

 

smp


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#17 Eddgie

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:12 AM

I too recommend a good zoom and a Barlow, and budget permitting, the single eyepiece I would recommend would be the Baader Hyprion.

 

This will work in all of your telescopes giving a useful range of magnifications of each type, and when used with a Barlow, it will work fine for fast telescopes.

 

Alternately, and even better is an inexpensive binoviewer with inexpensive zooms, but to reach focus you would want to use the Bino Vue 2x amplifier or other good quality binoviewer specific amplifier but this is going to cost more than the Hyperion and the Hyperion Barlow.

 

I use zooms for all solar system observing, including solar H-alpha. I have done some of the best planetary observing in my life using zooms.  Always the right power and if you get some short periods where you can see the seeing is improved, you can zoom in and exploit those precious seconds rather than remain at the same power, or worse yet, go on an eyepiece fishing expedition to find one that is better than the one you are using.   By the time you do that, your window is often closed. 

 

(There might be better zooms out there, but the Hyperion is well priced and has a Barlow specifically for it.) 



#18 vdog

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:59 AM

The Meade UWA 5.5 is a sharp high magnification eyepiece.  The optics, even in fast scopes, are very good, and the 82 degree FOV is really nice in an undriven scope.

 

The design and ergonomics of it, with its bulbous housing, twist-up eyecup, and greasy barrel, however, can be off-putting for some people.  I decloaked mine and use it without an eyecup.  The eye relief is decent, but not long enough for wearers of glasses.

 

The Svbony zoom recommended above also does really well in fast scopes, has good eye relief, and is super-light. I've combined it with Barlows for planets and it does Barlow well.  Mine is a bit stiff when twisting to adjust the focal length, but not intolerably so.  It does max out at 60 degrees, which means a lot more nudging at high magnification.

 

Both are priced very affordably, and I think either one of these would give you good views; it just depends on which the pros outweigh the cons for you.


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#19 Jarl

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 02:24 PM

Thank you peeps smile.gif

I was entertaining the idea of the 7-21, but since this is for a dobsonian I'm kind of wary of the narrowish FOV.

The Hyperion would be nice, but this being one of multiple not-necessarily-cheap hobbies, I think I'll have to pass. I'm still trying to decide what to ask for my birthday: either the EP or a lens for one of my Graflexgrin.gif




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