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Best 80 or 102MM Refractor on a Budget

refractor equipment beginner
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#26 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 10:58 PM

Most planetary filters bundled in kits are too dark.  They impart a tremendous coloration to the object, and block a lot of light.

(Light that you are trying to gain by using a telescope).  

 

I have used an 82A light blue to enhance the polar caps on Mars.  

A yellow #8 will  help with chromatic abberation of a short actromatic refractor. 

There are band pass filters like the baader fringe killer that do a better job than the yellow #8, but are much more expensive.

 

For eyepieces start slow.  You need to see what different powers are like in your scope and what targets you most enjoy doing.

 

A UHC filter is a good first filter to get. 

 

Some beginners start with an 8-24 zoom eyepiece.   The upper range suffers from a narrow field of view, but the 8-16 range compares

well with plossl eyepieces.  

This kit didn't come with all that much in terms of accessories, a 25 and 10mm Plossl and a moon filter. No Barlow or other filters.

I was thinking a 2x Barlow effectively doubles the number of eye pieces, it also might be nice to get something like https://www.highpoin...on-filter-94123 or https://www.astronomics.com/astro-tech-ultra-high-contrast-uhc-narrowband-for-1-25-eyepieces.html?___SID=U

 

I think I'll avoid the zoom eye pieces for the time being as I've heard mixed reviews and it seems zoom eye pieces are roughly the same as 2-3 standard Plossls



#27 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 11:01 PM

Light pollution
https://telescopicwa...ight-pollution/

LP filters are becoming ineffective.

32 mm Plossl would be good.

A 25% or variable moon filter would be good for the Moon and Venus.

Hold off on most other filters for a while.

Does something like an O-III or other narrowband filter make more sense?



#28 aeajr

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 11:02 PM

Understanding Telescope Eyepieces- There are recommendations, based on budget,
but the meat of the article is about understanding the considerations and specifications
to know when selecting eyepieces.
https://telescopicwa...cope-eyepieces/


I have 3 zooms along with many other eyepieces. The zooms get most of the eyepiece time.

As far as filters, their use is very specific. OIII are for certain nebula.

NPB / UHC are useful on other nebula.

They are not for planets, the Moon, or other DSOs.

If you are buying filters you need to understand how you will use it.

Understanding Filters
https://telescopicwa...escope-filters/


Turn Left at Orion – One of the best first books for someone getting
involved. It will help you understand the terms and the types. The
biggest benefit is that it is NOT full of pretty color photos that don't
look anything like what you will see in the eyepiece. It has realistic
sketches that show you what you will see.
http://www.amazon.co...n left at orion

Edited by aeajr, 25 January 2021 - 11:44 PM.

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#29 JOEinCO

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 04:47 AM

Does something like an O-III or other narrowband filter make more sense?

You're getting into specialized filters there, and in my opinion you are getting ahead of yourself. You're talking single filters that will eat 25% of your stated budget.

 

Nothing wrong with slowing down and using what you have on the way. You'll be amazed how fast you'll find YOUR personal answers to your questions with some time at the scope. waytogo.gif 

 

I'd agree with the 32mm Plossl suggestion. This eyepiece is just fine and a good match to your pending scope (quality-wise) and very budget-friendly at $30:

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,200&sr=8-5

 

I'd also suggest replacing the erecting prism diagonal that comes with your 102 or you will not benefit from the wide angle the 32mm Plossl can provide. Long story short: The hole for the light to get through the prism diagonal is too small and blocks some of the field. Things like this are FAR more important right now than considering an O-III filter. smile.gif  This is a good mirror diagonal for you to upgrade to, and again, very budget-friendly. A true mirror diagonal with a full bore:

https://agenaastro.c...r-diagonal.html


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#30 Tony Flanders

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 05:12 AM

I’ve started looking at filters and eye pieces, I’ve been thinking about a light pollution filter as well as a Barlow and 32mm plossl.

Just as almost all beginners underestimate the importance of a telescope's mount, so also almost all beginners overestimate the importance of filters. For the record, the term "light pollution filter" is a misnomer; there exists no filter that significantly reduces the deleterious effects of light pollution Nebula filters can indeed help considerably with the views of certain nebulae, but they are generally counterproductive for star clusters and galaxies.

 

As for the planets, although hard-core planetary observers do often use filters to bring out certain features, the rest of us generally prefer the unfiltered view, which is rendered in natural colors.


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#31 sg6

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 05:15 AM

Buy whatever with relevance to the f number.

Do not get anything below f/7, and preferably f/8 as the fastest focal ratio.

An achro faster then either will show a good amount of CA and could put you off.

As the aperture goes up then get slower. At 102mm I would say f/8 to f/10. Problem then is they are long -  says me looking at my 4" f/10 TAL.

 

The "short tube" items always sound nice, odd they never state how poor and bad they are. Stars will show color, planets will show color, the moon will get in on the color act and you might get 80x out of them (maybe). OK for jupiter, useless for all else.

 

What will the scope be used on?

You will not get a 102mm f/10 on an Az GTi. On a manual mount the field of view drops so finding and maintaining a target in view becomes the big problem. Beware of large and nice sounding numbers. Many sound tempting, few are.

 

My general one is the ES AR (or Firstlight) 80mm at 640mm focal length. Comes on the ES Nano mount, which looks half reasonable - only looks as no real experience of such.

At f/8 should be pretty good. Cost was $220. If you purchased a 6mm eyepiece then you get 106x so might see Saturns rings reasonable. Mars will be just a little red disk. 25mm Paradigm or 30mm Plossl will give 2.3 degree view, not quite enough for all M31.

 

Forget filters and such like for some time. After some 20+ years I have yet to buy or use a filter. So they are not exactly essential.

 

I have a 102/600 Bresser. Solid scope, bought for one use/reason. Colorful on anything semi bright, and that includes Saturn when I looked. So 102 and f/6 I suggest is a poor choice. The f number implies a fair bit about a scope. In a way shame it isn't f/8 might have been a much better all round scope.


Edited by sg6, 26 January 2021 - 05:18 AM.


#32 Jim1804

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 10:23 PM

I would consider an alternative path - as people note above, there is no perfect telescope - so my solution for small, portable scopes has been to get two that do different things.

 

1 - ST80 (I have the Meade AdventureScope version, which I'm not sure is still being made - but it's identical to the original Orion version, which I think is the same as the newly resurrected Orion version). You can get the Orion OTA for around $120, about $180 outfitted with a diagonal, tube rings and a couple of Plossl eyepieces. This is my ultra-portable wide field scope for scanning the milky way - FOV of more than 4 degrees with a 32mm eyepiece. I got the Meade for $99 a couple of years ago - so there might be cheaper options out there - just make sure you're getting a model with a metal focuser. 

 

2 - C90 Mak or similar. In normal times, you can get a package with the scope, a correct-image prism diagonal (not great for astronomy, but nice if you want to use it as a daytime spotter as well), plus 32mm and 12.5mm Plossls, for around $160. It also comes with a completely worthless tripod, but you won't need it. This is my ultra-portable long focal length (f14) scope for planets and the moon. They all look great - you can get to 150-200x without trying too hard, which is great on planets. It looks like this is currently going for significantly more and/or out of stock - but Covid has really messed with the astro market. But look for deals or used models on the classifieds. 

 

3 - Solid mount for small scopes. I use a Twilight 1, which pre-Covid was about $199. But you can find these (or similar) used for much less. The slo-mo controls are nice, and both small scopes are rock solid on this mount. The C90 fits on nicely with its attached dovetail; the tube rings on the ST80 give a nice solid connection. 

 

So a combination like this (pre-Covid) would set you back between $400-$500 - but it's really flexible, and wouldn't have to be purchased all at once. Throw in a Rigel Quickfinder (the Telrad is pretty big for these scopes), maybe a barlow or a zoom eyepiece, and you're set - easy to carry and store, great for travel, and you choose which scope to take out based on what you want to look at. Just an alternative path to consider - especially if you're willing to buy used, or wait on some of it until the pricing calms down a bit. 



#33 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 11:20 PM

I would consider an alternative path - as people note above, there is no perfect telescope - so my solution for small, portable scopes has been to get two that do different things.

 

1 - ST80 (I have the Meade AdventureScope version, which I'm not sure is still being made - but it's identical to the original Orion version, which I think is the same as the newly resurrected Orion version). You can get the Orion OTA for around $120, about $180 outfitted with a diagonal, tube rings and a couple of Plossl eyepieces. This is my ultra-portable wide field scope for scanning the milky way - FOV of more than 4 degrees with a 32mm eyepiece. I got the Meade for $99 a couple of years ago - so there might be cheaper options out there - just make sure you're getting a model with a metal focuser. 

 

2 - C90 Mak or similar. In normal times, you can get a package with the scope, a correct-image prism diagonal (not great for astronomy, but nice if you want to use it as a daytime spotter as well), plus 32mm and 12.5mm Plossls, for around $160. It also comes with a completely worthless tripod, but you won't need it. This is my ultra-portable long focal length (f14) scope for planets and the moon. They all look great - you can get to 150-200x without trying too hard, which is great on planets. It looks like this is currently going for significantly more and/or out of stock - but Covid has really messed with the astro market. But look for deals or used models on the classifieds. 

 

3 - Solid mount for small scopes. I use a Twilight 1, which pre-Covid was about $199. But you can find these (or similar) used for much less. The slo-mo controls are nice, and both small scopes are rock solid on this mount. The C90 fits on nicely with its attached dovetail; the tube rings on the ST80 give a nice solid connection. 

 

So a combination like this (pre-Covid) would set you back between $400-$500 - but it's really flexible, and wouldn't have to be purchased all at once. Throw in a Rigel Quickfinder (the Telrad is pretty big for these scopes), maybe a barlow or a zoom eyepiece, and you're set - easy to carry and store, great for travel, and you choose which scope to take out based on what you want to look at. Just an alternative path to consider - especially if you're willing to buy used, or wait on some of it until the pricing calms down a bit. 

I wound up choosing the Celestron 102 AZ with StarSense. It’s amazing how much COVID has impacted both the cost and availability of scopes and accessories. I’m viewing this as a first real scope and something I’ll likely upgrade from. Hence, I’d like to buy solid eye pieces and other accessories slowly over time so when I inevitably upgrade it will be only the scope and mount.



#34 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 11:31 PM

Understanding Telescope Eyepieces- There are recommendations, based on budget,
but the meat of the article is about understanding the considerations and specifications
to know when selecting eyepieces.
https://telescopicwa...cope-eyepieces/


I have 3 zooms along with many other eyepieces. The zooms get most of the eyepiece time.

As far as filters, their use is very specific. OIII are for certain nebula.

NPB / UHC are useful on other nebula.

They are not for planets, the Moon, or other DSOs.

If you are buying filters you need to understand how you will use it.

Understanding Filters
https://telescopicwa...escope-filters/


Turn Left at Orion – One of the best first books for someone getting
involved. It will help you understand the terms and the types. The
biggest benefit is that it is NOT full of pretty color photos that don't
look anything like what you will see in the eyepiece. It has realistic
sketches that show you what you will see.
http://www.amazon.co...n left at orion

I read the reviews, they were helpful. It looks like a zoom eye piece is probably the best bet for me.

 

Also, Turn Left at Orion is great. I bought that and Harrington’s Touring the Universe through Binoculars and have found both to be helpful. I can’t wait to get back out as soon as we have some clear skies here.


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#35 Jim1804

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 11:53 PM

I wound up choosing the Celestron 102 AZ with StarSense. It’s amazing how much COVID has impacted both the cost and availability of scopes and accessories. I’m viewing this as a first real scope and something I’ll likely upgrade from. Hence, I’d like to buy solid eye pieces and other accessories slowly over time so when I inevitably upgrade it will be only the scope and mount.


No kidding! Supply and demand at its best!

And congrats on the new scope! Clear skies!

#36 AngryGinger81

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 03:36 PM

I wound up choosing the Celestron 102 AZ with StarSense. It’s amazing how much COVID has impacted both the cost and availability of scopes and accessories. I’m viewing this as a first real scope and something I’ll likely upgrade from. Hence, I’d like to buy solid eye pieces and other accessories slowly over time so when I inevitably upgrade it will be only the scope and mount.

I hear you. I'm was looking for my first scope about a month ago. I was set on an 8" Dob but everything was backordered. I've found a couple in classifieds but shipping is tricky, especially if someone doesn't have the original boxes. I'm still hoping an 8 or 10 inch will pop up locally. In the meantime, I found a DX130 starsense on craigslist, barely used, and got a decent deal. I think you'll like the starsense app. The accuracy depends a little on how well you align it when you set it up, so pick a distant object during the day when you do it. It's better than I thought it would be for cell phone guidance. It's helping me learn the night sky too, as I'm seeing where objects are in relation to each other. It's also fun to play "What's that?" by just picking random things and pointing your scope at it. The catalog isn't the most complete, but it covers the major hits. I'm hoping Celestron will update it periodically. 

 

Good luck and Clear skies!


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#37 topomountain

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 11:00 PM

welcome to the sky view dilema... its a constant with me for years, searching for a great view that is portable, easy and cheap, pick any two of the three!

 

I started with some old 114 and 76 goodwill reflectors on basic eq mounts, tried binos, some cheap refractors, and finaly got a c90 small cassagrain on a camera alt az mount... they can be had cheap, are real telescopes that can produce good views.  the main problem is this is not easy to aim at anything, including the moon! mine has a 8x24 zoom, all fits in a little case i leave in my work van.

 

now that i have an 8 and 12 dob and a c8 fork mounted, im still looking for the perfect scope that does as much as the c90, though its not usefull for dso, its still a great scope to get used to seeing moon detail, saturn rings, jupiter bands and moons and can be had used within your budget. ive never been into dso, maybe because i have only had small scopes, my covid relief checks both went mostly to my new bigger scopes, and now i can see why dso is pretty cool, never saw much of it with the little scopes, even hauling then to the top of blue ridge mountains on the darkest sites.

 

if you get into viewing the sky, you will end up with more than one scope anyway, i would say get something that you can keep a while, and not waste time and money. I think lunar and planetary is very easy to get into with a small mak or cass, esp with a small mount.  everyone just keeps wanting more of the elusive experience of seeing something in the sky that wows us like a child, and it can happen.  the first time i saw good views through almost every scope i have had, this has happened... it just happens more with better views.

 

i read and heard years ago to use your money, however much it is on trying to get stuff you can add to and not just replace, i wish i had listened all those years ago



#38 PPPPPP42

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 11:18 PM

I also prefer the approach of spending whatever is required to get equipment that does what I want it to.

That's about the only way I can justify having a $1000 eyepiece.  That still sounds nuts to me every time I say it.

 

Some people just can't save up hardly anything each month so that doesn't really work for them.

In that case I tell people to buy stuff that they can very easily flip for better gear later on. Normally that means used stuff in good shape.

 

I stared with a Celestron 6SE.  Used they are around $500ish (I paid $450) and its a very capable beginner scope that will last you years and is so light I once carried mine fully assembled with all accessories and the tripod extended down the to end of the block and up a dirt hill to get a better view from the top.  They are also super easy to sell and if you bought used you usually get your money back.

 

I see you picked a scope so hopefully it will do everything you want it to.



#39 castorpolu11

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 05:20 PM

I've owned both StarSense Explorer (SSE) refractors. The 102 you chose is the one to get between them. I returned the 102 and took the 80 apart to repurpose the SSE adapter for my dob. The SSE adapter and app work wonderfully and I recommend them for a plate solving based push-to solution. I hope the 102 is a great fit for you but you may be happier looking elsewhere soon if you're planning to use the telescope/mount. I heard that vibration pads will help the mount but I did not find that they did quite enough. The deal breaker for me was that you are not able to mount the SSE scopes on anything other than their proprietary mounts. 

 

I don't have first hand knowledge of the other scopes you listed but you may wish to check out the AT80ed which is currently in stock. It's in your price range and may have some advantages over the other scopes you listed. There's no shortage of info about them on CN.

 

Mine arrived yesterdaywaytogo.gif

 

https://www.astronom...a.html?___SID=U


Edited by castorpolu11, 28 January 2021 - 05:27 PM.


#40 Hesiod

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 05:46 PM

So you ended with a 102/660 telescope.

With the exception of the very pricey Nagler 3-6 (which I advise against, at this stage and with that telescope) most other zooms are 8-24 or 7-21.

That means basically that would end with a bunch of useless focals unless add a Barlow lens; but adding a Barlow lens is not the brightest plan because would end with a large and heavy assembly right in the focuser and may discover you can not balance the telescope anymore (which is very bad if are trying to observe at high power).

Again, the Baader 8-24 with its dedicated Barlow would be the lesser evil but in my opinion is needlessly expensive

 

Since in your early posts told was interested in planetary observations, which requires high magnification, smooth tracking and to observe for a substantial amount of time I would suggest to get an eyepiece around 5mm with good eye relief (=good comfort) and the widest apparent field of view you could afford (=you have to touch less the mount, and this is very helpful when trying to discern fine details)

The telescope should come with a couple of eyepieces (likely 20 and 10 or 25 and 10mm) so I would make a bit of experience with these before making further purchases.

Personally would postpone the purchase of nebular filters (UHC first, then OIII) after have assembled a set of eyepieces which suits my needs and satisfy me enough



#41 csrlice12

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 10:19 PM

You could do a lot worse, but not much better for under $500 with the Celestron 102XLT f9.8 on the CG4 mount....the CG4 is a true EQ mount, not a toy and at f10, the scope is no slouch....the 6X30 finder scope is a pos however.


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#42 Tony Flanders

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 04:42 AM

So you ended with a 102/660 telescope.
With the exception of the very pricey Nagler 3-6 (which I advise against, at this stage and with that telescope) most other zooms are 8-24 or 7-21.
That means basically that would end with a bunch of useless focals unless add a Barlow lens; but adding a Barlow lens is not the brightest plan because would end with a large and heavy assembly ...


I don't agree. First of all, an 8-24 or 7-21 zoom yields near-optimal magnifications for deep-sky observing in that scope. And most of these zooms are quite light -- lighter and smaller than typical eyepieces with 68-degree apparent fields of view.

Second, a 102-mm f/6 can easily handle on one the zooms mentioned above together with a 2X shorty Barlow, and this delivers a near-ideal range of magnifications for planetary observing.


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#43 Hesiod

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 11:17 AM

The Hyperion zoom is around 300g by itself, the Starsense mount is not exactly stiff and the telescope is provided with an abnormally short dovetail bar.

Being that the first telescope and being the OP interested in planetary observations in my opinion the best course of action is setting it up to enable the "easiest" way to attain the best performances.

A compact EP in the 60° with plenty of eye relief would attain that much better than "towers" of Barlow and zoom.

The Baader zoom with its screw-in lens would be the lesser evil, but costs more than the whole telescope so, at that point, there could have been more effective options for the purpose of observing planets and a few bright DSOs.

A few years ago I tried one of these rebranded 7-21 and was not excited at all; with a long focal SCT or slower achro could have been a low-cost option, but in this case, without a Barlow, the eyepiece is very limited to observe planets (90x require a lot of effort and care to see details).

 

As for deep sky, yes, one of these zoom at f/6 could cover a lot of interesting pupils, but the Baader zoom is narrower than a Plossl at 24mm (think it reach 50° from 20mm, and 60° from 16mm) so there are more effective options even for that with a 300$ budget



#44 aeajr

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 02:54 PM

The Hyperion zoom is around 300g by itself, the Starsense mount is not exactly stiff and the telescope is provided with an abnormally short dovetail bar.

Being that the first telescope and being the OP interested in planetary observations in my opinion the best course of action is setting it up to enable the "easiest" way to attain the best performances.

A compact EP in the 60° with plenty of eye relief would attain that much better than "towers" of Barlow and zoom.

The Baader zoom with its screw-in lens would be the lesser evil, but costs more than the whole telescope so, at that point, there could have been more effective options for the purpose of observing planets and a few bright DSOs.

A few years ago I tried one of these rebranded 7-21 and was not excited at all; with a long focal SCT or slower achro could have been a low-cost option, but in this case, without a Barlow, the eyepiece is very limited to observe planets (90x require a lot of effort and care to see details).

 

As for deep sky, yes, one of these zoom at f/6 could cover a lot of interesting pupils, but the Baader zoom is narrower than a Plossl at 24mm (think it reach 50° from 20mm, and 60° from 16mm) so there are more effective options even for that with a 300$ budget

Weight and magnification range.   I have to run the numbers to really understand the challenge or issue.

 

He wants to view planets and Messier objects.  In other words, a bit of everything.  One of the reasons I recommended this scope was that it can be used for pretty much anything, though it may not be optimized to any one use.

 

I like recommending a more general purpose scope as a first scope.  It lets the new person explore with wide field of view as well as reasonably high magnification.   

 

 

So, what would be a reasonable eyepiece set to get started on a moderate budget.

 

32 mm Plossl to max out the field of view as a finder and as a wide DSO eyepiece.

25 mm - Included eyepiece.  Doesn't say what it is so we can speculate that it is a Kellner

8-24 zoom - I will use Celestron which would be a reasonably priced zoom for someone buying this scope.

1.5X/2X Barlow.   1.5X screw on element - 2X used in the typical fashion

Or 

A 2.5X Barlow to take the scope higher, but not too high.

 

 

32 mm -                        20.6X                about 2.4 degree FOV

25 mm -                        26.4X                about 1.5 degree FOV

32 in 2X Barlow -           41X                   about 1.2 degree FOV

8-24 zoom                    27.5X - 82.5X  - about 1.4 degree to  .7 degree FOV

Zoom+1.5X element     41.2X - 123X    - about   .9 degree to  .48 degree FOV 

Zoom in 2X Barlow       55X    - 165X    - about   .7 degree to  .35 degree FOV

Zoom in 2.5X Barlow    68.7    - 206X      about   .6 Degree to .3   degree FOV

 

The numbers are based on Celestron's published specs of 40 to 60 degree AFOV.

FOV calculation -  AFOV/Mag - not exact but close enough for illustration purposes

Barlow is either the GSO 1.5X/2X shorty Barlow or the GSO 2.5X Barlow 

 

So the Plossl, zoom, 2X Barlow combination yields useable mags from 20X to 165X with the purchase of two eyepieces and a 2X Barlow.  Total of about $140 to $200 depending on the current crazy prices.

 

My expectation is that the included 25 mm will tend to be deemphasized over time favoring the 32/2X combo or go straight to the zoom with a  similar field of view.  

 

The real variable is how you set up the zoom at the start of the night's observing session. 

  • low power DSOs you use it alone
  • general targets you put on the 1.5X element and leave it on for the night.
  • higher power targets, you put it in the 2X Barlow.

If you are going to be working planets and the Moon then you drop it into the 2X shorty Barlow and keep it there all night.

 

At 165X, using a 2X Barlow, you are at an effective 4mm eyepiece FL for about a .6 mm exit pupil which is about as low as many people recommend, but is well within the mag range of this scope. 

 

A 2.5X Barlow might be preferred over a 1.5X/2X Barlow if the primary focus was on planets and the Moon as it takes the scope to a higher top mag without going crazy.  The exit pupil, based on 3.2 mm effective eyepiece FL is still about a .5 mm, which is workable.   I know below .5 mm exit pupil my eye floaters become a problem.   

 

Let's look at weight.

 

32 mm Plossl -        About 4 oz

GSO Shorty 2X -     About 3.3 oz

GSO Shorty 2.5X -  About 3.5 oz

Celestron zoom -     About 8 oz.

 

So the heaviest combination of zoom and 2X Barlow would be about 11.3 oz.  

 

An AT Paradigm 3.2 mm is about 7.2 oz or close to the weight of the zoom. 

An AT Paradigm 15 mm is about 6.4 oz, about 1.6 lighter than the zoom.

 

So the Zoom/Barlow combination is about 4 oz heavier than a Single FL 60 degree 3.2 mm eyepiece.   I don't think that is enough to create a serious balance or stability issue. 

 

It always comes down to goals and budgets.   For someone buying a first scope in this price range, I think the 32 Plossl/Zoom/Barlow is a good fit to start.  I feel the weight and the field of view is quite workable. 

 

But, naturally, your smileage will vary.


Edited by aeajr, 29 January 2021 - 03:41 PM.

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#45 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 07:23 PM

I’ve winnowed down the accessories to the following:

Celestron X-CEL LX 2X 3-Element Barlow

https://www.astronom...s.html?___SID=U

Or

Celestron 2X Omni Barlow
https://www.astronom...s.html?___SID=U

and for Eye Pieces:

Celestron 8-24MM Zoom, 1.25"
https://www.astronom...5.html?___SID=U

Or
Meade 8-24MM Long Eye Relief Zoom

https://www.astronom...m.html?___SID=U
 

And for a longer focal length eye piece a 32 or 40mm

Astro-Tech Value Line Plossl

https://www.astronom...l.html?___SID=U

Celestron Omni Plossl

https://www.astronom...-25-plossl.html
 

Meade Series 4000 Super Plossl 

https://www.astronom...per-plossl.html
 

Is the X-Cel Barlow worth the premium over the Omni?

Is one of the zooms better than the other, same with the Plossls?

Should I be leery of Meade?


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#46 aeajr

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 11:30 PM

I’ve winnowed down the accessories to the following:

sip...

 

 

Is the X-Cel Barlow worth the premium over the Omni?

Is one of the zooms better than the other, same with the Plossls?

Should I be leery of Meade?

Can't answer about the X-Cel vs. the Omni as I don't have any Celestron Barlows.

 

The Celestron and Meade are the same zoom under a different label with slightly different markings.  Identical specs.

 

Celestron, Meade, GSO, Orion Plossls are all equivalent.  They are all good.

 

Leery of Meade for eyepieces?  I don't think so. 



#47 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 12:41 AM

And for a longer focal length eye piece a 32 or 40mm

I would choose a 32mm Plössl, which will produce the same true field of view as a 40mm but with a larger (i.e., less tunnel-like) apparent field of view and at higher magnification.



#48 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 12:49 AM

Can't answer about the X-Cel vs. the Omni as I don't have any Celestron Barlows.

 

The Celestron and Meade are the same zoom under a different label with slightly different markings.  Identical specs.

 

Celestron, Meade, GSO, Orion Plossls are all equivalent.  They are all good.

 

Leery of Meade for eyepieces?  I don't think so. 

I thought they were undergoing a chapter 11 reorganization and I wondered if their warranties would potentially be voided.



#49 Ulmer Spatz

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 07:41 AM

I thought they were undergoing a chapter 11 reorganization and I wondered if their warranties would potentially be voided.

I know I'm exaggerating a bit, but undergoing reorganization is sort of what Meade does. Many years ago, I couldn't keep up with Meade's changing fortunes any longer and just concluded that there will always be a Meade. So far, so good.


Edited by Ulmer Spatz, 02 February 2021 - 08:24 AM.


#50 rhetfield

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 11:35 AM

I’ve winnowed down the accessories to the following:

Celestron X-CEL LX 2X 3-Element Barlow

https://www.astronom...s.html?___SID=U

Or

Celestron 2X Omni Barlow
https://www.astronom...s.html?___SID=U

and for Eye Pieces:

Celestron 8-24MM Zoom, 1.25"
https://www.astronom...5.html?___SID=U

Or
Meade 8-24MM Long Eye Relief Zoom

https://www.astronom...m.html?___SID=U
 

And for a longer focal length eye piece a 32 or 40mm

Astro-Tech Value Line Plossl

https://www.astronom...l.html?___SID=U

Celestron Omni Plossl

https://www.astronom...-25-plossl.html
 

Meade Series 4000 Super Plossl 

https://www.astronom...per-plossl.html
 

Is the X-Cel Barlow worth the premium over the Omni?

Is one of the zooms better than the other, same with the Plossls?

Should I be leery of Meade?

I have both the x-cel and what appears to be an omni (came as part of a cheap Fry's electronics kit).  The omni clone is lighter and smaller.  The element can come out and be used as a 1.5x.

 

Overall, the x-cel seems like the better barlow, but it does not do the removeable lens assembly thing and is quite a bit heavier.  I did take apart the omni clone to blacken the sides of the lens.  That has probably helped performance a bit on that barlow.

 

Just starting out, I would probably save money and weight by getting the omni.  My main use for the x-cel is to barlow my 5mm x-cel eyepiece.  That combination weighs 12 oz and I worry that it might actually come out of the focuser if I am not careful.




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