Edit: I realize now this probably would have been better suited in the Beginner's forum, so I apologize!
A couple of months ago I was able to pick up an Edmund Astroscan 2001 with 3 eyepieces (RKE 8mm, 15mm, and 28mm). Everything is in immaculate condition, I paid $50. I know I am incredibly lucky and fortunate to have been given this telescope with the eyepieces for such an amazing price, I'm truly grateful. This scope is perfect for me while I learn the sky and gain some experience. I do have a couple of questions for whomever feels like they want to provide some advice! Also, excuse any ignorance you may see on my part, I'm still learning!
Some specs and information to start out.
Focal ratio: 4.25", f/4.2
Focal length: 432mm
- I'm living in the South so the skies can be fairly light polluted, even in the rural areas (~1 hour from Nashville). I am moving to northern Montana (Kalispell) in the next couple of months, so my situation here is not permanent.
- I know I can look for astronomy clubs but we are moving soon, causing me to rethink the situation. I also feel like a fraud going in and just looking through eyepieces without getting to know the people!
I understand most deep sky objects are likely out of my grasp at the moment, but I am really enjoying the moon, Orion Nebula, and star clusters like Pleiades. More recently, Saturn and Jupiter have been coming into my view from the early morning sky. I am able to see Jupiter and its moons as well as Saturn and its rings. However, the image is longing for more. I can barely see Saturn's rings, as the resolution is not great and produces a blurry image. I had to use my 8mm eyepiece to see the rings at all, bringing me to a magnification of x54. I am lacking in magnification and resolution for planetary viewing, the double dose of being almost there! So I have a couple of pertinent questions as well as a general question that I will ask below.
1. I am looking for a planetary eyepiece (I know, how original!) with quality specs for around $100-150. I'm thinking my best bet would be in the Tele Vue Plossl line. Does anybody concur or have thoughts of other options? I'm not necessarily looking for a zoom lens, unless somebody can put up a good argument.
2. Since my magnification is low, I should look at getting a Barlow lens as well. I would like to future-proof this as much as I can, so I'm willing to settle for around $200, with wiggle room on each side. I'm thinking the Tele Vue Powermates (I don't think this is a true Barlow but people seem to like them), either the 2.5x or 5x, depending on recommended eyepieces above.
3. I'm more curious about the planetary eyepiece but figured I would ask a general question regarding the rest of the sky. If I were to add another low-power eyepiece to my collection, what would you guys recommend? My RKE eyepieces work great for what I'm doing now, I just want to keep my eyes open for anything that pops up. I'm open to a variety of suggestions regarding brand and type of eyepiece. Again my RKE eyepieces are good, so I would want to look for something that is really good or great if I decide to buy. My budget for this would be around $200 (obviously less if possible) but again with some wiggle room. Field of view is important but it's definitely not a deal breaker. If, in the much distant future, I decide to focus on FOV I would go all out on a Nagler or Ethos on a different scope. I'm also not accustomed to eye-relief because of lack of experience, so again this is not much of a deal breaker for me. I would be looking at an eyepiece that can provide a clear image to get the most out of my amazing beginner scope.
Thank you so much to anybody that reads this or wants to comment to help me out!
Edited by Ryanocalypse, 09 April 2021 - 03:03 PM.