I am pretty new to the hobby and have a meade lx90 8''.
I have been trying to optimize my planetary views, and last night I finally got them the way I wanted them.
Jupiter had multiple complex bands with "feathering" during good seeing and looked like a planet rather than a disk. Saturn showed the Cassini division at all times, a darker top, lighter middle bands, and shadows on the ring. Honestly, it was awesome and I couldn't tear myself away.
While I'm sure it will be elementary for some, in case others are on the same path, here are the upgrades I think were the most important to improving my views (with cost in parens). Really the first four were most critical, the others had minimal impact.
(1) Binoviewer.(Orion $125 used) Last night was the first time I used one, and the difference was dramatic. The planets looked bigger, with more contrast, and more 3d depth with the binoviewer. I used two Svbony 15mm SWAs, and I think my binoviewer must have a integrated barlow given the magnificagtion I saw. The moon was also knock-your-socks-off amazing through the binoviewer.
(2) Feathertouch focuser ($215 used). Planets require very fine focus, and my Meade Lx90 stock focuser just did not cut it.
(3) Learning to properly collimate an SCT (free!). My manual for some reason recommended to use a low magnification eyepiece for collimation. You need the highest power one, steady skies, and to be very slightly out of focus.
(4) Waiting until the planets were high(ish) in the sky. (compromises sleep, so very costly).
. . . . there is a very big drop off from #4 to #5 below.
(5) Wide angle eyepieces instead of Plossls, these allow to watch the planets with tracking without them drifting to the edge of a view and with good eye relief. ($25 each for redlines).
(6) Blue 80A filter (~$15). Somewhat helpful, but usually requires me to look for a while before seeing the additional detail.
(7) Neutral density filter to dim down the planets. (~$15). Same as above.
(8) Observing the planets near opposition. (free!)
(9) Peterson EZ focus upgrade kit ($35), an improvement to the focuser, but I needed a bigger improvement.
(10) Scope stuff fine focus knob (~$20), not a big enough focuser upgrade to improve planetary views.
Stuff that simply did not work:
(1) All other color filters.
Do others have other upgrades or recommendations for planet viewing?
Edited by Rbuckyfuller, 14 September 2021 - 01:44 PM.