One of the eventual goals is to get rid of the Super MA's that came with the scope. The 10mm does poorly around the edges and the 25mm is only OK and does not have much FOV.
While a 32mm Plossl is certainly a way to go, I live under a lot of light pollution and think I might do better with a shorter, wider EP for contrast. The x-cel or paradigm 25mm/60 deg EP's would get close to the theoretical maximum FOV for the scope (the 32mm plossl might actually vignette a little). I might even be tempted to try a WO 20 Swan (72 deg) if I become convinced it would perform well in an F5. Not sure I want to spend on anything more costly than those though. At some point, now that in person star parties are starting up again, I do want to see if anybody has any wide eyepieces I can look through - I have not looked through anything wider than 60 deg.
I have not yet decided what way I might replace the 10mm with. Going with more x-cels like the 7mm and 9mm would allow me to get rid of the parfocal rings on everything. However, it might make sense to get the zoom instead.
All of this still leaves me with the question of what to do about planetary. The xcel 5mm (reportedly a 4.5mm) has been my main planetary eyepiece and performs well. However, in my small scope, it is at the lower end of what I know I can do. Getting down to a 3mm is probably approaching the upper limit of what both the scope and sky in my area can support for planetary. I have had some OK views at that level and even a few rare good views. However, I do know that the barlow I am using to get there does not perform as well as the x-cel 2X does. That is hurting the view some.
The 3x barlow with the zoom would be an option, but it would be even more heavy and cumbersome than what I am using now for the little scope. Getting a good 3mm would also be an option, but I suspect that one that will work in an F5 for a reasonable price would be hard (any thoughts on the paradigm 3mm in an F5?). In the end, the question would be which path would give the best view of planetary detail.
I don't have your scope, but I do have an Orion SkyScanner 100, a tabletop Dob, that I use primarily as a loaner. The loaner eyepiece set is a 25 mm Plossl, an SVBony 7-21 Zoom and a 2X Barlow. Pretty much covers the range for that scope for people who borrow the scope. Later, as they gain some experience, I give them a 3X Barlow to use with the zoom. If I go shorter than 25 mm on that F4 scope I start to get a shadow of the secondary mirror, so no 32 mm on that one.
The 32 Plossl I suggested for you would be to have an eyepiece that maxes out your field of view. That 32 takes you about as wide as that scope can go for about $35. Will take you to about 21X and 2.3 degree FOV. Large enough to see the Pleiades, but not wide enough to take in all of the Andromeda Galaxy or the North America Nebula.
Fixed FL vs. Zoom. For me it is not either/or but which to get first. I have 3 zooms and a full set of 82 degree. I use them all.
Planetary - I don't think in terms of planetary vs. DSO. I look at a range of mags and then use them to best effect on whatever I am viewing.
Here is an example of my eyepiece set for my AT102ED, probably the scope that is closest to yours in aperture and focal length. I built this set up over 4 years. This scope takes 2" eyepieces, but if it only took 1.25" then a 32 mm Plossl would be the first eyepiece on the chart, for 2.2 degree FOV.
The bolded ones are the most used in this scope. I use the same eyepieces set in all of my scopes except I tend to use the Celestron zoom in my 1.25" focuser scopes just because it seems to feel better in the smaller scopes.
Astro Tech AT102ED Refractor 102 mm/714mm F7
Resolving power - 1.1 arc seconds
AA SWA 38 mm/70 19X and 3.7 degrees FOV EP 5.4 mm 2”
Meade 20 mm/82 36X and 2.2 degrees EP 2.8 2”
ES 14 mm/82 51X and 1.6 degrees
ES 11 mm/82 65x and 1.2 degrees
ES 8.8 mm/82 81X and 1.0 degrees
ES 6.7 mm/82 106X and .7 degrees
Meade 5.5 mm/82 129X and .6 degrees
ES 4.7 mm/82 152X and .5 degrees
ES 8.8+2XB 162X and .5 degrees
ES 6.7+2XB 212X and .4 degrees
Baader Hyperion 8-24 zoom 30X to 90X
Baader Hyperion 8-24+1.5XB 45C to 135X
Badder Hyperion 8-24+2XB 60X to 180X
Baader Hyperion 8-24+2.5XB 75X to 225X
My typical observing session starts with the 38 or 20 mm as finders and to see large expanse of the sky. Then I go to the Baader Hyperion Zoom. If I am working on planets, globular clusters or splitting doubles, I will likely drop the zoom into the 2X right away as I will be working at higher mags. Or I might go to the 6.7, 5.5 and 4.7.
If I was observing the Moon, where I am likely to be able to push higher, I will drop the zoom into the 2.5X Barlow. I have a 3X but almost never use it.
While I can clearly take the scope higher, I rarely go over 152X on planets as I find the atmosphere will start to degrade the image. I will test higher, but usually drop back. Testing higher is very easy to do with the zoom. A little more effort with the single FL eyepieces, but the single FL do give me a wider FOV for more drift time.
Edited by aeajr, Yesterday, 03:44 PM.