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    Question Advice Wanted!



    Hello All!

    I'm new to amateur astronomy. I've been researching and reading reviews attempting to gather enough information to build a quality package for myself that will keep me enthused for years with my first piece. Basically, I wanna make my first love memorable and not a disappointment. That being said, I really like the Celestron Omni XLT Reflector. Price, quality,portability, and viewing interest seem to be a good fit. Recommendations here? However, I'm more concerned with what eyepieces and filters I should equip. Primarily, which brand has the best quality and are they all universally fit to any focuser? Also, I'm concerned with buying a cheap set of 1.25" lenses. Should I skip the 1.25" and jump right to 1.25"-2" adapter and buy quality 2" eyepieces? If so, will any adapter work or are they specific to the focuser?


    Any advice is much appreciated!

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    Default Advice Wanted!

    If your scope supports them, 2" eyepieces allow for wider fields of view than a 1.25" barrel permits - at high magnifications, 1.25" eyepieces are fine, since you're only looking at the central bit of the image formed by the scope.

    As the magnification goes down (longer focal length eyepieces) or apparent field of view goes up, you see more of the image formed by the scope - and eventually, you get to a point where the barrel size is a limiting factor, and you need to go to the larger 2" barrel to fit it all in.

    So while you can use 1.25" eyepieces in a 2" focuser - and the 2" focusers usually come with an adapter for this - you can't really use 2" eyepieces with a 1.25" focuser - even if you could get an adapter, the smaller size of the 1.25" focuser would block off the view of the edges of the 2" field.

    Most people with scopes that support 2" eyepieces prefer them for low power use.

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    Default

    Yes, you can usually any brand of eyepiece of the right size in any scope - current standard sizes are 1.25" and 2" barrels, though some older/smaller scopes may still use 0.965" barrels, which are harder to find good eyepieces for these days.

    Best quality eyepieces are probably Televue - especially as far as ultrawide designs go - with prices to match - but there are several other high quality brands around. It's a bit like high end audio gear - you can pay premium prices to get the last bit of performance, or pay quite a bit less for something with most of the performance, or go for something cheaper which works but has limitations.

    In eyepieces, the basic plossl eyepieces are a nice improvement over earlier designs, and are quite usable - but premium designs can have wider fields of view, better eye relief at short focal lengths, and maybe better quality views - though the quality differences may be subtle. The field of view difference can be huge - especially with ultrawide designs - and the eye relief difference can be big too.

    Basic coloured filters are usually of little use, apart from a moon filter to cut the brightness down a bit - most people tend not to bother with coloured filters.

    Narrowband filters are expensive and have specialised uses - they can help spot some types of nebulae by making them stand out more - but all filters give you a dimmer view; what they can do is boost contrast by dimming unwanted colours more...

    Light pollution filters are useful for imaging, but are no substitute for dark skies.

    The eyepiece kits you see advertised can be worth considering - they're usually basic plossl eyepieces, and if you have the budget you'll probably end up replacing them with premium designs - but they're a relatively cheap learning resource - you can see how bright/big various objects come out in your scope with different focal lengths, so when you go shopping for premium eyepieces you'll have a better idea what to go for...

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Televue and Explore Scientific are widely considered the best. All eyepieces and filters are universal, most telescope and finderscope dovetail mounts are too.

    The advantage of a 2" eyepiece is that the wider barrel allows a greater AFOV, but that would undone by a converter. AFOV is only really important for low magnification wide-field viewing anyway. When you're looking at something specific, using medium or high magnification, you would be better off with a 1.25" as they are much cheaper yet bear the same optical quality.

    Personally at that price point I'd buy a Zhummel Z10 instead. The focus assembly is better, the finder is better, the mount is easier, the aperature is larger, plus it comes with an additional 2" eyepiece and a laser collimator.

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    I have a Celestron SCT scope, but I use Orion Highlight EPs. I have been very happy with this set-up.
    OTAs - Celestron C8 SCT, Clestron C6 SCT, Celestron 102mm MCT, Orion ST-80a, Explore Scientific AR127
    Mount - Celestron CG-5GT, Celestron CG-2
    Eyepieces - Orion Highlight 7mm, 10mm, 17mm, 25mm & 32mm, Orion Expanse 9mm & 20mm, Celestron 8-24mm Zoom, Agena SWA 26mm, 32mm and 38mm
    Cameras - Canon T5 DSLR, ZWO ASI120MC, Mallincam JR Pro
    Member - Astronomy Club of Asheville

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Hello Coprolite Whisperer,
    and hope you find you way back here often. Regarding your scope choice I assume you have decided to have an EQ mounted scope. The Celestron brand is largely made in China by Synta ( in case you were unaware of that ) and are similar to Orion brand products and Skywatcher. Since the scope you have indicated you are interested in has a focal ratio (F-stop) which is 5 it is regarded as a fairly fast scope which would require fairly good grade eyepieces to provide the best results. As others have indicated you will find the 2" eyepieces more useful over about 15mm in focal length and under 15mm the 1.25" eyepieces will work just fine. The Celestron website lists the highest magnification level is 354x and the lowest is 21x which by my calculation means eyepieces in between a range of 2mm and 35mm should be in the useful range of this scope. I personally doubt anyone would enjoy using a 2mm eyepiece if you could find one so you would likely use a 2x Barlow to get to that level of magnification should you ever encounter conditions that would warrant that level of magnification which would likely be rare. I would say you should be reasonably well covered with about an 8mm, 12mm in 1.25 inch an likely something between 15-20mm, and 30mm in 2" eyepieces and a 2" Barlow. You will need a collimation tool as well - in my opinion a laser would be easiest to use as well. A moon filter/polarizer would be recommended if you plan to view the moon as well but I am not sure I would jump into any other filters until you got to the point you decided you had to have one. I would personally look for one or more of the following, a Telrad or Rigel or a Deluxe Red Dot finder - a Right Angle finder ideally illuminated, or a green laser and mount to use in aiming the scope as opposed to using the 6x30 finder.

    As far as brand of eyepieces I will refrain from saying much in regard to one maker over another however I would say pay attention to field of view, and eye relief on given eyepieces. Generally the most popular type - Plossl designs are limited to about a 52 degree field of view, Konigs are generally slightly winder up near 60 to 65 degrees and Pantropics are generally up to about 82 degrees as I recall. The winder the field of view the easier it is to spot things and the more natural the feel you get when viewing things. Of course wider fields come at higher prices as well. Eye relief generally get shorter at the higher power (shorter focal length ) eyepieces which is why I said most find many eyepieces under about 8mm hard to use.

    If you are not interested in tracking an object with the scope you would get more light gathering aperture for your dollar out of a Dobsonian type scope as others have mentioned. If you decide to look in that direction I would suggest the Apertura ( which is really Zhumell made also I believe ) of course portability tends to go down as the aperture goes up as bigger mirrors tend to weigh more.

    If you have more questions I am sure there will be someone around who has more knowledge than I would about different products and designs. Good luck with whatever your choice might end up being.

    Clear Skies, Mild Nights, and good luck with any scope you end up with.
    - Joanna My Stuff Instruments - Orion 203mm f4.9 Reflector on Celestron CG-5 GT, Meade 90mm f12 Refractor on CG-1, Meade 60mm (Travel), Barska 20-125x80 Binoculars on Al-AZ tripod, Barska 10x50. Oculars - (1.25" glass) 4mm Orbinar Plossl, 8, 13, 32, 40mm Celestron plossls, 20mm Park Plossl, 10mm Russell (Konig), 8-24 Celestron Zoom, Omni 2x
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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Hi,

    I don't have much experience in the way of ep's but can tell you a 2" low power is an amazing sight! Sure the 1.25 has its value and gives great views. But the 2" stands out on it's own!
    Maybe try a star party or club first and get a few "views" and then decide

    Cheers.
    .

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Thanks Joanna! Wow, I feel like Shallow Hal! I've been dismissing the dobsonians based on size alone. The base is what deterred me. I would definitely prefer the longer focal length and wider view for deep sky while allowing versatility for planetary observation. I'll gladly accept a little extra weight and size over enhanced quality and detail. You mentioned tracking, how much more difficult is it to track using a dobsonian vs an EQ without a motor? I want to avoid computers for my first scope and build quality 'Old School' fundamentals.

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by BLOOD BATH View Post
    Televue and Explore Scientific are widely considered the best. All eyepieces and filters are universal, most telescope and finderscope dovetail mounts are too.

    The advantage of a 2" eyepiece is that the wider barrel allows a greater AFOV, but that would undone by a converter. AFOV is only really important for low magnification wide-field viewing anyway. When you're looking at something specific, using medium or high magnification, you would be better off with a 1.25" as they are much cheaper yet bear the same optical quality.

    Personally at that price point I'd buy a Zhummel Z10 instead. The focus assembly is better, the finder is better, the mount is easier, the aperature is larger, plus it comes with an additional 2" eyepiece and a laser collimator.
    Thanks Blood Bath! That makes so much sense. As all the adapters i've seen expand the diameter for an attachment and not the focal diameter as opposed to the reducer from 2-1.25. I'm looking at the z10 and Wow, what a better package.

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    Default Re: Advice Wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joanna Sue View Post
    Hello Coprolite Whisperer,
    and hope you find you way back here often. Regarding your scope choice I assume you have decided to have an EQ mounted scope. The Celestron brand is largely made in China by Synta ( in case you were unaware of that ) and are similar to Orion brand products and Skywatcher. Since the scope you have indicated you are interested in has a focal ratio (F-stop) which is 5 it is regarded as a fairly fast scope which would require fairly good grade eyepieces to provide the best results. As others have indicated you will find the 2" eyepieces more useful over about 15mm in focal length and under 15mm the 1.25" eyepieces will work just fine. The Celestron website lists the highest magnification level is 354x and the lowest is 21x which by my calculation means eyepieces in between a range of 2mm and 35mm should be in the useful range of this scope. I personally doubt anyone would enjoy using a 2mm eyepiece if you could find one so you would likely use a 2x Barlow to get to that level of magnification should you ever encounter conditions that would warrant that level of magnification which would likely be rare. I would say you should be reasonably well covered with about an 8mm, 12mm in 1.25 inch an likely something between 15-20mm, and 30mm in 2" eyepieces and a 2" Barlow. You will need a collimation tool as well - in my opinion a laser would be easiest to use as well. A moon filter/polarizer would be recommended if you plan to view the moon as well but I am not sure I would jump into any other filters until you got to the point you decided you had to have one. I would personally look for one or more of the following, a Telrad or Rigel or a Deluxe Red Dot finder - a Right Angle finder ideally illuminated, or a green laser and mount to use in aiming the scope as opposed to using the 6x30 finder.

    As far as brand of eyepieces I will refrain from saying much in regard to one maker over another however I would say pay attention to field of view, and eye relief on given eyepieces. Generally the most popular type - Plossl designs are limited to about a 52 degree field of view, Konigs are generally slightly winder up near 60 to 65 degrees and Pantropics are generally up to about 82 degrees as I recall. The winder the field of view the easier it is to spot things and the more natural the feel you get when viewing things. Of course wider fields come at higher prices as well. Eye relief generally get shorter at the higher power (shorter focal length ) eyepieces which is why I said most find many eyepieces under about 8mm hard to use.

    If you are not interested in tracking an object with the scope you would get more light gathering aperture for your dollar out of a Dobsonian type scope as others have mentioned. If you decide to look in that direction I would suggest the Apertura ( which is really Zhumell made also I believe ) of course portability tends to go down as the aperture goes up as bigger mirrors tend to weigh more.

    If you have more questions I am sure there will be someone around who has more knowledge than I would about different products and designs. Good luck with whatever your choice might end up being.

    Clear Skies, Mild Nights, and good luck with any scope you end up with.
    Thanks Joanna! Wow, I feel like Shallow Hal! I've been dismissing the dobsonians based on size alone. The base is what deterred me. I would definitely prefer the longer focal length and wider view for deep sky while allowing versatility for planetary observation. I'll gladly accept a little extra weight and size over enhanced quality and detail. You mentioned tracking, how much more difficult is it to track using a dobsonian vs an EQ without a motor? I want to avoid computers for my first scope and build quality 'Old School' fundamentals.

 

 
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