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    Default Highest useful magnification



    Hello members, my name is James and I have a question on the highest useful magnification. I just bought a Celestron nexstar 5se, and I was wondering what is a practical eyepiece to use to get the best magnification and detail. The telescope has a highest useful magnification of 300x. The focal length is 1250.

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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    A 6mm eyepiece is probably about the highest you would want to go. Even then, it would take rarely seen conditions to utilize it. That would give you 208x.
    A 9mm would be pretty good for high magnification. That would give you 140x.


    The telescope might have a max useful magnification of 300x but that doesn't mean you will ever achieve that.

    Be advised, though: Higher magnification doesn't necessarily mean better detail. There becomes a point where the higher the magnification, the more compromised the detail is.
    That's why I love my zoom EP.
    A really good all around mid range EP for that scope (in my opinion) might be a 12mm (104x) or 16mm (78x).
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Most zoom EP's are 8-24x. I have a Baader Hyperion MK III. It's a really awesome zoom EP and I would definitely recommend it. It IS a little on the expensive side. There are several other zoom EP's of lesser quality and price that are still very acceptable. I'm sure others will chime in on that soon.

    There are pros and cons to zoom EP's but I think mostly pros. It's very nice not having to switch EP's in and out all the time.
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Thanks for the information it was very helpful.
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Oh i have another question that maybe you could answer. I was interested in viewing galaxies , what ep would you recommened and the fov. Could I use a 9mm ep on a 2x barlow with a fov of 52 ep?

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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    you may be able to come close to 300x ON THE MOON..which is bright and very close..otherwise 200 x to 250x is the most you will be able to PUSH the scope up to... Its not your scope..is the atmosphere...Manufactures tend to list 60x per inch of aperture as the highest USEFUL magnification no matter what type of scope they are selling so take the rating with a grain of salt.

    In the real world most of us figure 40x per inch is about the best we can do a normal night (about 200x in your scope) ... 250x on a night with FANTASTIC seeing... and maybe even 150x on a hot summer evening

    That said astronomy is not about magnification...its all about gathering as much light as possible...(aperture rules) ... I own scopes ranging form 4 inches up to 11 inches and to be truthful It is a very rare night that I observe above 200x no matter which scope I am using..with the exception f the moon...

    Bob G,
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaminrc View Post
    Oh i have another question that maybe you could answer. I was interested in viewing galaxies , what ep would you recommened and the fov. Could I use a 9mm ep on a 2x barlow with a fov of 52 ep?
    To be quite honest, high magnification is not recommended for galaxies.
    For exmple: To view M31 you want to use your lowest power EP. M31 is massive and spreads out past your fov.
    For something like M81 & M82 you can use low power to get the both in the fov. Increasing magnification can bring out some decent detail in some galaxies but it can also darken the image. Most galaxies should probably be viewed with moderate to low magnification.
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    You've received a lot of good advice. On the Moon, Planets, and Double Stars you can push the magnification. On anything else you'll want to maximize your FOV to see the object. On Globular's you will want to get to mid range magnification 100 - 150 to get definition of individual stars.
    Clear Skies
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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Thanks again, is the m31 andromeda galaxy visible in the city with light pollution. The population in Rapid city is aproximately sixty thousand and I live on the edge of town, there a lot of hills and valleys. What would be a better observation site with a unubstructive view of the horizon, a valley or a hill?

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    Default Re: Highest useful magnification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaminrc View Post
    Oh i have another question that maybe you could answer. I was interested in viewing galaxies , what ep would you recommened and the fov. Could I use a 9mm ep on a 2x barlow with a fov of 52 ep?
    Hello Jamin,

    first of all I second to what Bob has written above on the maximum useful magnification.

    Regarding the galaxies, with the exception of M31 and M33 (in the northern skies), all other galaxies are pretty small, and you can lots of them magnify up to 80x-100x. The field of view does not matter as much if you have an electronic drive on your mount. Otherwise, the galaxies, as any other DSOs, may fly out off your EP. What matters with the EPs for the observation of the galaxies, is the very high transmissivity and very high contrast, to luckily catch some details. I have made a very good experience with the 12.5mm Pentax XF. On some galaxies with high surface brightness, like the M94, you may magnify even higher.

    What I would not do, is to 'Barlow' an EP for the observation of the galaxies, as any Barlow 'eats' some light, and on reasons of the optical sciences, it must reduce the contrastof the view. This does not matter as much on the Moon and on the planets, but it may become a decisive drawback on the galaxies.

    Best

    JG
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