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  1. #1
    Don Kittrell's Avatar
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    Default Eyepiece Comparison Test on Jupiter

    Tonight was a clear night, no wind, but a 93% full moon. I wanted to do a good test of my new eyepiece, the Meade 5000 5.5mm Plossl comparing it with my Orion stock 3-element 10mm that came with the scope. I also used both of them with my Orion shorty 2x Barlow. Since the brightness of the moon doesn’t allow me a lot of options, the better part of the evening was spent looking at Jupiter. I compared the views of the Meade by itself (64x), the Meade with the barlow (127X), and the Orion 10mm/barlow combination (70x).

    I understand that I own a very fast refractor which is not really suited for planetary viewing. Nevertheless, this is what I found out:

    Meade 5.5mm solo (64x): The image was a decent one. The 2 main eq. belts were seen clearly and the planet was yellowish with slight hinting of some of the other bands. Focus was good but with a slight fuzziness. However, the CA around the planet was significant. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst, the CA was about a 7. Also, due to the eye relief, I had to put my eye fairly close to take in the view. Not all that uncomfortable, but my stock ep’s are better.

    Meade with the Barlow (127x): The image was definitely bigger, but an exact focus was hard to achieve, so the view was considerably more fuzzy than at 64x. The “sweet spot” for a clear focus is very, very tight. Nearly impossible, actually. And though the image was bigger, it was not as bright and the bands were duller. However, CA was much reduced.

    Orion 10mm Stock/with the Barlow (70x): Believe it or not this yielded the best view. Focus was “cleaner” than the Meade solo. The Banding was slightly more defined and a little darker I thought. CA was only about a 4. Eye relief also better than the Meade.

    I spent almost 1 ½ hours going back and forth with these ep’s, so I feel I did a good test.

    So, just based on my views of Jupiter, I’m somewhat disappointed with the Meade. I thought it would give me a little more muscle for my observing needs, but since I own a very fast refractor, I guess I over estimated my scope’s capabilities. My Orion stock 3-element eyepieces are actually better than I had originally thought.
    Orion StarBlast 4.5 mounted on an Orion Tritech II Field Tripod

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  3. #2
    Bob327's Avatar
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    I own an f/6 100 mm as well as a 127 mm f/9 Meade AR-5 Achromatic refractors ....

    To be honest the Orion has a hard time reaching 100x no matter what the viewing conditions are like and the Meade tops out at about 150x ...

    So I honestly would not have expected that you could use the Meade with a barlow ...

    This Does not bother me at all as the 100 mm Orion is mainly used for wide field views of star clusters etc...and it works just fine for that purpose...

    Bob G..
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
    I Hate the winter so I use heated Motorcycle clothing to stay warm while observing in winter
    Retired, also have 2 other hobbies
    1. tinker with older Corvettes (6 in garage)
    2. make a heck of a lot of sawdust in my wood shop.

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    Coming in late to this discussion, but I have a fast Orion ST120 (f/5) acrhomat. I agree with Bob as far as pushing the magnification. For Jupiter I have been able to get away with using the 5mm Hyperion (125x) a few times when there was very good seeing, but usually only for the purposes of watching a moon transit. Ordinarily I will only go up to 8mm (75x) for planetary views and when it comes to DSO's I normally stay somewhere in the 30 to 50x range, with occasional jumps to 75x to darker the background a little.
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