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Thread: Planetary Eyepiece?

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    Default Planetary Eyepiece?



    What makes an eyepiece a "planetary eyepiece" as I see so often advertised? Is it just a smaller focal length or is it a certain design? I am curious about a good 5mm for viewing planets. I have an 9mm plossl that I use with a 2x barlow for planets, but if I can avoid the extra weight with such high magnification I'd like to do so.
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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    As a guy who uses few eyepieces...
    A couple of things:
    A planetary EP would have a smaller field of view as you don't have a lot of real estate usually
    A 5mm EP will probably have a very short eye relief as well. (the distance between the lens and your eye where good focus is obtained)
    This can be a very big deal to those who wear glasses...
    You might just be better off with the 9 and a barlow as it allows you to keep the longer eye relief.
    I'm sure others with more experience will be along any time now...
    Jim
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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    The term planetary is not a design, like Plossl or Abbe or ortho. Neither is it a particular apparent field of view or eye relief or focal length. It would seem to be a generic term for any eyepiece that might be intended for view planets or marketed for viewing planets or just labeled as planetary.

    One way to get to answer is to try and discover any common understanding in descriptions and reviews. Here is one comparison of "lunar and planetary" eyepieces. Here is another also from CloudyNights, and finally this one.

    Orion says this about its planetary line,

    High-magnification ...designed for exceptional planetary and lunar viewing
    •Flat field design ensures sharp focus out to the edge of each Edge-On eyepiece's wide 55-degree apparent field of view
    •Barrel distortion and field curvature commonly seen in standard eyepiece designs are nowhere to be seen...
    •... long 20mm eye relief for comfortable viewing even with eyeglasses on

    All clear now?

    By the way I have a Meade 6mm ortho, a 12mm "planetary" similar to the Orions, a couple of zoom EPs (cheap to expensive) and of course some Plossls. I don't use them often but if I had to put them in order of image quality and comfort it would be,

    1. zoom
    2. planetary
    3. ortho
    4. Plossl

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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Look at the Baader classic Orthos. I really dig my 6mm and it's 50 degree FOV. They are very reasonably priced. If that is not an issue look a Siebert Optics for some real crafted pieces.
    My eyes
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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Planetary eyepieces are distinguished by having less pincushion distortion and excellent rendering of contrast subtleties. This is my definition as a consumer of what I want to see, not any official definition.

    Those wonderful wide field eyepieces like TV Panoptic, Nagler, Ethos, and their ES counterparts attain pin point stars to the edge of the field at the expense of pincushion distortion and some loss of contrast rendering. Look at a terrestrial target with them. Power lines sag and utility poles get the bends depending where they are in the FOV.

    Freedom from pincushion distortion means that the eyepieces are "orthoscopic". Orthoscopic means right angles remain right angles and don't become acute or obtuse angles in the FOV depending on where you place them in the FOV. Because of this the Zeiss Abbe design is often called Orthoscopic but truth be told the Plossl design is also orthoscopic in terms of freedom from pincushion distortion. Because both designs have fewer lens elements there is less light scatter and contrast subtleties are also easy to see.

    Plossls have worse eye relief than Orthoscopics though......

    In addition there are some highly corrected multi lens designs that are pretty free from pincushion. The TV Delos design is one that I would consider a very good planetary eyepiece.

    So I have some planetary eyepieces that I consider excellent:

    Baader Classic Orthos (I also had the KK Fujiyama Orthos, my daughter has them now)
    TV Plossl
    Vixen NPL

    And a very good set (for use with a Dob where wider FOV means tracking is simpler)
    TV Delos.
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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Further to the Delos mentioned by nFA there is also the Televue Delite which I've heard some excellent things from for planetary/lunar. Less FOV though at 62 degrees but still more than a Plossl and Ortho and has 20mm eye relief across the range.

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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Davesellars View Post
    Further to the Delos mentioned by nFA there is also the Televue Delite which I've heard some excellent things from for planetary/lunar. Less FOV though at 62 degrees but still more than a Plossl and Ortho and has 20mm eye relief across the range.
    I'd buy one to try out if I weren't pretty well set as it is.

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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by not_Fritz_Argelander View Post
    I'd buy one to try out if I weren't pretty well set as it is.
    Aye, it's difficult... I wouldn't mind the 11mm but I think I'm broke now after buying various bits and a few eyepieces for the 120ST!

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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    There are often ortho's available on the second hand market, especially in the UK on UK astronomy buy and sell. I've picked up four in the last 18 month's, and the most expensive was £45.
    Stevie


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    Default Re: Planetary Eyepiece?

    Orthos are great on planets and would be my 1st recommendation. However, short eye relief and narrow field of view makes their use in manual scopes somewhat changeling.

    TeleVue Delos, Radian and Delite - all considered great planetary EPs with plenty of eye relief and 60-70 degrees FOV.

    Celestron LX X-Cel EPs deliver solid performance on planets and will not break your valet
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