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Thread: Newbie eyepiece advice please

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    Default Newbie eyepiece advice please



    Hi guys, I own a skywatcher Explorer 130. I am looking to upgrade eyepieces so I can view planets better than what I can with the standard ones supplied which so far seem useless (maybe I'm doing something wrong?). What would you guys recommend with a budget of around £30 per piece? Hopefully these can be kept for if I upgrade my scope.
    TIA

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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Hi Jaimie,

    With your scope having a focal length of 900 mm, the Plossles you mentioned should work quite well. What I normally use is that I start out with a 32mm, which gives you about as wide a piece of sky that you can reasonably get for finding objects or looking at something that covers a large part of the sky. From there I normally step down in focal length at something like two-thirds or 60% at a time. This gives a reasonable step down, but not so much to keep me from loosing the object. The steps I normally use are from 32 to 20 to 12. I will then put in a 2X Barlow and a 15mm, giving me the equivalent of a 7.5mm. From there, I normally take smaller steps as I am approaching the magnification I need or the limits of the scope. With the Barlow in place, I will drop from the 15, to a 12, then to a 9mm, if the situation will handle that. These are just ball park focal lengths and will vary depending on what a particular brand makes.

    At my elevation of 700 feet, with good weather, about the highest magnification I can hope, ever, to get with my 130mm reflector is around 200X. I might use that for viewing the Moon or splitting close double stars. For most things, the magnification that ends up being best is less than that. With a 9mm eyepiece and a 2X Barlow, your scope can reach that 200X.

    Just about any of the major brands and many of the more economical Plossl eyepieces are quite good. Look for ones that say they are multi-coated, it is better if they say they are fully multi-coated and have their edges blackened. If they say that the eyepieces in the series are parfocal, this means that the focal position from eyepiece to eyepiece is very close to being the same, with only slight adjustments. This is a convenience that is nice to have, but does not affect the view through the eyepiece, just the amount of time you have to fiddle to get the best view.

    Hope this helps,
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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Actually the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces you received are not bad eyepieces. I'm guessing they are the standard Synta Plossls similar to the Orion Sirius Plossl in the US; pretty good eyepieces to start out on and good for supplementing until you're ready to spend more money. I don't know the exchange rate or what £30 equates to, but a really good choice IMO would be to get a 32mm Plossl (GSO is good) and a GSO Shorty barlow. A 15-20mm Plossl eventually would come in handy too but you could probably get by without at first. That'll get you started and should keep you happy for not much money; will be difficult to spend much less and still have decent quality.

    Lastly, regarding the problems you're hinting at, have you made sure you've let your scope cool down? And have you made sure it's collimated? Both of those will make your images look very bad, unsteady, fuzzy and just plain terrible. Plan on at least a half-hour outside cooling down with the dust covers off your scope; even more if the temperature change from house to outdoors is more than 40-50 degrees. And follow the collimation instructions in your owner's manual and get the mirrors as close to nearly perfect alignment as you can. Once both those are accomplished, your images should be sharp even at higher power.

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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Thank you both for your advice. My scope is collimated the best I could get it, as a newbie I don't think I did too bad. I might actually invest in a laser Collimator. I don't think the eyepieces I have are plossl though. But I'm no expert. I do find my setup great for looking at the moon but I would like more mag and detail for looking at deeper space objects.
    Last edited by Jamie16v; 12-27-2016 at 12:33 AM. Reason: Spelling
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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    If you are looking for plossls, you should be able to find the skywatcher's at a good price.
    https://www.firstlightoptics.com/sky...eyepieces.html
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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Hi Jaime,
    For planetary, your maximum magnification on most nights should not be more than 130x. You can achieve such a magnification with a 7mm eyepiece. 900/7=128.5x. My advice is to try to get something better than plossl, specially for high magnifications because plossl tend to have a short eye relief and honestly is uncomfortable to see planets with the eyes sticked to the glass.

    I have a Celestron X cel 9mm that performs well on planets and it provides enough eye relief and AFOV to make a pleasant view. You can try their 7mm eyepiece. It won't break the bank but probably will cost more than 30 pounds. My budget was limited so I decided to get a second hand: only 40US that is close to your budget.
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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    I agree the celestron Xcell especially the LX is quite good if I am not mistaken the normal Xcell is 55 and the LX 60 field of view I have the 18mm and 10mm in the LX version and they are quite affordable and quite good certainly much better than a standard Plossl
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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Thanks, I did have a look at those, a bit pricey but you get what you pay for it guess. My only worry is putting money into something I might get bored of soon. I tend to do that with EVERY hobby I get lol. I think I'm going to bite the bullet though. I might order the better celestron eyepiece as you suggest and see how I get on. Hopefully if I enjoy it as I imagine I will I'll invest in a better scope too.

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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Well, I've gone and bought a 25mm x-cel lx eyepiece. Just waiting for it to arrive. I will build my collection weekly now. I think I'll go for a 9mm next as the 12mm is to close to a 25mm half division (thinking 2x barlow).

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    Default Re: Newbie eyepiece advice please

    Okay first, please forgive the long-winded post. I tend to ramble...

    There is no "best" eyepiece, IMO. There are simply the ones that fit your viewing tastes (but don't forget budget, too!).

    As others said, the rule of thumb with a "maximum" magnification is one that gives about the same as your scope's aperture in mm. (for you, ~130x). This IS a rule of thumb, however. On especially clear nights you can max that out. I have a scope with 8" (203mm) aperture, so with this rule of thumb, my 9.7mm EP (giving about 209x) should be the max, but I've used my 6.4mm (from an older scope) on at least a few occasions giving over 300x. There is also the issue that objects get dimmer the more you magnify them, so don't try to buy a high mag EP expecting a better view of that hard-to-see object...

    So, that's magnification. Now let's talk about field of view and eye relief. Generally, higher FOV and ER comes with higher prices. You can easily spend $800+ on a SINGLE eyepiece. Think of the FOV like the difference between looking through a toilet paper tube or a 6" pvc pipe, you simply see more sky for a given magnification. Eye relief is just how far away you need your eyeball form the lens and is a comfort issue, or if you wear glasses it can be helpful too.

    With your budget, you're going to be looking at Plossls or "super" Plossls, or perhaps something used. Plossls are going to be limited to a relatively small FOV (~45-50 degrees usually), and (especially with higher mag EPs) short eye relief.

    But something to consider, and this is important, is that even these fancy expensive eyepieces won't allow you to see "more" (i.e. dimmer) objects. To see dimmer objects, you simply need a bigger scope to collect more light. These EPs can, however, make your viewing experience more pleasurable.

    Now let's talk about keeping the EP's when you upgrade your scope. Not all EPs work well with all scopes. If you end up with a with low f/ratio scope (like f/4), your Plossl's likely won't play nice. You'll also want to think about max and min magnification. If you buy a 5mm EP now, it may or may not be useful for your next scope because that might exceed the "useful" mag of your new scope. As I mentioned earlier though, I still (occasionally) use my 6.4mm EP with my new scope even though it technically exceeds that rule of thumb limit.

    So... my advice is to stick with the EPs you have now for as long as possible. The more you use them, the more you'll figure out what their limitations are, what you like/dislike about them, what you like to look at, and the experience you want to have. In the end, just get out there under your scope as much as possible.

    Santa just brought me an Explore Scientific 68 degree (FOV) 24mm EP and I LOVE it. I'm currently waiting on a 82 degree FOV 11mm, and I'll likely end up with a ~16mm, and maybe even ~7mm too. These run between $99 and $150 or so depending on if you find them on sale. While it's more than your stated budget, IMO it's the best way to get wider FOVs without selling a kidney.

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