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coolsox

Using high powered eyepieces

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I have an array of eyepiece sizes, 32,25,20,15,12,10,9 and 6mm which I use on my 3 scopes. I know for deep sky observing that low power eyepieces are Best, and my 32 and 20mm are my favourites for this purpose, however once in a while I like to crank the power up for observing planets etc.

Is there a correct way, or technique to using a high powered eyepiece? For example, last night I was looking at Saturn through my Skymax 127 and decided to take a look at higher power. I was getting pretty good views through all of the eyepieces (10mm being the best), but tom see anything I find it necessary to squint and hover over the eyepiece to see the image. When I do get a clear image it is nice and sharp but very brief before I move slightly and lose it. Am I doing something wrong or is a case of practice makes perfect?

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It sounds like you are describing "seeing" where the atmospheric turbulence causes the view to go "mushy". The highest magnification i've seen personally that was able to be used with the very best seeing was 300x, and most nights 250x is the highest.

Also, "cheaper" plossl designs are very uncomfortable to use at short focal lengths and I personally find anything less than 8mm to be very uncomfortable to use, but it's personal preference. More expensive eyepieces such as the Vixen LVW's and Televue Radians are designed to provide more comfort at short focal lengths.

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It may be seeing, or you may just have to practice keeping your head still. If you have some kind of seat, this can help tremendously. Getting more expensive eps that are a little more forgiving of head movement and position can help, too. But you don't need to hurry into that.

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A lot of high-powered eyepieces are uncomfortable to use especially if you wear glasses or even contact lenses. A 12.5mm Circle T orthoscopic eyepiece has 1cm of eye relief, but the 5mm eyepiece in the same series has only 4mm of eye relief not to mention a pinhole lens to look through. You have to hold yourself right up against the eyepiece so that observing can become a real strain after a very short time. That's why you lose the image easily. A slight head movement can move you away from the image.

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