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joehay_yorkshire

Eyepieces for planetary viewing

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It's probably been asked to death, but for planetary what's the best bet for under £70 or so? 

My scope is 900mm focal length, 130mm aperture, F7 ish. I've heard good things about the vixen NPL, celestron X-Cel and the BST's as well as the baader ortho's. The Focal lengths i would be looking at are in the range of 5mm-8mm and eye relief isn't really an issue as i'm only 17 and have good eyes (as of yet ;) ). Are all these good to go for, and how would they all compare?

regards,

Joe

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If you can handle the tight eye relief - a 6 ortho. like the BCO will be hard to beat. 150x would be fine for jupiter also.

andrew

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I reckon for around the price range given you could look into BSTs and X-Cels LXs which generally receive great reviews. These supply very nice eye-relief and decent field of view. I used to own a few LXs and can highly recommend them.

However, substracting eye-relief from our equation, and if field of view wasn't a big concern, then for top quality planetary eyepieces buying into Baader Genuine Orthos on the secondhand market, or as Andrew suggests, the BC Orthos or Hutech Orthos would be a very smart move. Indeed, from the reviews I've read the quality of image in these Orthos is going to be just about as good as it gets.

Tele Vue's 8mm Plossl is also fantastic planetary eyepiece, and one of my own personal planetary favourites. You should be able to pick them up on the secondhand market. Like the Orthos, the enitre range of TV Plossls will show as good a quality image as the more expensive, premium glass, but obviously with less field of view and eye-relief.

Other than that, you could save just a little more and see if a Radian or Pentax XF crop up on the secondhand market. These too will be cracking planetary eyepieces which will also afford you better eye-relief and larger field of view. 

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Eventhough the 18mm BCO is low mag for planetary in my telescope, it provides a very crisp,clear view,with great band colour on Jupiter.These are excellent EP's and am glad they have been pointed out to us by experienced mods and observers

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Hi Joe, as already identified, the BST Explorer/StarGuiders are extremely capable and very comfortable to use, but I also find the William Optics SPL 6mm and 12.5mm extremely good, the 6mm will give you 150x and I find this just right for Jupiter, though Saturn will take a bit more mag, perhaps the 5mm BST StarGuider = 180x.  Between the two, I would always choose the William Optics SPL from FLO, though I bought both mine s/h.

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I can second Robin's opinion of the SPL 6mm, works very well in my 'scope. As does the 5mm X-Cel LX. They're both a bit more than the BSTs, but do crop up 2nd hand fairly regularly for about 40 quid.

Cheers

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If you must wear glasses, SPL is the one, otherwise BCO is better choice, IMHO.

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Hi Joe, as already identified, the BST Explorer/StarGuiders are extremely capable and very comfortable to use, but I also find the William Optics SPL 6mm and 12.5mm extremely good, the 6mm will give you 150x and I find this just right for Jupiter, though Saturn will take a bit more mag, perhaps the 5mm BST StarGuider = 180x.  Between the two, I would always choose the William Optics SPL from FLO, though I bought both mine s/h.

is the SPL 6mm  good for eye relief? 

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is the SPL 6mm  good for eye relief? 

Yes - it has 20mm of eye relief which is as good as it gets at 6mm. By comparison a 6mm orthoscopic will have around 5mm of eye relief. 

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If you need eye relief, the Vixen LV or newer NLVs are good, but more expensive, they do occasionally pop up second hand. They also have 20mm eye relief. Similar field of view to orthoscopics, so smaller than planetaries, but better eye relief

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Yes - it has 20mm of eye relief which is as good as it gets at 6mm. By comparison a 6mm orthoscopic will have around 5mm of eye relief. 

Thanks John, yes, it is a very comfortable ep to use and very well engineered.

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Thanks John, yes, it is a very comfortable ep to use and very well engineered.

What he said, very comfy and a good solid EP.

+1 for the X-CEL-LX's :laugh:

But also, what he said. 16mm ER with twist up eye cup.

Cheers

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