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Struggling with this new hobby


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In my case, an equatorial mount with a reflector was the worst possible start in astronomy - totally counter intuitive - hard to balance, aim, use, and even move.  I went on to a refractor with an alt-az mount and things took off.  Now I have a GoTo 'scope on an alt-az and I'm loving the whole thing.

As others have said, low mag is your starting point - it gives clarity, more brightness, and most importantly, a wider field of view.  Move up to higher mags for planetary/lunar detail.

The EPs supplied with the 'scope are generally basic, so getting cheapish Plossls is a step-up.  But then you'll want nicer ones again, probably with wider angles.

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Hi there. It is not as easy as you have learned. I am not familiar with the EQ1 mount, but I know it is rather basic and not that good. Having said that you should be able to lock it in position. I am

Yes the 25 MM is actually quite good. It's all about managing my expectations I suppose. Those Hubble images have a lot to answer for ! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Too much magnification can be counter productive. Whatever eyepiece you use the stars won't get any bigger. They are simply too far away. Do you have a 25mm eyepiece? This should give you a wider and

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Both of my scopes came with Plossls so not all scopes come with "cheapish" eyepieces.  

I think Orion giveaways are generally decent quality and appear to be better than most Sky-Watcher included eyepieces. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by 'cheapish' eyepieces. The Sky-Watcher Modified Achromats are possibly similar to some Kellners in Celestron kits. The lens glass is probably the same quality as most mid-range Plossls or other types. The real difference is in the construction of the actual individual eyepiece components. Many inexpensive eyepieces have plastic upper barrels fitted into a metal draw tube. This can make them lighter in weight, which can be an advantage in small binoviewers, but plastic isn't usually as durable as metal and the plastic utilised with these type of eyepieces are generally mass produced cheaply. The real problem with plastic upper bodied eyepieces is that they cannot adequately be painted matte black inside. This is due to a peculiarity in the adhesive binding property of the paints normally employed to the plastic surface on the inside of the upper barrel. This doesn't apply particularly to metal upper bodied eyepieces which can take advantage of the matte painting. In reality many plastic bodied eyepieces aren't painted internally at all. Because of this they are often prone to internal reflections and light dissipation. Also, on more expensive eyepieces even the edge of the lens is matte painted to stop light escaping from them. 

As to the Sky-Watcher MA eyepieces, I have hardly ever used mine, but I do sometimes use a 15mm Celestron kit Kellner and the 25mm SW MA as finder pieces. Because of a disability setting up an EQ2 mount predominantly with one hand is problematical to me. Let alone orienting the telescope and using the RACI. So I tend to get everything set up and make sure the target is framed and everything is tightened up before a viewing session. I like to make sure the target is framed with a light, inexpensive low power wide angle EP before I trust the diagonal with a heavier eyepiece that cost more than the telescope or before placing my binoviewers!

It never fails to impress me what a decent view I get through the Kellner or the 25mm SW MA. I could easily see the cloud belts on Jupiter the other night with the 25mm at 50x.

IMG_20151030_191359_zpssjd1ddxi.jpg

They are worth hanging on to I reckon lol.

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OTOH  the William Optics SWAN eyepieces given away with their bino's are virtually 60 quid a pop, which can make them nearly three times the price of some Celestron Omni Plossls. In fact, the cheapest TeleVue Plossl is only around a tenner above the WO SWAN's.

WO%2020mm%201_zpsfbvhsobp.jpg

Edited by Mak the Night
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Both of my scopes came with Plossls so not all scopes come with "cheapish" eyepieces.  

I've noticed that Orion (USA) do supply better quality eyepieces with the scopes than Skywatcher do. In the UK this is balanced by Orion scopes generally costing more than the equivalent Skywatcher.

If you have a look at the more expensive brands of scope they tend to come with no accessories at all. I suppose they assume that the buyer will already have their own choice of eyepieces etc ?

Plossls are a better starting point than the achromatic hygenian / kellner variants that are supplied as stock eyepieces by some though.

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My Meade ETX 80 came with 26 mm and 9.7 Meade Super Plossls too.  I added a 6.4 mm of the same type.  Been happy with them so far.  I use these in both scopes but I judge the Meade Super Plossls and the Orion Sirius Plossl that came with the XT8i to be of similar quality and view.   I feel no need to replace them.  In fact, since they are of similar FL I use the Orion as filter eyepieces and swap them with the unfiltered Meade so I can compare views.

Someone once posted on here a while ago thats it's only when you try something else and notice a difference in performance that matters to you, that perhaps it's time to change.

If you are enjoying what you have then thats a good reason to stick with them :icon_biggrin:

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Well when I bought my 12" Meade LX200, and my 12" Meade LX90, Meade was willing to supply these 'Big-Ticket' items with 1 Meade 26mm Super Plossl. But when I purchased their LXD55 5" F/9.3 Achromatic refractor? Nothing. I'm not quite sure they were trying to say. But they did then give away a coupon good for the entire range of their Plossls - except the 26mm.

I threw 'em all in the supplied aluminum case and sold the whole lot together for $100-US on a used marketplace. AstroMart. I did include the 26mm. They buyer was quite confused, and called me up to report their was an extra eyepiece in the case! I tried not to laugh..... I assured him it was alright.

I still have one of the 26mm's. Unopened.

Dave

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Both of my scopes came with Plossls so not all scopes come with "cheapish" eyepieces.  

........but for those that do, inexpensive Plossls are usually the next step.  Then you're away!  But try not to spend a packet on EPs that the 'scope can't do justice to!

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I have the Startravel 80 as a grab and go and I like it, so I don't think this was a bad purchase at all. Ditto on the purchase of a right angle finder - your neck and back will thank you for that!

There is a bit of a learning curve at first but most is just practice. EQ mounts are fiddly to use at first, and the EQ1 is very light. It might be worth experiementing with the counterweight, which I've found can be helpful. If your balance is out this could cause instability and movement.

Which eyepieces came with your scope? Some ship with the 10mm and 25mm Super MA, which are okay (esp the 25mm) but not great, while others do ship with SuperPlossls (which are decent lenses - if you have these the blurring is almost certainly not due to the EP).

When it comes to focus, are you able to get stars or other objects sharp with the 10mm that came with the scope? It's possible that you may be expecting too much of M31 - it's always going to look like an extended (and somewhat smudgy) patch of light, especially if you have any light pollution. Low magnification is definitely good (binoculars or a 25mm lens in that scope). I find in my LP backyard that M31 actually shrinks when I apply more magnification - the extended (but faint) brightness around the core fills the eyepiece, which removes the contrast, which reduces what the eye can pick up.

Quite new to this myself and it is a struggle at first, but a rewarding one if you stick at it.

Best of luck! Billy.

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........but for those that do, inexpensive Plossls are usually the next step.  Then you're away!  But try not to spend a packet on EPs that the 'scope can't do justice to!

I think virtually all scopes benefit from a really good quality eyepiece. It does form half of the optical train.

post-118-0-43687800-1453113390.jpg

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Thanks to you all for your helpful advice. I'm warming to the idea of a Vixen 32mm Ep as it seems to get good reviews. Im loath to spend too much until I'm sure what I'm doing. Priorities for me are sharpness, good field of view so that I can find my subject in context, and eye relief.

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Thanks to you all for your helpful advice. I'm warming to the idea of a Vixen 32mm Ep as it seems to get good reviews. Im loath to spend too much until I'm sure what I'm doing. Priorities for me are sharpness, good field of view so that I can find my subject in context, and eye relief.

Vixen are good quality I've heard. If you want sharpness, good field of view and eye relief I can only recommend one thing.

http://www.televue.com/engine/TV3b_page.asp?id=51&Tab=EP_EPL-32.0

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Ha ha, I'm sure it is but beyond what I want to spend 2 months into new hobby! Perhaps some day.

Oh sorry, I thought you were considering a Vixen equivalent and some of them are around the £99 mark I believe. The Celestron 32mm is superb though, I still use mine occasionally.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-omni-plossl-eyepiece.html

Mine's the bog standard one though and not the shiny Omni one. lol

Celestron%20Eyeopener%2032mm%20Plossl_zp

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Ok Folks, time to decide on my first lens upgrade.  Something that's affordable for someone 2 months into the hobby with a 4" Skywatcher Refractor.  I have the standard 25 and 10 mm plus 2x Barlow.  Think I'll go for either the 32mm Celestron Omni or the Vixen 30 mm Vixen NPL.    I want a wider and sharper view.  Grateful for views.  Thank you

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47 minutes ago, Bostonteax said:

Ok Folks, time to decide on my first lens upgrade.  Something that's affordable for someone 2 months into the hobby with a 4" Skywatcher Refractor.  I have the standard 25 and 10 mm plus 2x Barlow.  Think I'll go for either the 32mm Celestron Omni or the Vixen 30 mm Vixen NPL.    I want a wider and sharper view.  Grateful for views.  Thank you

Both look good. I've never owned any Vixen EP's but they have a good reputation. Good luck.

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I'm in a similar boat. I got a GoTo Meade LXD75 SN6 with a Meade 4000 26mm plossl.

In deciding EPs I got an 8 & 18mm BSTStarguider due to a lot of good reviews and a x2 Barlow

Someone did recommend a zoom EP which is a good idea ( in hindsight)

I've yet to get the scope out as I'm waiting on stuff to arrive.

In the meantime I picked up a ST80 as a grab and go . comes with a 10&20 mm.its currently winging its way from Essex.

I got a good deal on the st80 and they had no issue shipping to NI for forwarding to the Republic( postage was cheaper) 

 

FLO are doing some good deals on WO EPs.

Edited by hobbiesaregood
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

I'm surprised, aghast even, that Sky-Watcher would place a 102mm refractor, even a fast one at f/5, on an EQ-1 mount.  The EQ-1 is only suitable for the smallest of telescopes, if that.  When the time comes to upgrade, and if you want to continue using an equatorial...

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-eq2-mount-tripod.html ...or... http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-eq3-2-deluxe.html

If you'd rather give an alt-azimuth mount a go...

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/skywatcher-az4-1-alt-az-mount-with-aluminium-tripod.html

The alt-azimuth would also be a great choice for the 102mm f/5 achromat.

For a low-power ocular, I chose the Vixen NPL 30mm over the Baader and GSO 32mm Plossls, after careful research, and for my 150mm f/5 Newtonian...

56c0c2f250e4c_VixenNPL30mm2.jpg.c27b101f

It performs splendidly, and is a keeper.

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/vixen-eyepieces/vixen-npl-eyepieces.html

Cheers,

Alan

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