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Hi guys,

 

I have a Skywatcher Heritage 130p and I am looking for an upgrade to /additional eyepieces, mainly for planetary and lunar viewing. 

At the moment I have my eye on 2 eyepieces - a 6mm66º uwa 'gold line' eyepiece for about £20-30, and an 18mm Baader ortho eyepiece for £50 ish. 

However, I have recently come across the Celestron eyepiece kit for about the same price (maybe slightly more, but not much) as the 2 eyepieces previously mentioned eyepieces put together. 

What is the quality of the celestron eyepieces compared to the baader? I've heard that the baader is a good quality eyepiece and one that I wouldn't really have to upgrade in the future. On the other hand, the celestron offers many eyepieces, a barlow and some filters for a great value, but obviously if they are poor quality it may not necessarily be better. 

I currently only have the 'super' 25mm and 10mm stock eyepieces supplied, and live in the light polluted area of north London.

Any other suggestions would be great as well, thanks :)

 

Dan

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I would not advise you to buy kits. It is unlikely that they will be an improvement on what you have. The Baader ortho is a reasonable eyepiece, but if your main interest is in planetary and lunar observation you might be better with something that gives a bit more magnification. A 5 mm eyepiece would give you a magnification of 130 X. As to make of eyepiece you really have to give an idea of the budget you have.

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An alternative to the Orthos are the BST Starguiders if a wider field of view and longer eye relief are important. The Plossl sets are usually best avoided and those nasty 66 degree eyepieces are awful.

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I have a 10mm Baader Classic Ortho and it is absolutely superb. As said above if eye relief and F.O.V. are not at the top of your priority list I can give these a massive thumbs up.

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Another big "thumbs up" for the Baader Classic Orthos from me. Terrific eyepieces and optically as good as eyepieces costing many times as much. Which can't really be said of the eyepieces that come in kits I'm afraid.

Alternatively, for around the same price as the Baader orthos, the BST Starguiders are optically very competant and provide a wider field of view and more viewing comfort.

 

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Orthographic EPs perform very well for high magnification planetary observation. The 18mm BCO in your telescope with a focal length of 650mm will give a magnification of x36, so it really is not appropriate. You might consider the 6mm BCO which will give a useful x108.

As already said, I would avoid the kits and the uwa goldline. Depending on the budget you have available, I might look at a couple of Plossls or perhaps one Plossl and a reasonable x2 Barlow. The magnifications you want depend on the type of objects you are viewing. An 8mm with a Barlow would provide about x80 and x160 which would be very useful for lunar and planetary observation. The Barlow would also enable you to double up the supplied 25mm EP to give an effective 12.5mm with magnifications of x26 and x52 which might be more useful than a dedicated 18mm eyepiece.

Good Plossl EPs are available from Revelation, Celestron Omni and Skywatcher (all about 25 pounds), or for a little more the Vixen NPL are excellent value (about 40 pounds). Another very good EP is the BST Explorer at about 45-50 pounds.

Good x2 Barlows inlcude the Revelation and Antares (about 30 and 40 pounds).

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I guess my budget is around £60-£80. Good to hear so many positives about the BCO's. What are the advantages of getting a BCO over a BST, you all say that the BST offers a wider angle and better eye relief but for a very similar price. 

One thing i though was that the higher power eyepieces can be tricky to use / push my telescope to the limit of its magnification (i have previously asked about eyepieces and thats where i got the idea of the 18mm and 6mm to round out my collection). I also heaard that getting a couple of eyepieces is better than getting one and a barlow?

 

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Higher magnification Plossls (under 8mm) and Orthos generally have poor eye relief - so may people find using a combination of Barlow and a more moderate EP with better eye relief makes for more comfortable viewing. Additionally, if you chose your EPs well, a Barlow can extend your range of magnifications.

The BST Explorer (also known as Starguider and, in the USA, Paradigm) is a different optical configuration which has much better relief.

Strangely enough Orthos were quite a common EP until Plossls were rediscovered in the 1970-80s when the Ortho almost disappeared from the market. Now it seems Orthos are enjoying quite a revival. I'm not certain where Baader's BCOs are made, but the Ohi Optical Manufacturing Company in Japan also make an interesting range which are, I think, sold by Astro Hutech and University Optics as well as under the Kokusai Fujiyama and Kasai Trading.

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ok so to progress more with planetary and lunar viewing, I should go for the 8mm Vixen NPL and a barlow? (when i search for relevation barlow i find a 2x and a 2.5x version, both available for the same price. Should I just go for the 2.5x or is there a difference in quality?)

 

And then later on to fully round out my eyepiece collection I could consider either the BST or BCO as they are generally good eyepieces - but that's for later.

 

Is that the gist of what people are saying?

Edited by Apple15pie

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If at all possible I would suggest that you get along to the Baker St observers who meet at Regents Park and if anyone there is willing then try out a few of the first step up type eyepiece in your scope.

Your location is London but that is a fairly large area and the Baker St people are the only ones central that I am aware of. They may ba an alternative closer, or even a group of people from SGL that get together occasionally.

NPL's are nice plossl's equally that means they have the charactoristics of plossls. An 8mm plossl will have about 5mm eye relief and that may be too little. If you wear glasses then it is will be too little - you can take the glasses off.

For planetary you need a few reasonably short focal lengths, I have the BST's and they do not really have many at the shorter end. I got "around" it by using the BST 5mm, 8mm and purchasing an Altair 6mm (seems to be a clone/copy) of the WO planetary.

One option for possible consideration therefore is to get some of the Altair eyepieces, they come in 3mm, 5mm, 6mm, 9mm and 12,5mm offerings. Unfortunately they seem to have increased in cost as they are now £55, they used to be £45. So not quite as attractive as £50 tends to be a cut off point in peoples minds.

Will say I tend to not use a barlow, being one that prefers the individual eyepiece approach.

 

Edited by ronin

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Can't comment on any difference in quality between the x2 and x2.5 Revelation Barlows (I doubt it's significant), but the x2.5 will increase the magnification of an 8mm with your telescope to x200. While this is technically quite possible, atmospheric conditions may limit the use of this magnification to times when seeing is really good. Somewhere along the line it would be great to have this magnification available for those occasions, but in the meantime, I feel you would use the x160 obtained with a x2 Barlow much more often especially in the UK.

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I have had many people suggest BSIA and I really do mean to pop down there one night when they are on, have just never got round to doing so yet.

Thanks for directing me to the Altair's, some real food for thought there (e.g is it worth going over budget for the better eye relief, if it is worth it should I get the 6mm or go all out with a 9mm and barlow, definately blowing the budget and the 9mm is close to my 10mm already - not ready to start replacing EP's yet surely).

Out of interest - say I were to go for a 6mm in either the BCO, BST (5mm in this case), NPL or the Altair, which would be better and by how much would it be better, considering the £5-£20 difference between each eyepiece?

Also thanks Patrick, you have really helped through out here, I would have thought that the 2.5x would automatically be better for me! 

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The Baader CO 6mm would be a better optical performer than the BST Starguider 5mm or the Altair 6mm but the differences are slight rather than obvious unless you are a reasonably experienced observer.

The 2x Revelation Barlow is a mediocre performer wheras the 2.5x is a bit above what you might expect for the price.

Barlow lenses, however good, don't overcome the limits on useful magnification set by the aperture of the scope and the seeing conditions though.

 

 

 

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