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Stargazing101

Best eyepiece for saturn

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hey guys i have had my celestron explorascope 114 az for around 5 months and i have seen saturn and jupiter through my 3x barlow and 20mm eyepiece and it was a bit small to see. i recently bought a 2x barlow, a 6mm plossl eyepiece and a 15 mm kellner eyepiece along with some filters. i was wondering what would be the best for viewing saturn and jupiter (mainly saturn) if there are eyepieces that you can recommend can you please send a link to a shop were i can buy them from.

 

Thanks 

Edited by Stargazing101
mistake

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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

Your scope has a focal length of 1000mm, and you work out the magnification by focal length of scope divided by focal length of eyepiece. Where there is a barlow involved it effectively increases the focal length of the scope by its multiplying factor.

So, your mags are as follows:

20mm = x50

15mm = x67

15mm with x2 barlow = x133

20mm with x3 barlow = x149

15mm with x3 barlow = x200

2mm = x500

Your scope will probably be ok, if cooled and collimated up to around x150 perhaps, maybe a little more on good nights. I’m afraid the 2mm is effectively useless as it will give large but blurry images.

Planets are small, and even in the best scopes never get to be huge. It is best to train yourself to observe with a smaller but clearer image and then you will see the detail. A quick 10 second look won’t show you much.

I would say something around a 6 to 8mm would be useful, and a better quality eyepiece willmimprove over the barlowed ones you currently have.

For around £50 you can bet BST Starguiders which are highly recommended. They do an 8mm, or perhaps a 15mm and the barlow would give you more options.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

Vixen NLVs are also very good for a reasonable budget.

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Small and sharp is better than a larger but indistinct blob. 

It’s very common to want to stick the highest powered eyepiece in a scope to get maximum magnification but this often works against us. 

I even did it the other night when testing my new scope - sticking a 4.9mm et in a scope with a focal length of 2500mm - to look at Jupiter. However the best views I got were when I put my 24mm in (just over 100x magnification). Jupiter was much smaller but so sharp and well defined, I could just drink in the detail. 

The best analogy I can give is imagine you’re looking at a photo of a bird. The bird is rather small but you can see plenty of detail if you spend the time to look carefully. However you decide to zoom in at which point the photo starts to pixelate - you can still see it’s a bird but whilst it’s larger it’s less defined. 

This is what it’s like chasing max mag. Sometimes less power it actually better and as Stu says above you need to spend the time viewing the object. 

Also look at the ‘What can I expect to see’ thread at the top of the first beginners forum. Very helpful in learning what to expect. 

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I really enjoy Jupiter using a 15mm EP. It's small but I can see lovely detail. I can 4 moons dancing around the planet. if I look long enough, details start to show. My usual planet EP is an 8mm.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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31 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I really enjoy Jupiter using a 15mm EP. It's small but I can see lovely detail. I can 4 moons dancing around the planet if I look long enough. My usual planet EP is an 8mm.

What mags are they in your scope Paul?

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My SCT has a FL of 2032mm. So, FL divided by EP........ :

15mm gives mag of 135x

8mm gives mag of 254x

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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Scroll down and look at the pictures here

The small pictures are with a telescope nearly twice the size of yours.  You may need to re-evaluate your expectations?

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30 minutes ago, JOC said:

Scroll down and look at the pictures here

The small pictures are with a telescope nearly twice the size of yours.  You may need to re-evaluate your expectations?

I think this is probably correct. Having recently looked at Jupiter through a 114/500 the best eyepiece was a 4mm. With the current low altitude anything more was too much. For your 114/1000 I would expect you would find the same issue once you get down to an 8mm (or the current 15mm+2X barlow). However, the corrector lenses in this type of telescope do not have a good reputation and it is possible even these suggested magnification levels will be too high for your scope. 

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Even with my 8", Jupiter is roughly same size as seen with 4" scope. Difference is aperture. 8" collects a LOT more light which allows for better views, details etc. Saturn too. 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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2 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Even with my 8", Jupiter is roughly same size as seen with 4" scope. Difference is aperture. 8" collects a LOT more light which allows for better views, details etc. Saturn too. 

I think FL is very important here as well as aperture. My SW 150P has an FL of 750mm, my LX200 - 2500mm

To get 100x mag in the SW I need a 7.5mm eyepiece, the LX only 25mm. This coupled with the fact at 100x I am nowhere near the useful limit on the LX means that whilst Jupiter is the same size in each the LX is much sharper with a nice FOV to set him against. 

Sure the SW can take 100x as well but not with quite such ease and good short focal length eyepieces can soon get costly. 

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Yes, you are right. The FL of a scope is of course one of the main things when talking about magnification. 

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21 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Yes, you are right. The FL of a scope is of course one of the main things when talking about magnification. 

And to be honest, until I got the LX200 set up the other night I didn't realise how nice it is to have a long, large aperture scope just ticking along with a nice widefield, long focal length eyepiece (in my case an ES MaxVision 2" 24mm - just lovely).

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A 114mm can go up to 200x on a good day. Saturn can take 200x, for Jupiter it is often too much. Steady nights where the "seeing" is good are critical if you want to see the Cassini Division with your small scope. Bright planets, such as Saturn and Jupiter, can also be viewed in the twilight. As ones eyes are not fully dark adapted in the twilight, it is often easier to spot colours in the planets, due to the eye still using its cones rather than going exclusively to rods.

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6 hours ago, Arcturus D said:

As ones eyes are not fully dark adapted in the twilight, it is often easier to spot colours in the planets, due to the eye still using its cones rather than going exclusively to rods.

Interesting point and not one I had thought of. But yes, now I think about it Jupiter recently has looked lovely between 9 and 10pm when it has first made an appearance 

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6 hours ago, Arcturus D said:

It is often easier to spot colours in the planets, due to the eye still using its cones rather than going exclusively to rods.

That’s absolutely right. I definitely see more colour with my 4” under twilight conditions. Similar effect with bright DSOs like M42, I see definite green when not fully dark adapted, not sure I do as much under darker conditions. Different matter with a larger scope of course.

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Some planetary observers, when observing in darkness, shine a white light on a piece of white card and stare at it for a short while to provoke the opposite of dark adaptation, and improve the contrast and colour of their intended targets.

If they are observing next to deep sky enthusiasts, there might be some "discussion" about this technique I reckon :undecided:

 

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On ‎23‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 19:12, John said:

Some planetary observers, when observing in darkness, shine a white light on a piece of white card and stare at it for a short while to provoke the opposite of dark adaptation, and improve the contrast and colour of their intended targets.

If they are observing next to deep sky enthusiasts, there might be some "discussion" about this technique I reckon :undecided:

The Moon is currently sitting between Mars & Saturn, and at around 80%, Magnitude -11, so should get those cones active; and the DSO enthusiasts will have probably gone home.

I also like to view the planets using my binoviewer; my brain prefers similar information in both eyes, and it reduces the effects of "floaters" at the higher magnifications.

Geoff 

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8 minutes ago, Geoff Lister said:

I also like to view the planets using my binoviewer; my brain prefers similar information in both eyes, and it reduces the effects of "floaters" at the higher magnifications.

I wish that were the case for me Geoff. Binoviewers work brilliantly for me for white light and Ha Solar, plus lunar, but planetary for some reason I just don’t get as much detail as with cyclops. The floaters are much better controlled and colour is better but detail not :( 

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As mentioned scope size makes the big difference . I have a 8” sct i use with a 25mm and a 2x barlow for very nice views and compared to jupiter which gives about the same size viewing . Then i have a 80mm refractor which using the same setup still nice views but very small . For a bigger size compared view i need my 18mm or 12mm plossi with barlow which gives me 6mm equivelant . However i much more prefer the 18mm with barlow . As mentioned , if too much power then views actually break down instead of clearing up . 

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I use 17MM wide angle eyepiece with 2 X barlow on my ED80

Try using blue filter as well

Experiment with your filters

 

 

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On 23/05/2018 at 14:12, John said:

Some planetary observers, when observing in darkness, shine a white light on a piece of white card and stare at it for a short while to provoke the opposite of dark adaptation, and improve the contrast and colour of their intended targets.

If they are observing next to deep sky enthusiasts, there might be some "discussion" about this technique I reckon :undecided:

 

I had a strange experience like that a few days ago. I was dark adapted while  observing the Pinwheel galaxy, then, I used my red light (which is in fact too strong) to sketch the faint galaxy for a few minutes looking at the white sheet. When I finished, I looked up and all the stars were green like looking at them trough my #56 Light green wratten, Jupiter especially remained green for more then 30 seconds.

A strange experience and a bit scary too.. I usually use my very faint red light to sketch, not the very strong one.

Edited by N3ptune
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2 hours ago, N3ptune said:

Jupiter especially remained green for more then 30 seconds.

Funny, my grass always looks browny/purple when I’ve been observing the sun through using a continuum filter for a while, soon turns green again though ;) 

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For you telescope, 114mm , you don't really want to magnify much more than 200X.. and this is during better than average seeing.

At 1000mm focal length your scope will magnify 166X, so even using a 2X barlow with it will be over kill for your aperture. As a rule of thumb, about magnification of 50X per inch of aperture is best for planets when seeing allows it... so that translated to 224X for a 114mm mirror.

The best eyepieces for your scope, I recommend is a 11mm Televue Nagler Type 6 with a 2.5X powermate. This combo will give you nice and clear views, mobility to magnify at around you scopes theoretical max power and half power. Add to this combo a Baader Neodymium and Contrast booster filters and you will have nights where you'll end up with a smile ear to ear which will still be plastered across your face when you pack up and lay down to sleep.

Don't forget to collimate.

 

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So would I be right in saying with my 114 mm fl, my 6 mm lense with X2 Barlow is the best set up

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