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Ardrid

Best Starting Equipment (Eyepieces, Barlow, etc.)

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Hi everyone,

I was lucky enough to get a 12" Skywatcher Dobsonian (305mm/1500mm) for Christmas. It shipped with a 10mm Plossl and a 25mm Plossl, both 52° AFOV. Finally had a clear enough night to try it out and I absolutely loved it. I researched a bunch over the last year so I knew this was the scope I wanted should someone want to get me a really sweet gift before I grabbed it myself. What I didn't research at the time was accessories and equipment, something I've been doing relentlessly over the past few days.

I'll primarily be viewing in the backyard until I find a great viewing spot (and a good way to safely transport). Light pollution isn't terrible but I haven't fully gauged its impact on seeing fainter objects. I'm not interested in imagery/photography at the moment. Not foreclosing on the idea by any means but everything I'm looking to add is purely for visual gratification at this point. Hoping the experts out there can lead me in the right direction. Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

 

1. What eyepieces should I pick up?

I've read that, generally speaking, you want 2-3 premium pieces in over to cover low, medium, and high magnification. I'm currently looking at the following "sets": 5mm Nagler, 13mm Ethos, 35mm Panoptic or 6mm Ethos, 13mm Ethos, 21mm Ethos. I'm not overly concerned about price. I recognize that there's going to be a premium associated with a brand like TeleVue and with squeezing out that last drop of performance; however, I don't want to throw away money unnecessarily if I'm not going to see a benefit from pulling out the stops. I'm not beholden to TV by any stretch but everyone says they're the gold standard so I figured I'd look there first. I'm not looking to grab everything at once either. Was thinking of starting with the 13mm Ethos since it would fill the mid-range gap between my 10mm and 25mm. 

2. Should I grab a Paracorr?

I've read many comments that go back and forth on this but the consensus seems to be that, while it's not crucial at f/4.9 like it would be with a faster scope, it's something I should probably have in the arsenal if I'm using wide field eyepieces, which the ones I'm contemplating are. I couldn't detect any coma with the two eyepieces I currently have but I suspect I probably wouldn't given the FOV and my beginner status. I also think that once I see it I'm not going to be able to unsee it. 

3. Should I pick up a Barlow?

This question assumes I'm not getting a Paracorr. I like the idea of essentially doubling the number of eyepieces I have but I'm not too sure of the ultimate utility/necessity of it.

4. Any other crucial accessories I should have?

I'm looking at a Cheshire collimator for when the time comes. Aside from that, is there anything else I should absolutely have?

5. Finally, any suggestions on transporting?

It goes without saying but this baby is heavy. I don't have a garage, and I'm hesitant to store it in the shed, so what I've been doing is removing the OTA from the base and transporting them separately to the backyard for setup. It's not bad but I can see it getting old after awhile, especially with numerous viewing sessions in a row. After all, I didn't get this scope so it could collect dust; I want to use it as often as the weather lets me. I do plan on replacing the feet with wheels so I can at least roll it, but I'm trying to figure out a good solution to getting it in and out of the house (down 3 small steps) to the backyard without damaging it or breaking my back. 

I think that's all I have for now. I appreciate any help you all can provide. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can so I can have a great experience and eventually show my little guy all about the joys of astronomy. Thanks everyone!

Edited by Ardrid

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Hi and welcome to the forum :smiley:

I'm sure you will get lots of advice in due course from experienced owners of similar scopes.

I've gone down the Tele Vue route myself (some years back) and have not regretted it but there are other options around now which can strongly rival the Tele Vue products so it's worth seeing what alternative suggestions come forward.

My 12" dob is F/5.3 and I don't use a Paracorr. My main eyepieces for this scope are:

Nagler 31

Ethos 21

Ethos 13

Ethos 8

Ethos 6

Plus a Powermate 2x for when the seeing / target will benefit from really high powers.

But as I said, there are other excellent options available now from brands such as Explore Scientific, APM and one or two others and your £'s / $'s will go further with those :smiley:

Transportation can he helped through a set of "wheely bars" like this:

dscobel_40g.jpg.4d3e87e48fc6c5615db2e0d062613b32.jpg

Hope you enjoy your scope and your time on the forum !

 

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I ought to add that the Nagler 31 does not show much more sky than the Ethos 21 does so is a bit of an extravagance with this scope but it's an old friend and useful with other scopes that I own so I'm not going to part with it :smiley:

 

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Thanks for the response, John. Sounds like you're definitely endorsing the Ethos line ?

I'm assuming you use the 31mm or 21mm to locate and then step "down" incrementally to hone in on the detail depending on what you're looking at. How does looking at planets feel with the higher AFOV? Are there any other accessories you think I should immediately grab before I even commit to the additional EPs?

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I find the wider AFoV very helpful when viewing at high power because it makes the task of manual tracking that much easier - you get more "drift time" to study the target before nudging it back across the field to drift across again. Well, thats the way I do it anyway !

If you have not already got one, a zero magnification illuminated reticule finder such as the Telrad is a really good addition to a 12 inch dobsonian. I'd put a higher priority on that than eyepiece upgrades.

 

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2 hours ago, John said:

I find the wider AFoV very helpful when viewing at high power because it makes the task of manual tracking that much easier - you get more "drift time" to study the target before nudging it back across the field to drift across again. Well, thats the way I do it anyway !

If you have not already got one, a zero magnification illuminated reticule finder such as the Telrad is a really good addition to a 12 inch dobsonian. I'd put a higher priority on that than eyepiece upgrades.

 

Would this do the trick?

https://agenaastro.com/telrad-reflex-finder.html

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