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By Cosmic Geoff
Some quick results on Mars from the morning of 20 July. The seeing was good and Mars at a good altitude. Equipment: CPC800, ASI224MC with IR-cut and IR-pass filters, ADC.
The surface features show more clearly in infrared. I forgot to try a Barlow lens on this small target, but have not had any good results with the cheap Skywatcher x2 Barlow in the past. So these images are kinda small; I was going to x2 them in Photoshop but am having a problem with my network just now.
The surface detail checks out as Syrtis Major and Hellas with the southern icecap.
I have an eyepiece budget of $1,000 and would like your insights, please, to help me make the best choices.By StarGazingSiouxsie
My budget for eyepieces is $1,000.
I started off thinking I would get a Celestron eyepiece kit for about $200, for example. After trying a few out, I soon realised that I wanted eyepieces of higher quality. My mindset is that I'm investing $2,000 in my telescope, a Celestron 9.25 SCT, and I want to be able to extract from that scope the very best views that I can.
I'm looking to buy 3 eyepieces maximum (not including a Barlow)
Ideally - if possible - I would like to get eyepieces that I can use on both my telescopes, but my priority is toward the 9.25" as that is the bigger investment.
Both my telescopes have 1.25" barrels.
* Cassie - A Celestron Newtonian. Aperture = 130mm, FL = 650mm, FR = f5 Max useable magnification between 250x and 307x
* The Cubble Space Telescope - A Celestron SCT. Aperture = 235mm FL = 2350mm, FR = f10 Max useable magnification between 460x and 550x
I don't feel comfortable spending more than about $300 on each eyepiece
I want these eyepieces to last as long as possible. I try to look after thinbgs if I can.
Decent eye relief if possible
I will purchase a Barlow separately
Field of view - something 60% +
My observing will be probably 80% solar system planets & moon, 20% deeper sky objects
I'm not that in atsrophotogarphy. I have a little Celestron NexImage 10 with which I am hoping to make some videos and stacked images of Jupiter, Saturn and detailed imaging of Pluto ( )
I really just want the WOW factor right now. Enjoying the thrill of Saturn;s rings, tracking Jupiter's 4 main moons, detailed lunar observing etc.
So what would be your suggestions or advice, please?
I have been looking at the Tele Vue Delos & Delite range. The Nagler range looks nice but I'm note sure if I need 82' field of view. A bit pricey, too.
Explore Scientific's offerings are a possibilty.
What's the deal with zoom eyepieces? Does that mean you can have an eyepiece that will do the job, for example, of a 6mm, 7mm, 8mm and 9mm eyepiece all in one? Is there a trade off?? What's the catch??
Regarding Barlows, I was thinking of just keeping it simple and getting a decent 2x lens without spending crazy money. Something in the $150 range. Or would I need a high end Barlow to complement the better eyepieces I am hoping for???
Overall, I'm looking for 2 or 3 eyepieces and 1 Barlow with a $1,000 budget. Any thoughts, ideas, advice or opinions all gratefully received, thank you.
By Victor Boesen
Perhaps the title is lying a tiny bit... After sleeping for one hour I woke up not able to fall asleep again after numerous attempts. I took the obligatory gaze outside at the bright summer sky with some faint noctilucent clouds towards the north. Jupiter and Saturn looked beautiful in the south and that was when I felt a sudden itch to get out my small grab and go setup. I quickly grabbed my tripod, mount-head and telescope to head downstairs to the parking lot where I quickly set up the scope. Cool-down was almost not a problem because of the hot 20 degree air which was very comfortable observing temperatures.
Starting with Jupiter, after I had achieved focus on Altair, the two main cloud bands very obvious together with three of its moons hovering like pin-points around the perfect round sphere. I've previously been a little disappointed with the view of Jupiter with this small Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro but I blamed it on my own patience and this morning I proved myself right. After studying the planet for a couple of minutes I noticed the Ganymede shadow transit located just above (almost on the edge of) the northern equatorial belt and letting the planet drift through the FOV at 90X magnification with the 4.7mm explore scientific eyepiece the shadow together with the bands popped at me at times of great seeing. The moments where you're almost "falling into" a better and better planetary image is truly amazing and the small 72mm scope did a very good job also resolving the shadow transit as a "globe" rather than a dot. Only rarely could I tell the slight variations in the two main cloud bands of Jupiter but this was very difficult with only 72mm.
Saturn proved to be equally fascinating just like every other time I point the telescope towards the ringed planet. Immediately slight banding was visible on the planet and the rings were very defined with the Cassini-division visible in moments of good seeing but really standing out in brief moments of very good seeing. The small evostar 72 has no problem on Saturn whereas more patience is required with Jupiter because of its low contrast features. Saturn never disappoints.
Moving on to Mars I noticed how it had increased slightly in size since I observed it last time about a month ago. The southern polar cap was still very obvious but for some reason I recalled it being even more noticeable last time I observed Mars but I could be wrong. Right above the polar cap was a dark spot which extended to the planet's equator but not covering the entirety of the disk's width. I didn't notice any features on the northern half of the disk. The evostar does a surprisingly good job on Mars, which often causes problems for other doublet refractors with trouble correcting the red part of the visible spectrum. The evostar doesn't have much unfocused red light around the planet and the view isn't "mushy" like it would be in cases of a badly corrected refractor.
I love my grab and go setup but I also feel like I need a higher magnification eyepiece since my current weapon of choice is my 4.7mm explore scientific 82 degree eyepiece which delivers about 90X magnification. I've almost always felt I could easily push magnifications to the plus side of 100X and the Nagler zoom 3-6mm is ranked very high on my wish list:) August this year marks the first year of owning the Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro and I haven't had a moment where I didn't love it. The size of it is perfect and the supplied flight case for the scope is airline portable together with some room for accessories. The optics are very good even for decent planetary observing like it was the case this morning, and I feel like I haven't utilized the scope's abilities entirely just because I think it could take even higher magnifications. I have also used it for astrophotography on my star adventurer which yields very good results with the OVL field flattener and my old Nikon D3300.
This post ended up being quite long but I hope it was worth the read anyways. If you're considering the Evostar-72 I once again highly recommend it if you couldn't already tell from this post;)
Clear skies, Victor
By Cosmic Geoff
Following my effort of 22 June, being unable to lift anything heavy, I set up my lighter weight telescope in a different position from the previous night to get some images of Mars. This was the first serious use of my EQ-5 with Synscan upgrade. I set up the gear and left it tracking the assumed GoTo position of Jupiter for a couple of hours. At 2am, Jupiter was not within the 25mm eyepiece field. Not so impressive.
I repeated the imaging of Jupiter and Saturn, and also took images with the ZWO infrared filter. While slewing back to Jupiter, now apparently past the meridian, the mount did a meridian flip and ended up pointing at a street lamp. I was not impressed. ☹️
Eventually Mars emerged from behind an adjacent building, and I took images in IR, visual, and visual with a x2 Barlow lens.
Equipment: 127mm Maksutov 1500mm fl, ASI224MC camera, ADC, x2 Skywatcher Barlow, best 20% of 5000 frames (visual), processed in Registax6. EQ-5 Pro Synscan mount.
Key: Monochrome images were taken in infrared. Larger Mars image with Barlow. Mars was jigging about in the poor seeing by nearly its diameter (11"). Note: the hottest moon (Io, to left of planet) seems slightly brighter in the IR images. I think the 127mm Mak punches through poor seeing better than larger apertures.
By Tenor Viol
I am currently waiting for a nice shiny 100mm refractor to arrive... to put on my new HEQ5 PRO.
Meanwhile, lurking in the garage in a case that hasn't been opened in over 20 years is a 40 years old this year Celestron C8 - the original fork mounted type in orange.... I'm suspecting that in order to get say a long dovetail plate to fit to it will require some modifications? At 2,000mm f/10 it will be good for lunar and Jupiter and Saturn.
Has anyone any experience of doing this with the old style C8? It's fair to say I either lack the requisite skills or equipment to do anything more complex than screw/bolt things together, is if it is more than that, suggestions as to who could carry out any necessary modifications would be welcome. I realise DEC balance will be an issue on a GEM with an SCT...
(In case you're wondering... back in 1980 when I bought it, there were no such things as dew straps, or much of anything else and I just found it not easy to use, eyepieces were ferociously expensive and I was a lowly bank clerk at the time, then I bought a house....).