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I have an eyepiece budget of $1,000 and would like your insights, please, to help me make the best choices.


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Hello there :) 

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.

Wishlist - 

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% + 


 

Usage - 

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. 

 

 

Questions -  

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. 

Edited by StarGazingSiouxsie
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Hi Siouxsie. 

Personally I think if it was me I would choose the TeleVue Delos's & DeLite's as you mentioned. For the focal lengths, I think it is a personal preference. I only have the TeleVue 6mm Radian; (which was the predecessor); and I do like it. Radian's occasionally come up for sale secondhand.

Now for the zoom. Having borrowed the Baader mkIV at the end of February this year [2020], from a fellow member of my local astro-society/club for an hour, I was very pleased with it. I may consider purchasing one. I do not think I would go for any other brand. That said; I do have a cheap zoom I purchased from AstroBoot a few years ago; that I use for public outreach, star parties or when travelling light, i.e. on an aircraft or public transport, etc., with my 're-modded' ETX105 and a few 'cheap' prime e/ps.

For the Barlow I would stick with TeleVue if using with TeleVue e/p's. If I was using Explore Scientific, I would say, stick with Explore Scientific.

I would like to mention that I have no business interests, dealings or financial rewards, etc., from TeleVue or any of the other company buisnesses listed here or elsewhere and/or their affiliated dealers/re-sellers, etc.

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Firstly, I think you should forget those maximum magnification numbers. They are based on long focal ratio refractors (which your scopes aren't), scientifically splitting tight double stars (which you're not doing), and without taking into account the atmosphere (which will heavily impact on at least the C9.25). For planets and star clusters your optimum will max out at about half that, and for extended DSOs, about a quarter, and that still doesn't take into account the atmosphere.

You want to concentrate on the C9.25 and planetary viewing so I am going to make a suggestion that only applies to that, and not the small Newtonian: get a binoviewer. Using two eyes will show you more detail (and I think allow a slightly higher magnification), than using one eye. You also don't need to buy really expensive eyepieces to go in it. I suggest that you look at getting the Baader maxbright 2, possibly one of their T-threaded diagonals, and a GPC that will give you about 150X when using 32mm Plossls or 25mm Orthos. If you want full disk lunar, you'll need a variation that gives around 100X, but I don't know if that is possible. I think there is a specialist SCT GPC, but I don't remember the specifications.

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I think that your inexpensive Newtonian at f5 focal ratio wil benefit much more from exotic eyepieces than the expensive C9.25 at f10.  I found that the Celestron X-cel LX eyepieces, or even the humble Celestron Omni Plossls, worked well enough in a C8.

As for the Barlow lens, you don't need one for a f10 telescope. A regular eyepiece of around 6mm or 10mm will give all the power you are likely to need.

I second the suggestion of a binoviewer.  Actually, I found planetary visual observation a bit disappointing and moved into planetary imaging to get the best view I could out of the optics.

Depending on your latitude, which you have not disclosed, you may also find an ADC (atmospheric dispersion corrector) useful.  An ADC is almost essential for viewing Jupiter and Saturn in the UK at present as they are very low in the sky.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff
ADC
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Hello. If you want a quality eyepiece , that has good fov and eye relief and quality optics then the TV Delos range is certainly a contender. The other possibility is the Pentax XW range in the 3.5XW to the 10XW, above this and there have been reports of field curvature problems. Obviously depending on the focal length you need then both the Delos and Pentax should certainly be contenders.

 

 

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Basing it on the 9.25 being your primary:

Don't worry about the Barlow in the 9.25 (as others have mentioned) it probably wont be needed in many circumstances.  Your 9.25 is also far more adaptable with  cheaper eps than the f5.

As a cpc800 user myself  I would recommend (as always) a Baader hyperion zoom 8-24 , which gives you good ep's in one and is quite fun in its own way. it has both a 1.25" nozzle and 2" screw on adaptor so can be used on both diagonals...Saying that I would then get a 2" diagonal (with a locking system, not the screws) with a 1.25 adaptor. Maybe a celestron one (it comes with a 2" sct thread so you dont need a 2" visual back), the reason being that I like the widefield views). You can stick with the 1.25 diagonal however.

And finally I would get a good wide field EP from explore scientific. if budget allows...probably a 34/68 this is a 2", so It depends if your smaller scope will fit a 2" diagonal (wfitting and comfortabe weight wise) and how much you want to use the bigger EP in the small scope. if you dont want the 2" ep then I would go for an explore scientific 24/68.

Personally id get the 2". If budget doesnt alow the wider ep, then cheaper alternatives as the william oprics swan, Orion Q70 or agenaastro (us shop) do their own version which is cheaper still. This I would consider a good base for your kit covering most things, and if and when you want something specific in the future tailor a future purchase ep for that. The kit mentioned above is considered flexible enough to keep you going for a long time).Of course everyone is going to recommend TV ect, but the sct can handle slightly cheaper (but still very good) stuff better than other types of scopes so the visual experience is (imo) fairly marginal and in some cases unnoticable Beware that some recommendations are based on people with refractors ect, so their viewing experience may differ from SCT's, so always good to ask. :)

so if brought in UK: Baader zoom £180, Diagonal £180, ES 2" "£210 or 1.25" £138. Thats coming up to near $1000.

Alternatively, scrap the 2" idea if you wish, get the zoom the 1.25 ES EP and save the money for another EP further down the road once you have a bit of experience with the zoom and 1.25.  You might want to use that $ to fund a filter of some kind (UHC or OIII) for help with nebulas.

The zoom pretty much covers planetry for me, the wide field is for the pretty stars and nebulas (ooohh, ahhhh :) ), as well as my general finder.

Edited by DeathWarpedUp
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The C8, (and presumably the C9.25) comes with a nice 1.25" prism diagonal. So far, I have seen no reason to change it for another diagonal which would most likely not give any visual improvement regardless of cost.  Same for 2" components. I have a 32mm Plossl which I rarely bother to get out of the box.  If I want widefield, I have other scopes.

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For my C9.25, my most used eyepieces are 22mm and 10mm. I use the 22mm (LVW) for galaxies (x107) and the 10mm (NLV) for planets (x235). I use Vixen eyepieces, the LVW not being available anymore. I also use a 6mm for double stars.

If you are going Televue, my choices would be:

  • 24mm Panoptic - x98 in C925, x27 in 130mm
  • 11mm Delite - x214 in C925, x59 in 130mm
  • 7mm Delite - x336 in C925, x93 in 130mm

That would be it. The 130mm is best suited to wide field/low power; the C925 for planets/high power.  If I wanted to spent more I might just slip a 9mm in, between the 11 and 7, but could manage without; same with the gap between 24mm and 11mm - maybe a 15mm for globular clusters

You don't need a Barlow with a C925 unless you are doing planetary imaging.

 

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Thank you very much to everyone who has replied and offered their thoughts, advice and opinions. I really do appreciate that. I have some follow up questions which I will be posting soon. 

The lattitude where I currently live and am observing from is 38.5254" 

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So, you know that feeling when you've just spent a load of money and you're thinking "I hope I did the right thing at the right price", etc. I'm old enough now to know that 'right' is subjective and a very moveable term, definition wise. Last time I felt like this I was 17 and just bought a pair of leather thigh-high boots up the west end. But then, like now, hopefully, turned out to be worth every penny (or Cent in my current circumstances). 

Like most purchases, my shopping bag contains an element of compromise. This is what I ended up buying:

* Tele Vue Delos (72° FOV) 17mm eyepiece with 20mm of eye relief and adjustable eyepiece viewing height. Standard 1.25 barrel fit  $350
Tele Vue Delos (72° FOV) 8mm eyepiece with 20mm of eye relief and adjustable eyepiece viewing height. Standard 1.25 barrel fit  $350
* Tele Vue 2x Barlow $120 

So I ended up spending under my budget which is always good. I would have liked to have got a 22mm 0r 24mm eyepiece for lower maginification tasks but the ones available didn't offer me the eye relief I need nor the minimum 72° FOV that I wanted. Plus, both eyepieces will work in both my telescopes. Whilst the 5" Newtonian, Cassie, has her limits, one thing massively in her favour is her portabality; she is mounted on a lightweight altaz mount that is light enough for me pick up and move anywhere at a whim and no realignments etc needed.

So I'm happy with what I got, am lucky to be able to get them and I very much appreciate all the advice I received, thanks. 


 

Edited by StarGazingSiouxsie
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8 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I think that your inexpensive Newtonian at f5 focal ratio wil benefit much more from exotic eyepieces than the expensive C9.25 at f10.  I found that the Celestron X-cel LX eyepieces, or even the humble Celestron Omni Plossls, worked well enough in a C8.

As for the Barlow lens, you don't need one for a f10 telescope. A regular eyepiece of around 6mm or 10mm will give all the power you are likely to need.

I second the suggestion of a binoviewer.  Actually, I found planetary visual observation a bit disappointing and moved into planetary imaging to get the best view I could out of the optics.

Depending on your latitude, which you have not disclosed, you may also find an ADC (atmospheric dispersion corrector) useful.  An ADC is almost essential for viewing Jupiter and Saturn in the UK at present as they are very low in the sky.

Thanks, Geoff

I'm getting the Barlow to use with my video camera that I'll be using to enable stacked images of Jupiter / Saturn (hopefully) with Cubble (the 9.25 SCT) Plus it gives me some options with Cassie (5" Newtonian)

I did purchase some binoviwers a while back. I get a pair made by Willams Optics. I have not tried them out on Cubble yet. I did on Cassie but I was unable to achieve focus, even when using a 1.5 Barlow. So another reason to see if a 2x will help in that regard.

The ADC sounds intresting. Are they straightforward to install? I was observing Jupiter & Saturn (or trying to ;) ) with Cassie a few nights back. They were both at appx 20 degrees up at the time. I was not able to get focus very well, although I was using low end eyepieces. Maybe turbulence in the atmosphere affected my efforts? I was very disappointed. So maybe the ADC will help when observing at those altitudes. 

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4 hours ago, StarGazingSiouxsie said:

The ADC sounds intresting. Are they straightforward to install? I was observing Jupiter & Saturn (or trying to ;) ) with Cassie a few nights back. They were both at appx 20 degrees up at the time. I was not able to get focus very well, although I was using low end eyepieces. Maybe turbulence in the atmosphere affected my efforts? I was very disappointed. So maybe the ADC will help when observing at those altitudes.

The ADC is very straightforward to install. Just fit it between diagonal and eyepiece and then do a major re-focus. If you noted any blue or red fringing, the ADC, correctly set, will get rid of it.

Is sounds like turbulence was to blame for the "bad focus" - situation normal: blurry except for brief glimpses of a clearer view.  At 20 deg this is to be expected. I suspect you will find it looks the same with the $350 eyepieces.

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16 hours ago, StarGazingSiouxsie said:

So, you know that feeling when you've just spent a load of money and you're thinking "I hope I did the right thing at the right price", etc. I'm old enough now to know that 'right' is subjective and a very moveable term, definition wise. Last time I felt like this I was 17 and just bought a pair of leather thigh-high boots up the west end. But then, like now, hopefully, turned out to be worth every penny (or Cent in my current circumstances). 

Like most purchases, my shopping bag contains an element of compromise. This is what I ended up buying:

* Tele Vue Delos (72° FOV) 17mm eyepiece with 20mm of eye relief and adjustable eyepiece viewing height. Standard 1.25 barrel fit  $350
Tele Vue Delos (72° FOV) 8mm eyepiece with 20mm of eye relief and adjustable eyepiece viewing height. Standard 1.25 barrel fit  $350
* Tele Vue 2x Barlow $120 

So I ended up spending under my budget which is always good. I would have liked to have got a 22mm 0r 24mm eyepiece for lower maginification tasks but the ones available didn't offer me the eye relief I need nor the minimum 72° FOV that I wanted. Plus, both eyepieces will work in both my telescopes. Whilst the 5" Newtonian, Cassie, has her limits, one thing massively in her favour is her portabality; she is mounted on a lightweight altaz mount that is light enough for me pick up and move anywhere at a whim and no realignments etc needed.

So I'm happy with what I got, am lucky to be able to get them and I very much appreciate all the advice I received, thanks. 


 

These are not to be sneezed at...
IMG_0324.thumb.JPG.46240330106212d8840e165957e3fd01.JPG

...the SkyWatcher 2"/28mm LET|LER Apex. They are a lot better than what I thought for a budget e/p. Also; the rubber eyeguard is twist up; (the end cap is from a 35mm film cannister).

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