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Newbie Essentials For 127 Mak (Inc EP)


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So after lots of searching and thinking and looking some more I went for the 127 mak on the GoTo. Thanks everyone so much for your advice. 

The 127 looks like a great grab and go with the mount and hopefully my daughter and I can get more into it I'll get a big DOB. 

Anyway, now it's the next issue. What are the essentials?! 

I'll (ahem We) will be viewing the planets and the moon. 

A dew shield sounds like a must for this scope. 

What else do I need? Some sort of filter?

What eyepieces? 

Any links to specifics would be greatly appreciated! 

Thanks again all. 

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Get a decent diagonal. Something like this.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/diagonals/stellamira-1-25-90-di-electric-diagonal.html

The stock plastic one isn’t well made.

Don’t bother with coloured filters as they aren’t that usefull. Better to get more specised filters.The Badder neodynium is ideal for the moon and planets.

 https://www.firstlightoptics.com/light-pollution-reduction/baader-neodymium-filter.html

Some peoples eyes are more sensitive to light and find a moon filter can help but I’d suggest waiting to see if you find the moon too bright. The variable polarising filter is usefull for this. Also comes in handy for viewing Venus..

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/moon-neutral-density-filters/astro-essentials-variable-polarising-moon-filter.html

As for eyepieces the BST Starguiders are excellent but try the stock ones first to get a feel for what focal lengths will work for you. Perhaps an 8mm and a 15mm or 18mm to start with.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/search/for/starguider/

And yes a dew shield is a must with a mak.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dew-prevention/astrozap-flexible-dew-shield.html

Edited by johninderby
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Thanks John.

Does a better diagonal add anything to the viewing experience apart from build quality?

With a specialised filter, they seem to cut out some or the surrounding light (or help with it anyway), do they help with viewing too?

Really appreciate your time replying. Thank you

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The basic cheapie plastic diagonal isn’t that terrible opticaly when new but not as good as a proper diagonal that will have it’s mirror properly held in place. The better diagonal will also hold your eyepieces more securely as it will have a compression band type of eyepiece holder wheras the cheapie uses just a simple screw that you tighten until it digs into the eyepiece barrel and also the eyepiece holder is plastic. Not marking up the barrels of your eyepieces means a lot to most people.

It’s a common complaint that the included diagonals are the cheapest ones available that don’t let you get the best out of your scope. I see them more as something to use right away until you can get a proper one. Better than nothing I suppose. Bit like the quality of the supplied eyepices. 

The neodynium filter is the best moon and planetary filter that I’ve found. It does help with light polution a bit  but the biggest benefit is the improvement in planetary views. On the moon I like it as it gives the moon a nice neutral grey colour and increased contrast. If you could only have one filter that would be the one to have. There are some cheap alternatives on Amazon and eBay that are a fraction of the price and while nowhere near as good as the Baader do still help a bit so worth getting one if the Baader isn’t in your budget yet.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solomark-Telescope-Sky-glow-Celestron-Sky-watcher/dp/B014MA4D1A/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=moon+and+skyglow+filter&qid=1596015958&s=electronics&sr=1-3

       John

Edited by johninderby
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A priority is to replace the 9 or 10mm eyepiece that came with the scope by buying a better quality item.  In the case of my 127mm Mak, this resulted in an immediate and obvious improvement when used on double stars.

If you don't like the build quality of the kit diagonal, then replace it, otherwise this is not a priority. I replaced the kit diagonal of my 127mm Mak with a nice Circle T prism diagonal and did not see any improvement whatsoever in the view.  When I still had my 70/700 supermarket refractor (total cost well under £100)  I tried its cheap diagonal in the Mak and could not detect any optical difference.

The specialised filters cut down the transmitted light (often drastically) and only help with specialised targets, e.g. an OIII filter on emission nebulae.  I never found the cheap coloured filters much use for anything.

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Thanks again (I really do mean it).

Am I right in that a barlow isn't much use on this telescope?

Are there any EPs that help with DSOs? I know this is only good for smaller DSOs due to the field of view, are there any wider angle ones that would be useful?

 

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19 minutes ago, hms_furious said:

Thanks again (I really do mean it).

Am I right in that a barlow isn't much use on this telescope?

Are there any EPs that help with DSOs? I know this is only good for smaller DSOs due to the field of view, are there any wider angle ones that would be useful?

 

Yes, a barlow is not needed as a good 8mm eyepiece will give you all the power you need with this scope.

You can get a wider field with a 32mm 1.25" Plossl eyepiece, or a slightly higher power eyepiece with a wider field specification (= more expensive).

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A barlow will work OK with the mak just so long as you don’t overdo it. A 7mm or 8mm eyepiece will be a good high power eyepiece with the 127 mak so you wouldn’t want to use a barlow to exceed that too much. OK using a 2x barlow on a longer focal length eyepiece to end up with something inbetween the focal lengths of eyepiece that you would have. Personaly I prefer not to use barlows but they do have their uses if used properly.

As the mak has a narrow fov there is only so much a widefield eyepiece can do to help with DSOs. There are 82degree wide angle 1.25” eyepieces that will work but can be rather expensive. The 16mm Nirvana 16mm is quite useful and a real bargain.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ovl-eyepieces/ovl-nirvana-es-uwa-82-ultrawide-eyepieces.html

And yes it is possible to use a 2” visual back on the mak so you can use 2” eyepieces but limited in usefulness as it will only allow a slightly wider fov. Better sticking with a wide angle 1.25” eyepiece.

A 32mm plossl will give a 1.0 degree fov and the Nirvana 16mm 0.84 degree fov so nearly as wide as the plossl but with higher magnification.

Edited by johninderby
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I also have a 127 Skywatcher Mak (on the az GoTo mount). The first eyepiece I bought was a Skywatcher 32mm super plossl, as @johninderby says, it gives a nice wide fov, but I personally didn’t like the long eye relief, I was struggling with kidney beaning and black-outs, so having read a review on here, I then bought a Vixen 30mm npl which has a twist up eyecup and I find this to be much more comfortable to use.
Most people say at f12 a Mak is quite forgiving on eyepieces, so on this basis, I then purchased a mix of inexpensive Skywatcher super plossl and Celestron omni plossl eyepieces and I find these work well, however eye relief gets tight below the 12.5mm. I also have a couple of BST Starguiders, these have a 60 degree fov against a 52 degree for the plossl  eyepieces. I find these work very well also. 
As far as diagonals, I bought a 1.25 Skywatcher 99% dialectric. The difference between this and the standard is not massive but to my eyes it is slightly brighter with a slight contrast  improvement, so for me a good buy. 
As far as high power, especially lunar, on really good nights I have pushed it to 250X or approx a 6mm eyepiece and the views have been surprisingly good.


I struggle a bit with pasting links I’m afraid, but I’m sure all of the above are available at FLO. I have purchased from them previously, and cannot recommend them enough.

I hope you have nice dark skies, as I think you will be surprised at what this cracking little scope can do, I certainly am. Whatever your choices, be patient and enjoy.

 

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If you want to push the boat out even further, you could add an SCT adapter ring, as shown below, to add the flexibility of SCT using accessories...

ss_smsa7.jpg.9b3846600093bd5ad94e585684588368.jpglynx_astro_maksutov_to_sct_adapter.jpg.bd104763f34027eaf9495cc430428baf.jpg

 

...my 're-modded' ETX105 c/w an SCT star diagonal.

867462112_re-moddedETX105SCTstardiagonal.thumb.jpg.0a8b2e97a3b9500b1a1ce91262c4a2e1.jpg2144000928_re-moddedETX105SCTstardiagonal(closeup).thumb.jpg.bd984209b84c1aca15aaaf7f00776cd4.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Philip R said:

If you want to push the boat out even further, you could add an SCT adapter ring, as shown below, to add the flexibility of SCT using accessories...

 

Many newer 127 maks have an SCT thread on them already so check to see if the thread is about 50mm dia. in which case it is the SCT thread.

Edited by johninderby
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  • 2 weeks later...
14 hours ago, hms_furious said:

What are your views on zoom lenses? The celestron 8-24mm looks quite reasonably priced compared to the cost of buying multiple individual ones. Thanks

Have you considered the Baader one?
You the option of 2" as well and a matching Barlow lens!

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12 minutes ago, hms_furious said:

Thanks. Is this the one you mean? 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/baader-planetarium/baader-hyperion-zoom-eyepiece.html

So with the Barlow at 8,12,16 etc this becomes 16,24,32 etc? 

Is this a good catch all combination? 

No, it goes the other way, with a Barlow it goes 4, 6, 8 etc.

 

With a high f/ ratio, you'll probably not be able to use the higher powers.

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