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LoveFromGallifrey

Yet another eyepiece question...(sorry!)

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So, I'm buying an Altair Astro 102ED F7 scope, and I'm a complete newbie so I'm stuck on eyepieces. Got a diagonal lined up which will take 1.25" eyepieces. I'm mildly short-sighted and wear glasses to correct this, and although I have been told that I shouldn't need glasses with the scope - I still want a decent eye relief just in case. 

Other than that? I really don't know! My goal is to observe both planets and the moon and DSOs, at least as much as I can with a 102 refractor. I'm interested in zoom lenses as well - does anyone have any recommendations? 

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It really depends on your budget, but I would always recommend the OVL Hyperflex zoom https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ovl-eyepieces/hyperflex-72mm-215mm-eyepiece.html as it is such an amazing eyepiece - I wish someone had recommended it to me when I (re)started. It has decent eye-relief, and a very clear image. It's also less massive than many zooms. With the addition of a wide field eyepiece like a 32mm Celestron Omni https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-omni-plossl-eyepiece.html you've pretty much got all bases covered for about £100. If you want to go for higher magnifications the Baader classic Q barlow works very well with the Hyperflex apparently (mine is still on order) https://www.firstlightoptics.com/barlows/baader-classic-q-225x-barlow.html

Of course you can spend vastly more than this - some eyepieces run to over £500 for a single fixed focal length, but the Hyperflex is a very good eyepiece for not too much money.

David

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Hi

Nice choice of telescope, I have an Altair this size. Your budget needs mentioning so you can be pointed in the right direction.
 

I started with Explore Scientific 
24mm 68 deg gives about 30x.
14mm 82 degrees about 51x.  8.8mm 82 deg about 81x.
6.7mm  82 deg about 106x. 
4.7mm 82 deg gives 152x. 

The 24 would have good eye relief but the others would be tight with glasses. I’ve listed them so you can get an idea of the magnification at these focal lengths for this telescope. Cheaper alternatives at these focal lengths are numerous.  Hope this helps. 

Edited by Dantooine

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Sorry, I always forget a budget! Anywhere up to £150 to begin with, obviously cheaper is better but more bothered about getting decent views and having equipment that'll last me than I am about getting the cheapest possible stuff. 

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38 minutes ago, Dantooine said:

Hi

Nice choice of telescope, I have an Altair this size. Your budget needs mentioning so you can be pointed in the right direction.
 

I started with Explore Scientific 
24mm 68 deg gives about 30x.
14mm 82 degrees about 51x.  8.8mm 82 deg about 81x.
6.7mm  82 deg about 106x. 
4.7mm 82 deg gives 152x. 

The 24 would have good eye relief but the others would be tight with glasses. I’ve listed them so you can get an idea of the magnification at these focal lengths for this telescope. Cheaper alternatives at these focal lengths are numerous.  Hope this helps. 

Great! How do you find it? It'll be my first scope, so I'm really looking forward to getting it (once the ensuing clouds part for long enough, ofc). 

Thank you for the recommendation! I did find when I was checking out my friend's dob that I didn't need my glasses to see things; hopefully its the same with the any eyepiece, but especially the smaller eyepieces here, as they give more magnification which should help my eyes out (I think). 

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8 hours ago, MrFreeze said:

It really depends on your budget, but I would always recommend the OVL Hyperflex zoom https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ovl-eyepieces/hyperflex-72mm-215mm-eyepiece.html as it is such an amazing eyepiece - I wish someone had recommended it to me when I (re)started. It has decent eye-relief, and a very clear image. It's also less massive than many zooms. With the addition of a wide field eyepiece like a 32mm Celestron Omni https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-omni-plossl-eyepiece.html you've pretty much got all bases covered for about £100. If you want to go for higher magnifications the Baader classic Q barlow works very well with the Hyperflex apparently (mine is still on order) https://www.firstlightoptics.com/barlows/baader-classic-q-225x-barlow.html

Of course you can spend vastly more than this - some eyepieces run to over £500 for a single fixed focal length, but the Hyperflex is a very good eyepiece for not too much money.

David

Thank you! I always forget the budget, dang - around £150 to get me started, although obviously if I can get decent quality for cheaper then all the better. I've seen the OVL recommended a couple of times now, which definitely has me interested. So thank you for bringing it up! Its nice to hear a specific recommendation from someone who has used it themselves. And thank you for the Barlow recommendation too, that's another thing I was kind of stuck on (I'm a useless newbie haha).  

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7 minutes ago, LoveFromGallifrey said:

Great! How do you find it? It'll be my first scope, so I'm really looking forward to getting it (once the ensuing clouds part for long enough, ofc). 

Thank you for the recommendation! I did find when I was checking out my friend's dob that I didn't need my glasses to see things; hopefully its the same with the any eyepiece, but especially the smaller eyepieces here, as they give more magnification which should help my eyes out (I think). 

My Altair is the same size but it’s the Ed-r version. Lots of people find refractors easier to use than reflectors (dobs etc), I am definitely one of these people 😁

The F7 is a good compromise as an all rounder. I like the size and ease of being able to set up quick As I find I can get out more often this way. I only do visual and this means I can set up and cool the telescope, have some observation and still get a decent nights sleep. 

I much prefer seeing things the right way up and I only use a red dot finder so it’s point and shoot. 

it’s nice having the fine focus and this telescope can sit on a modest weight mount as it’s not too heavy. 

I think this type and size of scope has got quite a good following, it’s the only one I have now but as you will soon become aware this is a very addictive hobby and can empty a bank account quickly if you’re not careful. 

I think it’s a good choice for the things you want to look at rather than a different setup for each. 
 

A 4 inch telescope will keep you busy for a very long time, especially if you’ve a friend with a dob to peep through without having to own one.   

Have fun choosing your eyepieces, it’s Interesting reading reviews and doing all the research 👍
 

 

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3 hours ago, Dantooine said:

My Altair is the same size but it’s the Ed-r version. Lots of people find refractors easier to use than reflectors (dobs etc), I am definitely one of these people 😁

The F7 is a good compromise as an all rounder. I like the size and ease of being able to set up quick As I find I can get out more often this way. I only do visual and this means I can set up and cool the telescope, have some observation and still get a decent nights sleep. 

I much prefer seeing things the right way up and I only use a red dot finder so it’s point and shoot. 

it’s nice having the fine focus and this telescope can sit on a modest weight mount as it’s not too heavy. 

I think this type and size of scope has got quite a good following, it’s the only one I have now but as you will soon become aware this is a very addictive hobby and can empty a bank account quickly if you’re not careful. 

I think it’s a good choice for the things you want to look at rather than a different setup for each. 
 

A 4 inch telescope will keep you busy for a very long time, especially if you’ve a friend with a dob to peep through without having to own one.   

Have fun choosing your eyepieces, it’s Interesting reading reviews and doing all the research 👍
 

 

Wheee! Mine will actually be the ED-R version as well, with the fpl53. I'm getting it mostly for visual myself, I prefer a portable setup and for me, a dob type scope ain't that. And the refractor is a better option for venturing into imaging as well. 

If I get a bigger place, I may venture into getting a dob myself; but I have dabbled with one before and it was a big [removed word] for little me (bigger than a standard 200p, can't remember exactly what) and it was a bit of a pain to use. A smaller one may be better though! 

 

And don't - I came into this not wanting to spend too much, and wound up deciding on this scope, and a HEQ5 - and then I've found accessories etc....I'm already lost I think 🤣

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Ah.. now I can be really honest. The ed-r is fantastic. Didn’t know which one you were getting and didn’t want  to praise it to highly just in case you were getting the normal Ed. The Ed-r is a little beast 👍

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Och, now that is what I want to hear. I'm so glad you view it so highly; I've heard plenty about Altair, and the vast majority of it is good. But the opinions on the refractors tended to be geared towards imaging and when I was initially on Facebook etc asking for advice, the answer was almost always to ditch the idea of a "small" refractor because "you'll be disappointed" and to get a dob instead. But having been around dobs, I know for sure I don't want to be lugging one of those suckers around in my tiny little car, whereas a refractor like this on a decent tripod is very ideal. So I spoke to the Altair team themselves about my goals and they recommended this scope for me. Ofc, they know their stuff! But its always nice to hear someone else's positive opinions too. 

So yeah, I'm really glad you took the time to speak to me 😄

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19 minutes ago, LoveFromGallifrey said:

Och, now that is what I want to hear. I'm so glad you view it so highly; I've heard plenty about Altair, and the vast majority of it is good. But the opinions on the refractors tended to be geared towards imaging and when I was initially on Facebook etc asking for advice, the answer was almost always to ditch the idea of a "small" refractor because "you'll be disappointed" and to get a dob instead. But having been around dobs, I know for sure I don't want to be lugging one of those suckers around in my tiny little car, whereas a refractor like this on a decent tripod is very ideal. So I spoke to the Altair team themselves about my goals and they recommended this scope for me. Ofc, they know their stuff! But its always nice to hear someone else's positive opinions too. 

So yeah, I'm really glad you took the time to speak to me 😄

It depends what you want to look at.

If you have a really strong interest in the deep sky then the larger aperture that you can get with the dobsonian is the way to go IMHO.

If you favour planets, the moon and double stars with the chance of getting some "nice" views of the brighter deep sky objects then a refractor does the job really well.

I have 4 superb refractors from 100mm to 130mm in aperture and I love using them but I'll have to be honest and say that the vast majority of my "firsts" and "wows" have come when using 10 inch or 12 inch newtonians, usually on a dobsonian mount.

I'm risking the ire of the refractor lovers (of which I'm one !) of course but that's my honest opinion after 40 years of observing with instruments of many differing designs :dontknow:

 

 

Edited by John
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36 minutes ago, John said:

It depends what you want to look at.

If you have a really strong interest in the deep sky then the larger aperture that you can get with the dobsonian is the way to go IMHO.

If you favour planets, the moon and double stars with the chance of getting some "nice" views of the brighter deep sky objects then a refractor does the job really well.

I have 4 superb refractors from 100mm to 130mm in aperture and I love using them but I'll have to be honest and say that the vast majority of my "firsts" and "wows" have come when using 10 inch or 12 inch newtonians, usually on a dobsonian mount.

I'm risking the ire of the refractor lovers (of which I'm one !) of course but that's my honest opinion after 40 years of observing with instruments of many differing designs :dontknow:

 

 

If I *could* have a dob, I would - don't get me wrong. But I can't at the moment. At least, nothing more than a small tabletop, and while I could get one of those my ultimate goal is to venture into imaging, for which the refractor is better to start with. But anything bigger than a tabletop is pretty much impossible right now unfortunately. Certainly the 150s, 200s etc that I have used with friends in the past. I have neither the storage space in my shoebox bedroom, nor the ability to just drag it to an easy viewing space, and the sheer thought of having to lug it around fills me with dread. I know that with a mount and a tripod etc a 102 refractor isn't exactly lightweight, but its more manageable for me because I can break the equipment down for both storage and travelling. 

One day, all being well, I will wind up with a better living arrangement and a good dob would definitely be on the "to buy" list. I would love to be able to access these cracking views everyone keeps taking about with dobs! But now is not the time, unfortunately. 

Edited by LoveFromGallifrey
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Just now, LoveFromGallifrey said:

If I *could* have a dob, I would - don't get be wrong. But I can't at the moment. At least, nothing more than a small tabletop, and while I could get one of those my ultimate goal is to venture into imaging, for which the refractor is better to start with. But anything bigger than a tabletop is pretty much impossible right not. Certainly the 150s, 200s etc that I have used with friends in the past. I have neither the storage space in my shoebox bedroom, nor the ability to just drag it to an easy viewing space, and the sheer thought of having to lug it around fills me with dread. I know that with a mount and a tripod etc a 102 refractor isn't exactly lightweight, but its more manageable for me because I can break the equipment down for both storage and travelling. 

One day, all being well, I will wind up with a better living arrangement and a good dob would definitely be on the "to buy" list. But not now. 

Understood. Practicality is vitally important.

On the subject of eyepieces, I use a Hyperflex 7.2 - 21.5mm zoom often combined with a Baader 2.25x Q-Turret barlow very often with my refractors. With a wider angle / low power eyepiece to compliment it, those 3 items are often all I use during a session.

The nearest I have to the spec of the refractor you are getting is my Vixen ED102SS which is F/6.5.  A very versatile instrument :smiley:

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I agree with your idea of trying out a zoom.  That and a Barlow plus a low power, wide field eyepiece is all you'll need to begin with, and possibly for a very long time.

I've tried out 4 different zooms and kept 2.  These are the Baader 8-24mm that's very good but costly, and the very inexpensive Svbony 7-21mm.  This new Svbony is apparently identical to the Orion E-series but at an even lower price.  The stated eye relief is 16.3 to 18mm.

The Baader is a little better corrected off axis in my f/6 scopes and has a larger field of view than the Svbony.  However the Svbony is much smaller and lighter, and exceptional value for money (about £40 to £45).  I bought the Svbony because of the excellent reviews it had on Cloudy Nights, and am happy to recommend it myself.  

Svbony also sell 8-24 and 10-30mm models, but again I haven't seen these.  Both are much bigger and heavier than the 7-21mm Svbony.  Additionally the 10-30mm has a particularly small apparent field of view, plus only 5 elements and so is unlikely to be as good.

The ones I didn't keep were firstly a Celestron (from a terrestrial scope rather than the usual astro model.  This was because it didn't have a filter thread).  Secondly a clone of the Hyperflex 9-27mm.  There was nothing wrong with the Hyperflex, but both the Baader and the Svbony 7-21mm can be adapted to take a Televue Dioptrx adapter to correct the astigmatism in my eyes.  I gather the astro model of the Celestron 8-24mm has a T thread that a Dioptrx will also fit.

Turning to Barlows, I'd very much recommend a dual 1.5x/2x model on your f/7 as this gives much more flexibility.  These dual models are sold as 2x Barlows, but some 2x models can also be used at 1.5x.  These ones allow the lens cell to be unscrewed from the body of the Barlow and then screwed into the filter thread at the bottom of an eyepiece.  Very often this won't be in the blurb, but on their website the US retailer Agena Astro states whether this can be done or not under the specifications.  I'd also add that the 2x Orion Shorty Barlow that Agena doesn't sell can also be used at 1.5x.

I use the 2x option when atmospheric seeing is good and in conjunction with a 7-21mm zoom will give you magnifications of 68-204x.  However I find that there are many nights in the UK when a 1.5x Barlow gives the maximum that the seeing will allow (153x).  Sure you could use the Barlow at 2x with the zoom set at 9.3mm to get this magnification, but this will give you a smaller field of view.  This because the apparent field of view of nearly all zooms is lower at higher focal lengths.

I've got an Altair 72mm f/6 EDF with a very similar spec to your new scope.  I'm very pleased with mine and am tempted to add the 102mm to the arsenal.  Good luck with yours! 

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5 hours ago, John said:

I'm risking the ire of the refractor lovers

🤨🤬😁

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5 hours ago, Dantooine said:

I'm risking the ire of the refractor lovers

Refractor 'Lickers', surely?

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12 hours ago, John said:

It depends what you want to look at.

If you have a really strong interest in the deep sky then the larger aperture that you can get with the dobsonian is the way to go IMHO.

If you favour planets, the moon and double stars with the chance of getting some "nice" views of the brighter deep sky objects then a refractor does the job really well.

I have 4 superb refractors from 100mm to 130mm in aperture and I love using them but I'll have to be honest and say that the vast majority of my "firsts" and "wows" have come when using 10 inch or 12 inch newtonians, usually on a dobsonian mount.

I'm risking the ire of the refractor lovers (of which I'm one !) of course but that's my honest opinion after 40 years of observing with instruments of many differing designs :dontknow:

 

 

good man john, go big or go home 😁

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12 hours ago, LoveFromGallifrey said:

If I *could* have a dob, I would - don't get me wrong. But I can't at the moment. At least, nothing more than a small tabletop, and while I could get one of those my ultimate goal is to venture into imaging, for which the refractor is better to start with. But anything bigger than a tabletop is pretty much impossible right now unfortunately. Certainly the 150s, 200s etc that I have used with friends in the past. I have neither the storage space in my shoebox bedroom, nor the ability to just drag it to an easy viewing space, and the sheer thought of having to lug it around fills me with dread.

 

Another consideration for you.

I get your aims regarding footprint  but maybe you are not fully aware of the space involved with a 102 refractor plus mount and tripod or a simple 200 dob. 

I have not owned a 200 dob but have used one and am aware of the size of it. I do have a 102 frac plus mount/tripod and I don't think the difference in space used is that much different.

Also a 200P dob is around 200 quid cheaper which would easily cover the cost of extras such as a decent zoom eyepiece, a telrad finder and maybe a barlow.

 

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5 hours ago, faulksy said:

good man john, go big or go home 😁

Mirrors are for the bathroom wall 🤣

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12 hours ago, bomberbaz said:

Another consideration for you.

I get your aims regarding footprint  but maybe you are not fully aware of the space involved with a 102 refractor plus mount and tripod or a simple 200 dob. 

I have not owned a 200 dob but have used one and am aware of the size of it. I do have a 102 frac plus mount/tripod and I don't think the difference in space used is that much different.

Also a 200P dob is around 200 quid cheaper which would easily cover the cost of extras such as a decent zoom eyepiece, a telrad finder and maybe a barlow.

 

I have used a 200p dob multiple times before. The tube itself of one of those suckers is literally too big to even fit across the back seat of my car, yet alone the tiny boot. Forgetting my lack of storage space for a second - considering my goal is to carry my scope across the country on holiday, its just not practical for me to buy a scope that I cannot even fit in my car. I don't live under bad skies, bottle 4/5, but I travel pretty much constantly (except, you know, my travelling has drastically reduced since March). 

Now, I'll gladly admit that other than using a dob, I have very little experience with scopes. But one of my acquaintances has pretty much the same size car. He says the ability to break down a setup into various pieces makes it easer to fit everything in the car. If he is travelling especially light and focusing on observing only, he forgets his Goto mount and cracks on with a decent alt az mount instead. He'll even take a little refractor and alt az mount on worldwide flights. He never travels with his own dob, and says he never would, although he happily sings its praises when it is set up at home. 

My other thought is that I would love to venture into imaging, and many people have either told me not to even bother with a dob for imaging anything other than planets, or that it is very difficult. Idk about this; but generally the people I have spoken to seem to be of the opinion that a decent little refractor is a decent place to start with imaging. 

Ultimately, I don't know. I feel like every time I get close to making a decision on my setup, something else makes me doubt it entirely. I am constantly reminded (not always by people) of the fact that I know nothing and it is really starting to drag me down before I've even started. Perhaps I just need to take the plunge and see what happens. 

Edited by LoveFromGallifrey

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Pull the trigger on it 

The advice is top notch 😁

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42 minutes ago, LoveFromGallifrey said:

I have used a 200p dob multiple times before. The tube itself of one of those suckers is literally too big to even fit across the back seat of my car, yet alone the tiny boot. Forgetting my lack of storage space for a second - considering my goal is to carry my scope across the country on holiday, its just not practical for me to buy a scope that I cannot even fit in my car. I don't live under bad skies, bottle 4/5, but I travel pretty much constantly (except, you know, my travelling has drastically reduced since March). 

Now, I'll gladly admit that other than using a dob, I have very little experience with scopes. But one of my acquaintances has pretty much the same size car. He says the ability to break down a setup into various pieces makes it easer to fit everything in the car. If he is travelling especially light and focusing on observing only, he forgets his Goto mount and cracks on with a decent alt az mount instead. He'll even take a little refractor and alt az mount on worldwide flights. He never travels with his own dob, and says he never would, although he happily sings its praises when it is set up at home. 

My other thought is that I would love to venture into imaging, and many people have either told me not to even bother with a dob for imaging anything other than planets, or that it is very difficult. Idk about this; but generally the people I have spoken to seem to be of the opinion that a decent little refractor is a decent place to start with imaging. 

Ultimately, I don't know. I feel like every time I get close to making a decision on my setup, something else makes me doubt it entirely. I am constantly reminded (not always by people) of the fact that I know nothing and it is really starting to drag me down before I've even started. Perhaps I just need to take the plunge and see what happens. 

Imaging eh, that's my que to leave this conversation. I have "very" limited experience with this and will leave it there.

Strange you say a 200P wouldn't fit in the car, it is only around 1.2 metre in length once removed from base but as you say, not fit for imaging so it matters not.

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1 hour ago, bomberbaz said:

Imaging eh, that's my que to leave this conversation. I have "very" limited experience with this and will leave it there.

Strange you say a 200P wouldn't fit in the car, it is only around 1.2 metre in length once removed from base but as you say, not fit for imaging so it matters not.

Aha sorry, didn't intend for that to be a kind of shutdown! I'm definitely interested in imaging, although my primary interest at the moment would be observing - for which I acknowledge a dob would be better. Sadly, genuinely cannot travel with it.

My car's boot is 1.1m in length with the two back seats folded down. Its 0.445m in length with the back seats up, which is necessary if I am travelling with family/friends. The boot's width is 1m. So yeah, trust when I say I'm not exaggerating when I say a dob would be too big to fit in my car. And I cannot afford another car right now. I'd have to tie the thing to the roof 🤣

Edited by LoveFromGallifrey

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2 hours ago, Neil H said:

Pull the trigger on it 

The advice is top notch 😁

Definitely. 

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1 hour ago, LoveFromGallifrey said:

Aha sorry, didn't intend for that to be a kind of shutdown! I'm definitely interested in imaging, although my primary interest at the moment would be observing - for which I acknowledge a dob would be better. Sadly, genuinely cannot travel with it.

My car's boot is 1.1m in length with the two back seats folded down. Its 0.445m in length with the back seats up, which is necessary if I am travelling with family/friends. The boot's width is 1m. So yeah, trust when I say I'm not exaggerating when I say a dob would be too big to fit in my car. And I cannot afford another car right now. I'd have to tie the thing to the roof 🤣

I’ve seen 5 people get this telescope on here in the last few months. All of them have been very happy with it. One much preferred it over his dob and has posted very detailed observations and has pushed it to its limits.  The list of his observations has blown me away in the very short time he’s had it (jealousy).

I’ve a friend who bought the 80mm version, he does the photos stuff, not my thing at all but has shown me some amazing pictures. The quality and build is just something that will not disappoint. I’ve spend heavily on diagonal, eyepieces and mount for this telescope and truly love it. 

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