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Eyepieces


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At 63 I decided to buy myself my first scope to use at home and to take away on trips.Got this, Altair Astro Starwave 102ED-R FPL53 Refractor Telescope which seems ideal for home and travel.So a complete newbie.

As I won’t be getting a mount and tripod until the summer it won’t get used yet but I do have some cash for bits and pieces.

My question is for advice on eyepieces.I wear reading glasses and my long sight isn’t too hot either(love getting old).I think it’s probably better to start with maybe just 3 or 4 including a Barlow but having researched different makes am as confused as when I started.

Any recommendations would be appreciated from others who have the same problem.

Budget between £120-140 per lens as I don’t want to spend a fortune then find out I don’t enjoy it.

Many thanks

 

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You only have to use long eye relief eyepieces if you have strong astigmatism in your observing eye.  It is listed in your eyeglass prescription as CYL or cylinder in diopters.  0.5 diopters or less and most folks don't notice it.  Above that, you'll probably want to wear glasses at least at low powers.  So, check your prescription to find out which way to go.

That said, many folks like the relaxed viewing experience long eye relief eyepieces provide.  You don't have to cram your eye in close to the eyepiece eye lens to see the entire field of view.  You don't have to worry about getting eyelash gunk on the eye lens with each blink.  They like being able to look to the sky and then the eyepiece without having to flip their glasses on and off.

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Welcome to SGL.

You don't need to worry about long or short sight per se, because the telescope focuser will take that out of the equation.

However you may need to wear your glasses if you have significant astigmatism. In that case, you will need eyepieces with longer eye relief, so it would be useful to know that before people start to respond.

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Many thanks for the advice,time to give the optician a bell to check my last eye test results re astigmatism to see what level it is.Received the scope this pm so that’s the first piece of the puzzle.Honestly think I will need lenses with good eye relief so I’ll be looking at those.

Cheers 

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What's your total eyepiece and accessory budget?  I prefer to invest in a few really pleasing eyepieces to start with and then fill in the gaps as funds become available rather than buying a bunch of so-so eyepieces that will end up being resold down the road.

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I need my glasses on to make sure I am in the right area of sky, I'm short sighted, but I take my glasses off to observe at the telescope.

If you have the chance to try some eyepieces, then that would be the best option.

You'll have an idea as to whether the so-so eyepieces will be more than adequate. ;)

In general, the upgrade for me has been to 2", wider field of view EPs, rather than for any improvement in sharpness.

All of my EPs are within your budget and they more than meet my needs, but I have a reflector not a refractor. :)

 

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Louise D 

I have a budget of about $160 per piece so fairly good I think.I agree it’s better to get decent one’s,then if I find astronomy is not for me I can sell them on.

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Bingvader

Not much in the way of local retailers in this parts especially as I don’t drive so not much chance of trying any.I will fb my friends as maybe someone is into astronomy but never mentions it.The telescope did come with an Altair 2 inch Dielectric diagonal which I think accepts 2 and 1.25.I won’t be rushing to get everything at once so plenty of time to research more experienced people like yourself idea’s

cheers

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On 13/04/2022 at 08:24, Bluemoonman said:

At 63 I decided to buy myself my first scope to use at home and to take away on trips.Got this, Altair Astro Starwave 102ED-R FPL53 Refractor Telescope which seems ideal for home and travel.So a complete newbie.

As I won’t be getting a mount and tripod until the summer it won’t get used yet but I do have some cash for bits and pieces.

My question is for advice on eyepieces.I wear reading glasses and my long sight isn’t too hot either(love getting old).I think it’s probably better to start with maybe just 3 or 4 including a Barlow but having researched different makes am as confused as when I started.

Any recommendations would be appreciated from others who have the same problem.

Budget between £120-140 per lens as I don’t want to spend a fortune then find out I don’t enjoy it.

Many thanks

 

With a 102mm, jumps of 30x between eyepieces works fairly well, and I don't think you need more than 180x on the top, so 30/60/90/120/150/and 180x would be a complete set.

That could also be accomplished with a 2x Barlow and the 30x-60x-90x eyepieces, missing only 150x (probably not used that much anyway).

Divide your scope's focal length by the magnifications to find the focal length of eyepieces at each power.

714mm/30 = 24mm, for example, so a 24mm, 12mm, and 8mm with a 2X Barlow would work well.

It's also possible to go up and down in focal length to match a favorite model or brand.

Look for eye relief of at least 18mm for glasses.

Here is a list of what is available:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/813708-2022-eyepiece-buyers-guide/

Sort any way you want to and I would suggest not going narrower than a 60° field nor wider than 82° until you've had more experience.

There are a lot of options in your price range.

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Thanks Don,

Good advice,think I’ll be starting  with maybe just 2 or 3 eyepieces and a Barlow at first until I have had some practise to see what suits.I won’t be rushing straight into anything until I’m reasonably sure it’s right for me,it seems to be a complicated hobby with a steep learning curve but I am willing to research,learn and listen to advice.

Cheers

Blue.

 

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I own a 102mm f7 Starfield Fpl-53. I already have many eyepieces so don't need to make a choice. If I were starting from scratch on a budget of around £400, here's how I'd go. It's not as simple as £100 per eyepiece though. Money needs spending where it counts most. This is of course my personal choice, and others' may have equally valid choices.

Barlow: it may seem controversial to some, but I would skip a x2 and go for a x3. Why? With a x2 you often end up with duplicated magnifications. With a x3 you can space things out more.

Here's an example I did in excel along with the eyepieces I'd use. I'd stick to 1.25" eyepieces for now; for ease of use and cost, as going 2" is expensive.
 

Aperture           F/L      
102mm 714      
         
            fl             x            x3      Barlow - Teleview x3 £123
24 30 89   Explore Scientific 24mm 68° £174
15 48 143   BST Starguider 15mm £49
12 60 179   BST Starguider 12mm £49
         
       

Total cost £395

       


 

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Hi @Bluemoonman and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

At £49.00 + P&P from FLO, I don't think you can get much better than these in terms of value... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

A useful tool/utility to play about with, is the... http://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/

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11 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

I own a 102mm f7 Starfield Fpl-53. I already have many eyepieces so don't need to make a choice. If I were starting from scratch on a budget of around £400, here's how I'd go. It's not as simple as £100 per eyepiece though. Money needs spending where it counts most. This is of course my personal choice, and others' may have equally valid choices.

Barlow: it may seem controversial to some, but I would skip a x2 and go for a x3. Why? With a x2 you often end up with duplicated magnifications. With a x3 you can space things out more.

Here's an example I did in excel along with the eyepieces I'd use. I'd stick to 1.25" eyepieces for now; for ease of use and cost, as going 2" is expensive.
 

Aperture           F/L      
102mm 714      
         
            fl             x            x3      Barlow - Teleview x3 £123
24 30 89   Explore Scientific 24mm 68° £174
15 48 143   BST Starguider 15mm £49
12 60 179   BST Starguider 12mm £49
         
       

Total cost £395

       


 

That sort of works.  But the 48 to 60x jump is very small and not a really noticeable increase in magnification, whereas the 89 to 143 jump is quite large and the user might find a need for something in between.

Jumps are: 18x/12x/29x/54x/36x

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On 18/04/2022 at 20:57, Don Pensack said:

But the 48 to 60x jump is very small and not a really noticeable increase in magnification, whereas the 89 to 143 jump is quite large and the user might find a need for something in between.

As a practical astronomer with 40 years experience those in between magnifications are little used. x143 would be useful on globulars, x179 on planets. The lower magnifications for wide field and deep sky. This is a 102mm after all.

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10 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

As a practical astronomer with 40 years experience those in between magnifications are little used. x143 would be useful on globulars, x179 on planets. The lower magnifications for wide field and deep sky. This is a 102mm after all.

I use a 102mm f/7 apo refractor a lot.

How many magnifications you need is a lot dependent on the objects you view.

On the Moon, I usually start around 102x and use 143/179/and 238x a fair amount.  Low powers?  Why?

But, on deep sky objects, my preferred magnifications range all over the place.

For large star clusters, the 30x-65x gets used a lot.

For globular clusters, 79x-102x get used a lot.

For galaxies, anything in between 65x-119x.

I probably have too many eyepieces, but having magnifications available in smaller jumps enables me to frame each object well and find the right magnification.

I suppose a good Zoom eyepiece with a Barlow could accomplish the same with less eyepiece switching, but I find the fields too narrow for my taste.

 

It depends a lot on whether or not you take a minimalist approach to eyepieces (I obviously don't).

If you did, one eyepiece in the 5-10x/inch range, one eyepiece in the 10-20x/inch range, and one eyepiece in the 20-30x/inch range would probably be enough as long as planets

weren't the primary focus.  Then you could merely add a 2X Barlow and you're set.  In a 4", that's 20-40x, 40-80x, 80-120x, and a Barlow.

 

Now, if planets ARE a primary focus, I think putting the high power eyepieces closer together might be wise because you will bump into seeing limits a lot.

I know a number of planetary people who actually have high power eyepieces 0.5mm apart to "inch up" on the seeing limit.

 

There is no right or wrong answer for eyepiece selection.  Whatever works for you is perfect.

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I've got way too many eyepieces but I just can't help it!!!!!

There's no real need for lots of "slightly different" low power eyepieces but, as Don says, at higher powers it's useful and helpful to have quite a close collection of focal lengths.

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I have three scopes with FLs of 1200mm, 800mm and 570mm. I find that a good 10mm is something I always use. The 10mm Baader Classic Ortho is a cracking eyepiece. I have recently purchased a 10mm Pentax XW, although very high end and premium, if I had my time all over again buying equipment, it would be the first eyepiece I bought. It’s simply perfection.

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The OP only wants 3 eyepieces and a Barlow... :wink2:

I use many eyepieces, and several Barlows - but what I have and use wasn't the question.

For higher powers with various scopes on planetary is why I have 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2.5...
I have a couple of Barlows, a 2" GSO type and a Meade 140 apo. I can use these in various configurations with different length tubes to give different magnifications. So, with the 102mm, I can get (but not limited to):

    Aperture F/L     Meade 140 apo
  Refractor 102mm   GSO @ 45mm 'GSO' 2" 2x Svb + 140 Nose Meade 140 Svb + 140
                       x1.85 x2.00 x2.18 x2.35 x2.95
                 fov fl mm x        
LVW 72 42 17 31 34      
LVW 65 22 32 60 65 71 76 96
LVW 65 17 42 78 84 92 99 124
LVW 65 13 55 102 110 120 129 162
LVW 65 8 89 165 179 195 210 263
LVW 65 5 143 264 286 311 336 421
                 
SLV 45 6 119 220 238 259 280 351
SLV 45 5 143 264 286 311 336 421
SLV 45 4 179 330 357 389 419 527
SLV 45 2.5 286 528 571 623 671 843
                 
Plössl 50 32 22 41 45 49 52 66
Ortho 45 25 29 53 57 62 67 84
Ortho 47 18 40 73 79 86 93 117
Ortho 45 12.5 57 106 114 125 134 169
Ortho 46 9 79 147 159 173 186 234
Ortho 43 7 102 189 204 222 240 301
Ortho 43 6 119 220 238 259 280 351
Ortho 43 4 179 330 357 389 419 527

 

Table hasn't lined up, but you get the idea. But as I said, the OP just wants 3 eyepieces and a Barlow...

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It's worth repeating that differences in eyepiece F/L are more significant as mags increase. For example, in my scope, 6mm gives 200x, 12mm 100x and 18mm  67x, a difference of 100x compared with 33x. So buying EPs according to fixed F/L differences is misleading.

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What I take outside with me depends on what my targets are. Generally I never carry more than 3 eyepieces. If it's lunar or planetary then three closely spaced high power. Doubles - low, medium, high. Clusters etc, very low, low and medium.

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1 hour ago, Don Pensack said:

There is no right or wrong answer for eyepiece selection.  Whatever works for you is perfect.

Exactly, but beginners ask their questions and we give our answers.

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19 hours ago, Stephen Waldee said:

In case UK amateur astronomers don't know, Don Pensack is a bona fide world-class eyepiece EXPERT, having been for many years in the sales of same for a southern-California based company and now running his own "EyepiecesEtc" retail organization; and even more important than that, in my opinion, he is an advanced observer with over 4,000 hours experience, doing deep sky and planetary work with fine instruments, often at sites at 8,000 feet above sea level.

 

I have purchased numerous eyepieces almost exclusively from Don for several years, in my attempt to update old Orion-US oculars purchased long ago, primarily for two goals: (1) to benefit from the higher throughput of modern AR-coatings; and (2) to obtain wider fields (up to 80+ degrees but eschewing the 100+ degree units, which are "too much" for my personal taste/vision.)  Don is not likely, I'd suspect, to give narrow recommendations here or on other forums, but his suggestions TO ME have always been RIGHT on the money!  And when we've compared notes, I found that I could be proud of myself when I discovered that *I agreed with Don*~ 

 

So if I were to seek advice about oculars, HE is 'the MAN'!

Steve & Regina, Ivins UT
http://celestialregina.x10.mx
or
http://reginacelestial.byethost3.com
 

 

In case US based amateurs don't know, the UK astro community has a wealth of very experienced observers, of many years standing, who are well qualified to give good, sound advice on equipment, based on practical experience and sharing of ideas within communities such as SGL (and, occasionally, on CN and others too).

Just sayin..:rolleyes2::help:

Dave

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20 hours ago, Stephen Waldee said:

In case UK amateur astronomers don't know, Don Pensack is a bona fide world-class eyepiece EXPERT, having been for many years in the sales of same for a southern-California based company and now running his own "EyepiecesEtc" retail organization; and even more important than that, in my opinion, he is an advanced observer with over 4,000 hours experience, doing deep sky and planetary work with fine instruments, often at sites at 8,000 feet above sea level.

 

I have purchased numerous eyepieces almost exclusively from Don for several years, in my attempt to update old Orion-US oculars purchased long ago, primarily for two goals: (1) to benefit from the higher throughput of modern AR-coatings; and (2) to obtain wider fields (up to 80+ degrees but eschewing the 100+ degree units, which are "too much" for my personal taste/vision.)  Don is not likely, I'd suspect, to give narrow recommendations here or on other forums, but his suggestions TO ME have always been RIGHT on the money!  And when we've compared notes, I found that I could be proud of myself when I discovered that *I agreed with Don*~ 

 

So if I were to seek advice about oculars, HE is 'the MAN'!

Steve & Regina, Ivins UT
http://celestialregina.x10.mx
or
http://reginacelestial.byethost3.com
 

 

Oh I would certainly buy from Don were I in the US, just like I do from FLO in the UK. I massively value expertise. But my own experience with equipment in UK seeing has also given me the confidence to recommend eyepieces and instruments, which I try to do as fairly and impartial as possible. That applies to BSTs -> Pentaxes and Achros -> fluorite “APOs”.

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3 hours ago, F15Rules said:

In case US based amateurs don't know, the UK astro community has a wealth of very experienced observers, of many years standing, who are well qualified to give good, sound advice on equipment, based on practical experience and sharing of ideas within communities such as SGL (and, occasionally, on CN and others too).

Just sayin..:rolleyes2::help:

Dave

^ Thank-you 🙂

At SGL a retailers opinion, any retailer, is not considered inherently more worthy than a members opinion. 

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