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Middle of the range eyepiece for a 200mm dob?


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At the end of last year I got a Sky-Watcher Classic 200p, and it's a brilliant telescope. Much better than my last one. However, I haven't been able to use it properly yet (travelling, and now it's too bright at nighttime where I live), and I never got around to finding out (even when I had my old one) what is the best eyepiece-wise? I have two that came with the telescope but they are just labelled "SUPER 25" and "SUPER 10" which, along with how they look and feel, means they are not the best option, even if they work well enough.

When it gets dark again I'll mostly be using it for planetary observation, though I would like to try looking at deep-sky objects too. I specified middle of the range in the title because I'm not really willing to spend more than £60 on anything.

Thank you!

image.png.b5f752e76fe98473ab3401ec8c04cbfe.png

^ The moon through the SUPER 25 eyepiece, and my phone camera. :) (not exactly representative of the actual quality haha)

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2 hours ago, clydie said:

At the end of last year I got a Sky-Watcher Classic 200p, and it's a brilliant telescope. Much better than my last one. However, I haven't been able to use it properly yet (travelling, and now it's too bright at nighttime where I live), and I never got around to finding out (even when I had my old one) what is the best eyepiece-wise? I have two that came with the telescope but they are just labelled "SUPER 25" and "SUPER 10" which, along with how they look and feel, means they are not the best option, even if they work well enough.

When it gets dark again I'll mostly be using it for planetary observation, though I would like to try looking at deep-sky objects too. I specified middle of the range in the title because I'm not really willing to spend more than £60 on anything.

Thank you!

image.png.b5f752e76fe98473ab3401ec8c04cbfe.png

^ The moon through the SUPER 25 eyepiece, and my phone camera. :) (not exactly representative of the actual quality haha)

Judging from the prices of eyepieces in general, £60 is a low-end price, but you are fortunate there are many eyepieces at low prices today.

Given your scope, and what might be useful, I would look at at eyepiece in the 6-7mm range.

It would be usable for double stars, small planetary nebulae, small globular clusters, planets, Moon, and small open clusters.  In the 170-200x range.

High power, but not so high that seeing will be a constant issue.

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So good we'll say it thrice.  BST starguiders for sub £60.  Love them in my 10" dob and my 5" newt.  The 12mm and 8mm get a good workout for dso in mine.

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How good is your night sky?

I have a 200p.

On a good night, the 6mm is super.

On a bad night, sometimes not even an 8mm will do it.

I've been very lucky in that my 10mm and 25mm that came with the 'scope weren't bad at all.

I've used an 8mm BST and it was lovely.

The 5mm BST would be too much for planets most of the time (although it's great on the moon).

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On 19/06/2024 at 13:16, Don Pensack said:

Judging from the prices of eyepieces in general, £60 is a low-end price, but you are fortunate there are many eyepieces at low prices today.

I would agree that your budget puts you among what I refer to as "step-up" eyepieces, as in a step-up from what came with the typical introductory telescope.  They are still quite affordable, though.

25 years ago, there weren't many good step-up choices available.  Probably the Vixen LV series would have been the best choice, but at $90+ each in 1990s dollars, they still weren't very inexpensive.  That's how I ended up with a 9mm LV as my first major eyepiece purchase.  The various well corrected wide-field eyepieces of the day were very expensive when inflation corrected.

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another +1 for BST Starguiders 👍  I fancied a medium power to fill a 15mm gap in between my Celestron XCEL LX's and my lower power Panoptics - and I have to say the BST quickly became a bit of a default 'go-to', despite being the odd man out.

(Full disclosure, I do have a 6" f/10 SCT though, so can throw pretty much anything at it and still look half decent!) 

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In my 200p I’ve found the BST StarGuider to be great. It’s sharp enough and has good colour contrast. At 12mm it’s fab for many DSO’s. And when combined with a x2 barlow for 6mm becomes a great planetary eyepiece when conditions allow. And still retained its colour contrast too, which is obviously handy for helping to distinguish banding and details on the likes of Jupiter. A couple of years ago I find the combination very good on Mars, even able to spot clouds ( not the polar hood, which was easy ) on one good night. 

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Posted (edited)

It will be interesting to see how the new Ursa Major eyepieces from FLO measure up:

Ursa Major | First Light Optics

I had a look at them at the SW Astro Fair on Saturday and they seem well made and have interesting specs for their modest price. I've been loaned a set to try out by FLO 🙂 and I'll feedback my thoughts on them when I get some clear skies.

I can try them out at F/4.7 now, which can be a stern test for a lower cost wide(ish) field eyepiece 🙄

So far I've been impressed by the fit and finish and the packaging. No chance to actually look though one as yet !

 

 

Edited by John
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Make sure to note the usable eye relief.  The 5mm to 18mm BST Starguiders (A-T Paradigms) have about 12mm of usable eye relief due to eye lens recession.  The 25mm alone is usable with eyeglasses, having 17mm of usable eye relief.

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2 hours ago, John said:

It will be interesting to see how the new Ursa Major eyepieces from FLO measure up:

Ursa Major | First Light Optics

I had a look at them at the SW Astro Fair on Saturday and they seem well made and have interesting specs for their modest price. I've been loaned a set to try out by FLO 🙂 and I'll feedback my thoughts on them when I get some clear skies.

I can try them out at F/4.7 now, which can be a stern test for a lower cost wide(ish) field eyepiece 🙄

So far I've been impressed by the fit and finish and the packaging. No chance to actually look though one as yet !

 

 

These are also known as Premium Flat Field eyepieces, and are sold by many different companies.

The maker is known to make decent eyepieces.

They are also sold by Astrotech, Artesky, Auriga, Lacerta, Omegon, Sky Rover, Tecnosky, Telescope Service.

FLO has a very fair price and sells all the focal lengths.

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6 hours ago, Louis D said:

Make sure to note the usable eye relief.  The 5mm to 18mm BST Starguiders (A-T Paradigms) have about 12mm of usable eye relief due to eye lens recession.  The 25mm alone is usable with eyeglasses, having 17mm of usable eye relief.

Where does the minimum useable eye relief that makes an eyepiece useable for glasses wearers begin ?

Or does this vary depending on the individual optical prescription ?

I'm not a glasses wearer myself (when observing) but I've seen in the past 15mm mentioned, but thinking on that may have changed ?

 

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It varies quite a bit.  Having 17mm to 18mm of usable eye relief pretty much guarantees any eyeglass wearer will be accommodated.  Below 17mm, eyeglass wearers who have flatter faces can still use such eyepieces to varying degrees.  However, 14mm seems to be the cutoff for just about all eyeglass wearers.  This isn't to say the FOV can't be seen, it's just that the entire FOV can't be seen at once.

At 12mm ER, even non eyeglass wearers start to complain about eyelashes brushing the eye lens.  Some amateur astronomers have been known to carefully trim their eyelashes to avoid this issue with short eye relief eyepieces.

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It also certainly depends on the shape and size of one's eye sockets plus the diameter of the top of the eyepiece.

For instance, I have deeply set eyes and so generally need a lot of eye relief compared with the average person.  However, with eyepieces that are slim at the top I can get by with a lot less as they fit further into my eye socket.  A good example here is the eyepiece of the Canon 12x36is binoculars.  The actual measured eye relief at 14.5mm (surprisingly greater than the spec!), and I can see most of the field of view.  With a wide-topped eyepiece I'd need a lot more than 14.5mm.

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I agree with Mr Spock and others, there is no other eyepiece that comes close to the comfort of using the BST's and its performance, with their twist-up eyeguards etc,

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4 hours ago, rwilkey said:

I agree with Mr Spock and others, there is no other eyepiece that comes close to the comfort of using the BST's and its performance, with their twist-up eyeguards etc,

The twist up eye guard is brilliant for getting your eyeballs in the right spot to avoid blackouts, but with that being said I've found the starguider to be quite forgiving in that regard.  My only 'issue' with them is that when I use the 8mm with a Barlow I get some annoying reflections on planets.  However, the reflections are from my eyeball to the lens of the eyepiece, so I'm a fairly large contributor to the issue lol.

I'll need to add some of those ursa majors to my Christmas list.  Not sure I need a new focal length, but I'm sure that won't stop me.

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On 03/07/2024 at 12:09, John said:

Where does the minimum useable eye relief that makes an eyepiece useable for glasses wearers begin ?

Or does this vary depending on the individual optical prescription ?

I'm not a glasses wearer myself (when observing) but I've seen in the past 15mm mentioned, but thinking on that may have changed ?

 

Louis's comments are apropos.

For myself, a minimum of 14mm effective eye relief works but it depends on the apparent field.  14.3mm works on the 85° 11mm Tele Vue Apollo 11, for instance.

I prefer having the rubber touch my glasses to hold my head in place,  and several of the Morpheus eyepieces needed rubber o-rings under the eyeguards to raise them up to touch my glasses.

I was actually able to get close enough to cause blackouts with glasses on, and I have deep set eyes (10-12mm from my eye to the back of the glasses lenses).

That is because the eye lenses on the Morpheus are very shallow, maximizing eye relief.

 

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Posted (edited)

I often (but not always) observe with glasses and I have not had an issue with my StarGuiders. My daughter always wears her glasses and she has not a problem too. However, the only eyepieces she’s had issues with are zooms. She even tried without glasses and still couldn’t stand it. Mind, generally I’ve noticed that children (even without glasses) don’t like a narrow field of view.

I have also used StarGuiders with the eyecup removed. Although that’s usually because I remove it in order to fit my phone adapter, and sometimes I can’t be bothered to replace it! 

I am very short sighted. So much so that I cannot get my RACI finder to focus without glasses. So often I’ll leave them on when observing as it’s a faff taking them on/off all the time. 

Edited by PeterStudz
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