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newbie

new eyepiece advice please

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Great views of M42 last night but Mars was tiny! Couldn't achieve focus with anything more than my 10mm EP. The supplied 10mm EP and barlow combi just doesn't seem to work, which I assume means too much magnification for the conditions?

I'm looking to add an EP that will give me more magnification for planets, but not so much to be unusable. Any ideas?

I was thinking of something like this, and attaching my barlow to give me 160x or the straight 6.4mm version giving me 187x.

Meade 4000 Series 15mm Super Plossl Eyepiece 1.25"

Which would be generally best for UK conditions, and are the 4000 series any good?

Thanks, in anticipation of valued advice as always.

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I recently faced the same problem and, after a lot of research and advice here, I bought 2 ortho EPs.

Most people seam to agree the University Optics Orthos seam to be the best value for the money when it comes to planetary observation. I went for the Baader ones for a bit more cash.

If you use glasses the Orthos will be a problem due to the short eye relief.

Here are some links:

Extensive review on planetary EPs

University optics at a good price The HD version haves better coatings and is parfocal.

Baader Orthos at a good price

Even after import taxes I had a better price then buying in the EU due to the dollar current rate. You should check import taxes in UK and the price of this EPs there to see whats cheaper.

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Before I spent a ton of money on upgrades, I would get the book Astronomy Hacks by Thompson and Thompson. They have a really good section on selecting eyepieces so you aren't just "stabbing in the dark" on your selection.

Even better would be to try some eyepieces before you buy, but that is quite difficult unless you visit an astronomy club and some members help you out.

Edited by jimhaleysscomet

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From my experience I wouldn't buy an eyepiece that gives you approx 200x magnification with your scope, because chances are you'll hardly get to use it. I've got a othoscopic 6mm eyepiece for my 80mm refractor, and it hardly ever gets barlow'ed due to poor seeing.

I think achieving 240x mag with your Explorer 150PL scope (with your 10mm barlow'ed) would be on a (very) good day and therefore quite rare. But I think your suggestion of getting a 15mm eyepiece is a good one. However, from my somewhat limited experience of the Meade 4000's I'd be tempted to spend a little more on a Tele Vue plossl, which retail at about £70 for a 15mm.

You'd get more use out of it than a 6.4mm eyepiece, and due to the quality of the eyepiece it'd be a keeper.

HTH

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I would personally look to get a 12-12.5mm eyepiece. It will give 100x by itself, which will make it a nice eyepiece for viewing globular clusters, doubles etc but could be barlowed to give 200x, which Mars really requires as a minimum. The good news is Mars is riding high and out of the thick, murky atmosphere. So it will take 200x+ on most nights. I've observed Mars 14 times so far since it returned and it has taken 250x+ on every occasion bar one. And it really needs everything you can give it.

My two most used eyepieces for planetary are a Meade 10.5mm Ortho and Antares 6mm HD Ortho. The 6mm gives 200x in the 200P (same focal length as your 150PL) and has become my workhorse lunar/planetary eyepiece. Although a 7mm would be more useable on more nights, especially when things are as low as Jupiter has been. But i won't swap now. Jupiter will be gaining altitude rapidly now and lifting itself out of the murk as well.

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I dont do much planetary but I'd go for a 12-15 mm EP. You'll get a lot of use on DSOs with it and it can be barlowed to much to give a higher power EP without too much drama.

I went for a 13mm Hyperion for the wide angle views and its a good EP. Not so sure if my main requirement was planets if it would be what I'd buy.

ps the new Skywatcher super plossls are reputed to be good if your on a tight budget - I saw a few recently and they dont look anythying like the stuff that comes with the scope - very much classier looking product.

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I don't mean to disrespect anyone's opinion. In fact I'm quite new in the hobby and have much less experience then most here, but I been using 240x for planets/moon in almost all of my observations over the last month (since I got the 5mm EP) and the results have been pretty good.

When I had only the 10mm plossl and the barlow the image at 240x was always poor, but now since I got the 5mm ortho it has been the most used EP for planetary observation. In the last month I only remember 2 sessions where it wasn't good enough to use 240x.

Since I only did a bit over 10 sessions since I got it, I can't take definite conclusions out of it. There are lots of ways to explain this, for example:

1) I was lucky and had a good run of good seeing nights.

2) My eyes are not so picky as most when it comes to seeing conditions.

3) My lack of experience is clouding my judgement.

4) The climate in the Azores and my dark skies are in my favor when compared to regular UK conditions.

I honestly don't know if it's cause one of this reasons or even all combined but I been impressed with high mags on planets and found them useful on most days.

Edited by pvaz

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Its your location you probably have good seeing conditions. Conditions in the UK are VERY different. I have been lucky to ever get my 8" to ever hit x200.

So far I have used my 5mm precisely errrrr once and the view was terrible.

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Yeah thats probably it. The fact that I'm at latitude 39 means the ecliptic haves a steeper angle so the planets are higher in the sky when viewed from here.

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I find that with my SkyWatcher 10" dob I can use about 240x for planetary most nights and on lunar 400x.

With my OO UK 14" dob with it's 99 Strehl mirror I would normally use about 400x for planetary and about 550x for lunar (on a good night up to 800x). Premium optics and aperture mean you can really push the magnification.

I live just about in the dead centre of the UK so light pollution isn't as bad as London but it's still not that good.

John

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