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My next Planetary Eyepiece purchase has arrived :)


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On my camping trip earlier this month, I packed the SkyWatcher Mak 180 Pro, Explorer 130P, HEQ5, AZ4, Revelation Eyepiece Kit, William Optics Binoviewer, Astronomy netBook PC, and a couple of extra eyepiece which - despite me taking only two T-Shirts and some spare underpants, left remarkably little room for my wife, and even less for my mother-in-law.

Although this was the "cut-down" version of my kit - and will probably always come with me on astronomy holidays - it was clear that for family-friendly holidays (especially camping ones, where the car's going to have a lot of extra "stuff" in it) that I was going to need a much more "family-friendly" astronomical set-up.

I'd already decided what the main components were to be:

1) Unbranded Mak 105mm (bought from Earl_UK)

2) Orion Tabletop EQ1 Mount (bought from CGolder)

3) Japanese 26mm Meade Series 4000 Plossl (kind gift from JohnC)

and (4)...

- what was (4) to be?...

I'd tested out the 9mm GSO Plossl from the Revelation Kit. This puts in a good performance, but unfortunately the combination of short eye-relief (normally it's OK) and the weird angle that the built-in diagonal of the Mak can get into, proved just too uncomfortable in too many situations.

I decided then to purchase another one of those £36 TMB Planetaries from Sky's The Limit. I tested out my 6mm one for usability and comfort, and although the focal length is clearly too short for a Mak, it's obvious that the form factor and weight are excellent for a travel setup.

On the subject of focal length I went for 8mm TMB, because the 9mm Revelation Plossl was fine on Jupiter (at 150x) and if anything a tiny bit too bright. I figure an 8mm at 170x magnification is about the most I can push out of this scope at a magnifcation still usable on the majority of evenings. Of course, I'm fully aware that I'm not going to see the spots of mottled detail on Jupiter than I can see with the 180 Mak, but I will at least be able to see the belts clearly enough on a good night, and I'm interested to see how well this performs on the moon.

My wife's called to say that it's arrived...

Can't wait to use it! :D

Should be fun!

Edited by great_bear
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