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Old 08-10-2011, 04:14 AM   #1
fireballs619
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Default Buying new eyepieces, need advice

I currently have two eyepieces to go with my Celestron Nexstar 130Slt (f/5), a 9 mm and a 25 mm. They provide decent viewing opportunities, but I'm thinking about buying some extra eyepieces to expand what I view. I really don't know much about eyepieces, so I'm a bit lost as to where I should start. I was thinking about buying this set:



It seems like a good deal ($27 an eyepiece?! Hot dog!), but I am generally cautious of inexpensive sets like this, as I'm afraid the eyepieces are going to be lower quality. Outside of that, I haven't look that much. I don't know enough about eyepieces to know what I should buy for what I view. On an average night, I view some planets (mainly Saturn) and the moon, so I would love anything that gives me a better view of those. While it's usually not dark enough where I live to view DSOs, I have had a few opportunities to go out where it is dark, so I'm trying to keep that in mind. Also, should I be spending my money on different accessories, such as filters or something? I really don't know which is the best investment.

Any help?
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:49 AM   #2
The Void
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From my experience try to go for a set from Japan like Meade, you cant go wrong with Meade.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:22 AM   #3
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I've got a similar but 114mm scope, like yours but not motorised. I bought that set straight after acquiring my scope and haven't been too disappointed. I've never used the colour filters as I think they're more for astrophotography and I'm more of a 'when I can be bothered', casual observer. Unfortunately I live in London and light pollution's a bitch. I bought a light pollution filter along with the set and it's next to useless, it cost just as much as this whole kit, but I just get a dimmed view with a strange tangerine/magenta hue. Perhaps it works better with a CCD cam in conjunction with the coloured filters.
Without getting into telescope observing in a big way I consider that starter set a most worthwhile investment.

The 2x Barlow lens is pretty handy, better than the 3x I got with the scope. Actually saw Mars's polar caps with the 2x. The 3x gave me a grey, very dim view.
The largest, wide angle lens (sorry I don't know my diameters off top of head) has excellent optics and is brilliant for targets like the Pleiades. Beware the moon with that lens though, I nearly blinded myself with first use. The midway sized eyepiece is wide enough to see saturn's rings with Titan, Iapetus, or Jupiter and the gallileans in the same view. The smallest eyepiece Saturn fills the field of view, but with my wee scope it's a fuzzy grey ball. I have loads of fun chasing it and keeping it in viewport at that magnification as my scope's not motorised and I usually align to north by eye.

Enthusiasts probably sneer at this set, I guess you get what you pay for. Being a casual observer, I'm perfectly happy with it and would recommend it. More so than a light pollution filter. I also bought a solar filter that covers the open end of the scope as I couldn't be bothered with a projection setup for viewing the sun. They're pretty cheap and opens up another way to use your scope, during the daytime. I watched the 2004 transit of Venus with it and it was worth it for that alone. (Another one coming in 2012 )I just got very paranoid about anyone getting near the scope in case the filter got pierced in some way. Haven't used it much over the last few years but the sun's waking up again. I might just take it out and have a butchers on the next clear day. As my scope struggles with deep sky objects I tended to do more solar viewing. Plus there's something rebellious about using a telescope in shorts and t-shirt drinking a beer instead of head to toe in scarf and wooly's sipping cocoa and whinging at every light source. I've been meaning to treat myself to a H-αlpha filter for a while now.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:45 AM   #4
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I have the same set for my 8" SCT and I'm happy with it.

I did quite a bit of research before getting a set of eyepieces and ended up getting this set for a variety of reasons - the main one being price.

It's a good set. One really nice advantage of it is the case that is just one handy box to keep everything eyepiece-related together and not have them rolling around in a cardboard box. The quality of them varies. As Spaced mentioned, the lowest power one (37mm or 45mm off the top of my head) is a very nice lens. Pretty wide FoV (though not as wide as they can get with an expensive set of Plossls) and very clear. The shorter eyepieces are still pretty good until you get down to the 6/4mm ones which I'd class as average, though this is getting to the limits of what's easily achievable in optics at this price. But in all honesty, you may find you're going to be limited by your scope anyway so I think that the eyepieces will be fine for you.

The barlow in the set is just pants. I've tried it on a variety of different occasions with different combinations of eyepieces and each-and-every time the resulting image has come out much fuzzier than just using one higher-powered eyepiece. Though having said that, my scope is f/10 and so I get to my scope's max magnification without a barlow (max usable magnification is normally 50x per inch of diameter). You may find that with your f/5 scope you need the barlow and the 6mm lens to get decent magnification.

As for the filters, they're not just for astrophotography. I've used them many times for various different effects. You generally use the filters to tease out details and increase contrast by using the 'opposite' colour to what you are looking at. So for example, use a blue/green filter when viewing Mars to darken the red colour of the planet more than the white icecaps to get more contrast on the ice-caps (that's an awesome sight!). Similarly green ones can be used on Saturn. The moon filter is handy as it's just ridiculously bright through a scope (I looked at it through my 8" WITH the moon filter and it ruined my night vision for the next 45 mins!). The colour filters are fair quality, but I find them very handy and a good addition but don't use them enough to get top quality ones.

In short:
large eyepiece = very good
other eyepieces = good
filters = good
barlow = poor
value for money = very good

For your scope these are a good fit and I'd recommend them. They'll never be as good as a decent set of eyepieces, but they'll also save you a few hundred dollars. If you are thinking of upgrading your scope to 8/10" or above high-quality scope (Meade etc) then I'd say get some good eyepieces now to save you having to upgrade them in the future, but if you're sticking with your scope for the foreseeable future I don't think you can go wrong with these. Maybe try them all out and upgrade the barlow to a decent quality ($80ish) one at 2, 2.5 or 3x if you decide you need it.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:21 PM   #5
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Thanks all! Since it seems that the kit is of sufficient quality, I'll probably end up getting that. Again, thanks!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentgonzo View Post
 As for the filters, they're not just for astrophotography
Ah, nice one. I'll have to try them out again ASAP. With most objects I'm lucky if I can gather enough light for the higher power eyepieces without it all turning to a grey mulch. Filters compounded the problem, so I reckon that was why I never gave them much of a chance with my 4" newtonian.
I probably benefit from the Barlow more than you too. Although I must clarify to fireballs619, Mars's polar caps, although discernable at highest power using the Barlow, it required a heck of a lot of imagination too. The experience made me sympathise with Mr Lowell's canals.

Glad to hear you were smart enough to use the moon filter first time out agentgonzo. I was like a kid in a candy store desperate to try out my new toys and rushed things. I'd read all about the dangers of solar observing, but no one told me about the moon. Sir Patrick, why's that? I thought the moon was your thang and there's and there's not a sausage of its danger in your books. No wonder you wear a monocle.

I really must upgrade at some point. I started to get fed up viewing everything with averted vision. There's some things I still want to tick off my list and currently lack the ability. Uranus as more than a dull grey dot, Neptune, the Cassini division, difinitive views of Mar's caps, Phobos, granules on the sun and a healthy portion of Messier objects.
Still..... I've had grand views of Sinus Iridium at dawn, tracked sunspots, seen a satellite pass in front of the moon. A definite "WTF was that?!" moment. I also caught a glimpse of a gorgeous neighbour undressing, but that was an accident I assure you and being a gentleman I waited until the moon sank down and then continued my planned evening's observations.

Speaking to The Void, lol, I do that regularly offline....... Meade's the way to go is it? What makes you recommend them over the competition? I might have a few grand to chuck at a new scope in 6 months and the means to travel beyond London's "sickly orange barf glow". Hadn't thought too seriously about it until now.

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Originally Posted by Fireballs619
  Thanks all! I'll probably end up getting that.
I hope you get as much use and enjoyment from it as I have.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaced View Post
 Ah, nice one. I'll have to try them out again ASAP. With most objects I'm lucky if I can gather enough light for the higher power eyepieces without it all turning to a grey mulch. Filters compounded the problem, so I reckon that was why I never gave them much of a chance with my 4" newtonian.
Ah, yes. With a 4" you will only get 1/4 of the light that I get in my 8" and so filters and high power mag will make things quite dim. Especially if you are viewing from light polluted areas and so you won't have really well adapted night vision

Quote:
Glad to hear you were smart enough to use the moon filter first time out agentgonzo.
See above about me getting 4x as much light as you. Still blinding!

Quote:
seen a satellite pass in front of the moon. A definite "WTF was that?!"
I had an airliner fly right through my FoV one time when viewing a messier object. Zipped across the FoV in about a tenth of a second being massive, partly grey with the tail light on and the red/green wingtip lights. Scared the living bejesus out of me!
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