Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eyepieces, What a can of worms!!!

If there is anything that gets folks going, it the question: Hey Pardner what is the best eyepiece to have? I am going to tell you right now there is No absolute answer to this. However, Ladies and Gentleman there are some pretty close answers. Try as I may, I will take a whack at this and see what falls. I always respond to that inquiry with: What do you like to look at and much money do you have? Now this might seem backwards to some but we need to look at the price thing first But we will get back to it in a while. Discretionary income is the driving force here. Those of us that have plenty just call up and order two of each. Then there are those that have not so plenty. I am on the not so plenty list and a wife that rules the checkbook with an iron fist. I can not afford to make mistakes with my purchases so I do research on the eyepiece that I want. I go to online forums and ask. I go to star parties, local star gazes for public outreach. When I go which is all the time there will always be one of my buddies there with a new "toy" saying hey Steve check this out!!! So I do. Nothing better than getting scope time with a potential piece of equipment you are considering. You will have a clear idea of what is out there and what works for you. The link above is a Tele vue Ethos 13mm which costs almost 700 after tax, shipping etc... I know you are saying, HOLY hot potato Steve that costs more than my scope!!! Yup most of my Scopes too. For a lot of folks that eyepiece or one in that family is the Holy Grail of eyepieces, huge wide views, sharp as a tack images edge to edge. Makes you want to drool. That is the near high end of cost. The low end is Free I say that because I have given away eyepieces because they were so bad that I could not sleep at night knowing I took money for them. Most of the time you get what you pay for. Somewhere in the middle there are eyepieces that will not have you looking into sell your kids to afford them and they will do a very very good job. I have not used every eyepiece that has come down the pike so these recommendations are mine and mine alone so do not beat me up on this. What are we looking at? if you like planets and all that goes with that the choice most folks make is an eyepiece that has as few pieces of glass between the planet and the eye Abbe orthoscopics come to mind I use a few Celestron excels. ED glass decent views 60 dollars or so I need eyepieces that have some eye relief for my glasses. so that is one of the things that drive my decisions.Open clusters, galaxies and nebulae my MAN!!! Love em. I can spend hours and hours at a time looking at them. For these beauties I need a wide view of the sky and as I can not afford an Ethos with its 100 degree Apparent field of view(AFOV). I looked elsewhere and found some 68 degree afov eyepieces made by Baader. The Hyperion series do all I need them to do, great eye relief, sharp to nearly the edge if not the edge. Great coatings all for about $129 +/- I have a 17mm I use most all the time for everything. On the less costly side are the Birdseye view eyepieces from Anacortes. They can be the real deal. 80 degree AFOV pretty decent coatings all for $45. Pentax, Tele Vue, Meade 5000 series, Celestron Axiom and Abbe are all good to very good to excellent and you will pay a premium for them. For me and most everyone I know, if we could have two good eyepieces or one great eye piece for the same amount of money We would take the one great one every time. One great eye piece will make your scope into a new-ish scope. You will say I never saw that before continuously. I have a buddy in the astro game that will use his ethos on a 4.5 inch short tube dobsonian for that quick look thing we all do or should do. He loves it. So if you are going to settle for a good couple of eyepieces save your cash just a little longer and buy a great one.

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