Author Topic: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?  (Read 78 times)

Nate Flores

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I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« on: December 29, 2017, 01:04:32 AM »
26mm Meade came with etc 125
9.7mm " "
9.4mm spears Waller I bought
I also have a 2 x barlow

zoom ep? What is a must have ep?



Waka Belcher

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 04:27:56 AM »
I like Orthos and sometimes with the right sky conditions can get away with a nice Vixen made 5mm. Be warned though they can have very short eye relief and are not for everyone but so sharp edge to edge!. Meade also made a very nice 6.7mm UWA Japan made eyepiece years back and they pop up on occasion. Snap one up if you can. Sharp!

tevezito

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 05:57:59 AM »
No eyepiece will make as much difference as a larger aperture. Don't spend too much money on eyepieces that could go towards a 6" or 8" scope.

imasatex

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 01:39:22 PM »
Magnification = (Focal Length of your telescope) / (Focal Length of your eyepiece)

You can use the interactive Stelvision "Telescope Simulator" http://www.stelvisio...lator/index.php to see what the Moon, planets, star clusters, etc. look like with your telescope+eyepiece combination. Be sure to click on the "Detailed Simulation -- Choose Your Eyepieces" option to see what your eyepiece views will be like.

Your Meade ETX 125 https://www.meade.co...erver-html.html has a Focal Length of 1900mm. The magnification that is achieved with those two eyepieces is:

For 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece, Magnification = (1900mm)/(26mm) = 73x
For 9.7mm Super Plossl eyepiece, Magnification = (1900mm)/(9.7mm) = 196x

The 2x Barlow Lens has the effect of doubling the Focal Length of your telescope, so with those two eyepieces, the 2x Barlow Lens would give you (2)x(73)= 146x and (2)x(196) = 392x, respectively.

blufdestholreng

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 08:32:57 PM »
Quote
26mm Meade came with etc 125
9.7mm " "
9.4mm spears Waller I bought
I also have a 2 x barlow

zoom ep? What is a must have ep?

What is your budget? Do you wear eyeglasses when observing?

Rahul Sanders

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 03:08:31 AM »
The planets are getting pretty low in the sky right now so depending on your latitude, an EP may not help. With steady skies and good seeing, a well collimated ETX125 should deliver pretty nice planetary views at 200x when they are well overhead. Maybe plan a trip to Maui.

Jeremy Butler

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 05:16:39 AM »
In the Meade Series 4000 eyepiece lineuphttps://www.meade.co...html?series=121 (many of which I have), the 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece is OK but realize that the Apparent Field of View is widest at the 8mm setting and narrower at the 24mm setting.

The 20mm Meade Series 4000 Super Plossl eyepiece only has 2mm Eye Relief, which is pretty bad so I don't use it much. "Eye Relief" https://cameragx.fil.../eye_relief.jpg should preferably be 15mm or more so that your eyelashes don't have to mash against the lens, and if you wear glasses, you can see the focused image.

I own the Meade 26mm Super Plossl and the 9.7mm Super Plossl like you have, and I use them a lot.

Recommend getting a 32mm Meade Series 4000 Super Plosslto offer full-disk views of the Moon, complete views of the Pleiades, etc. It would give you a magnification of (1900mm)/(32mm) = 59x or so.

If you still have money, consider the 15mm Meade Series 4000 Super Plossl (which I like a lot); it gives (1900mm)/(15mm) = 127x magnification.

The "Rule of Thumb" is that the highest useful magnification is 30x-50x the diameter of the Primary Objective (in inches). The 125mm is equivalent to 4.92", so
(30)x(4.92) = 148x and
(50)x(4.92) = 246x (which is only for perfect seeing conditions)

Keep your eyepiece magnification below 246x (at the most); preferably, keep it below 148x. Nominally, the 9.7mm eyepiece you have is only useful for great seeing conditions; don't get anything with a smaller Focal Length than that.

acoplochop

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 04:54:40 PM »
Quote
The planets are getting pretty low in the sky right now so depending on your latitude, an EP may not help.

That!
Work on your observing skills (I know you hate to hear that) and next year when the planets present themselves well for observing you'll be amazed at how much better your ep's work.
The endless fine details of the moon are excellent developmental observation targets, and fascinating in and of themselves.

sdelbapaglo

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 01:17:39 PM »
I do about 95% photography, and 5% visual, but with my limited experience with EP's, I normally find myself going right for the Badder Hyperion Zoom EP. I've never looked thru higher end ep's, so my experience is limited, but for me who does very little visual, the badder zoom is the perfect EP for me. Very happy with it's field of view, eye relief, and edge to edge illumination.

Chad Shepard

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 02:28:13 PM »
Hello and welcome to the forum.

I don't have any experience with premium zooms. I do have a celestron 8-24 zoom.
I would not use this for planetary viewing. The views are a little softer than a good quality trraditional eyepiece.
Your scope has tracking so the best eyepiece is the one that has the best on axis performance.

For planetary viewing you really want to tease out every detail. Believe it or not plossl's and orthos are probably the best eyepieces for planets,
that are in most people's budget.

I recommend either gso plossl's, or used circle t orthos. Now under 10mm focal length the eyepiece's eye relief get short. So when
I do planets, I normally get an eyepiece with twice the focal length and use a 2x barlow. If you have a lot of money to spend,
You could also use televue plossl's I have heard there the best, but I don't want to spend that kind of money for eyepieces.

A 9mm or an 8mm would give you a 200x magnification, which is probably where this scope would be getting close to its maximum.
So if you have a 20mm or 17mm plossl, you can pick up a gso 2x barlow and see how your observing goes.

As other have said here the planets are getting very low in the sky. You are looking through a lot of atmospheric soup.

Lunar viewing has some similarities to planetary viewing in that you are using high power and trying to pull in the most detail you can.
You can use that to test your equipment.

Good Luck!

tirafarpa

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 03:31:15 PM »
Quote
26mm Meade came with etc 125
9.7mm " "
9.4mm spears Waller I bought
I also have a 2 x barlow

zoom ep? What is a must have ep?

I own the ETX 125.  My favorite eyepieces are:

32 mm Celestron Plossl. Meade, GSO would be comparable.  59X and .88 FOV. Lowest power/widest view eyepiece option.  Get one!

After that it is my 24 to 8 mm Zoom eyepieces.  I have two.

Celestron is good. If your budget is tight then, at $65 this is a bargain.

Baader Hyperion clickstop has a wider FOV and is better corrected at the edges.  $280. If you have the budget, this is the one to get.

You have a 1900 mm FL so the zoom gives you 79X to 237X and everything in between. Under most conditions that is higher than I can take the ETX 125. Seeing and transparency often limit me from going over 180X even with my 8" Dob.

The zooms will work with your barlow but normally you won't need it.  When I pull out the ETX I grab the 32 mm Plossl and a zoom and I am good for the night.

I never expected the zoom eyepiece to become my primary eyepiece, but it has.
The Celestron is good and comparable to my Plossl eyepieces but the Baader Hyperion is great and comparable to my Explore Scientific eyepieces
Watching doubles split as I rotate the barrel is wonderful
One filter serves over a wide range of magnifications, no screwing and unscrewing to try other eyepieces
Moving smoothly from and between small changes in magnification helps when seeing is not the best
Sharing the view with others is easier, especially in my manual tracking Dob - I can hand it over at low mag so it stays in the view longer, and then have them zoom back in to whatever magnification works best for them rather than for me.
Kids love the zoom
My eyepiece case has been greatly simplified
I hope that helps.

Greg Quevedo

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 05:19:52 PM »
good binoviewers are great on planets... in awell setup12in scope. makes Saturn sing...

Robert Cavalli

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 09:41:04 AM »
Remaxman,
Welcome to CN and the forum!
I've used an ETX125, Super Charged by ASO, for years. Fun scope that I have set-up and use as a Grab-N-Go.

DLuders is correct. You're best viewing will be in the 200X area or less with maybe 240x on a night with exceptional seeing and a terrific eyepiece.

To some extent I agree with bvillebob unless you're going to spend money on a high-end EP like ZAOs on Monocentrc. That doesn't necessarily mean you can't get some pretty decent views of the planets from a reasonably dark site with great seeing.
bvillebob: No eyepiece will make as much difference as a larger aperture.

I liked Cajundaddy suggestion: "Maybe plan a trip to Maui." Drive up to the parking lot on Mt. Haleakalā. Or try Maui Stargazing and use their 12" DOB.

Dick Gentry makes a good suggestion & point.

All that said, traditionally folks use Ortho's or Plössl with many giving Ortho's a slight edge. (generally, but there are exceptions like the TV Plössl). You can save a few bucks and try out some of the 'classic' used Circle-T Ortho's or a TV Circle NJ Plössl at a reasonable cost. If you don't like them you can resell them without taking a huge 'hit'.

Chaudhari Evans

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 08:54:55 AM »
As the scope appears to be an ETX-125 the best I would suggest is a 9mm or 11mm - I miss 10mm out as I cannot bring one to mind, there will be several.

I have a 9mm Antares Ortho that would be one option and would give a bit over 200x, (211x). It may work it may not. The other would be the TV 11mm plossl (172x). Performance wise likely close to identical.

As already said the planets are low at present, all that air at low angles is simply going to make soup of any view.

One "problem" with planets is that as high magnifications tend to be used - they are bright - you will find that on nights the 9mm will not work, when the 11mm will be fine, that leaves you thinking of a 10mm. Planetary observers tend to have lots of eyepieces at the lower end, often in 1mm steps.

Since the title says "better" does that mean primarily bigger or clearer?
Not sure when Jupiter reappears, I should, but make plans for that but do not go overboard on magnification.

ovhercayvic

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Re: I want to see planets better. What eyepieces should I get?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 06:30:23 AM »
Quote
26mm Meade came with etc 125
9.7mm " "
9.4mm spears Waller I bought
I also have a 2 x barlow

zoom ep? What is a must have ep?


Good views of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars depend on a stable atmosphere, (good seeing), a telescope of sufficient aperture that has good optics and has thermally equilibrated and an eyepiece that provides enough magnification to see what can be seen.

The important thing about the eyepiece is matches the seeing conditions, this means to get the good views of the planets, you want several eyepieces or a zoom eyepiece so you have the right eyepiece for the conditions. Currently, your two high power eyepieces provide 196x and 202x. If the seeing is stable, 200x is a reasonable magnification but it might be too much for many situations.

Rod Mollise said:

"When it comes to planetary viewing, the seeing is not the most important thing, it's the only thing."

One cannot overstate the importance of a stable column of air to look through. Currently, Jupiter is low in the west at sunset, Saturn is in the south but for observers in the northern latitudes, it is quite low. What this means is that there's a long column of air and that air, because it's closer to the earth's surface, it likely to be turbulent, this disturbs the views of high magnification views of the planets.

In the big picture, there's not much you can do about the seeing but wait and be prepared. Some locals rarely have good to excellent seeing, some have good to excellent seeing quite frequently. The further south you are, the better the seeing generally is. Being close to an ocean can help stabilize the atmosphere. When I am is probably better than most of the US, right at the southwest corner a few miles from the ocean. The other night I was viewing Saturn at 411x in my 10 inch Dob, it was crisp and clear..

There are some guidelines to help improve your local seeing... Generally viewing over houses and buildings is not good because they give off heat, the rising heat waves disturb the air column. Viewing the through the heat rising from a clothes dryer vent is an experience not to be missed.. It's like looking through a mirage. Trees can also affect the seeing. Setting up on grass rather than concrete or asphalt is also a good thing. Concrete and asphalt absorb heat during the day and and at night, give it off, causing heat waves that disturb that light path.

The altitude above the horizon should be maximized if possible. Right now, with Saturn near it's highest elevation at sunset, you want to catch it right away. When a planet is rising, it's best to wait. Ideally a planet should be 45 degrees or more above the horizon but you make the best of what is possible.

Eyepieces: If the seeing is stable, if the scope is cooled down and collimated, most any decent eyepiece will give a good view of the planets. Having the right eyepiece, having a comfortable eyepiece in terms of eye relief, these are important factors..

In your situation, I really do think a zoom would be a good choice. The standard 8-24mm zoom would provide you magnifications from 79x to 238x, that pretty much covers the planetary magnifications you would ever need. The beauty of the zoom is that you just dial in the right magnification without swapping eyepieces, it's right there in front of you.

The question is, which one? There are inexpensive zooms, I think you lose some contrast and sharpness with these. Zooms are already compromised because of the many elements and the fact that they are changing relationship with one another. A good Plossl is a very sharp eyepiece, in my experience, a $60 zoom does not provide that level of performance.

I recently purchased the Baader Mk IV 8-24 zoom, it's expensive, around $300, but to my eye, it's a good eyepiece. It's not quite as sharp and contrasty as my fixed focal length TeleVue eyepieces but it's a good eyepiece and in the F/15 ETX-125, it should be a very good eyepiece. Between the Baader and the inexpensive zooms are the old standard Vixen LV based 8-24mm zooms that were made in Japan, these are available used.. I have one but rarely use it, the Baader gets a lot of use.

So, that's the way I see getting the good planetary views.  Fixed focal length eyepieces are the standard so a zoom is not necessary, a set of Plossls or a set of eyepieces with more eye relief, that's what most do. Be patient, wait for the good seeing and be prepared.

Jon