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Beginner looking for extra eyepieces for telescope

Beginner looking for extra eyepieces for telescope


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I have a Bushnell Voyager Reflector telescope. It came with 2 eyepieces: k4mm and k20mm. And I am trying to find additional eyepieces to zoom in further on planets and stars, but the bushnell website doesnt offer any. I am unsure if other brands will work with the telescope. Or is my teleacope not powerful enough to look further out.


First of all, any eyepiece of the correct diameter will work with your telescope. Typical diameters are 1.25" and 2".

The eyepieces you have listed tell you the focal length of the lens. This relates to the magnification - the focal length of the telescope divided by the focal length of the lens will tell you the magnification. So the 20 mm eyepiece will give you lower magnification than the 4 mm eyepiece. Thus to work out the magnication you will need to know the size and focal length of the telescope for starters. A Google search showed there are at least a couple of models but your owner's manual will give you this information.

Now a caveat: Forget (at least a bit) about magnification. Many telescope brands will [try to] sell the magnification, because this is a big selling point. BUT higher magnification might just turn a small fuzzy blob into a bigger fuzzy blob.

The most important features of a telescope are the aperture (diameter) and lens/mirror quality. Bigger aperture means more light means easier to see faint stuff. And a quality lens means the difference between a fuzzy blob and a crystal-clear image.

You will probably find that the mirrors in your telescope are reasonable quality; the lenses are usually where the sellers save on cost. I am confident that if you buy a good quality lens in the 10-15 mm range and one in the 20-25 mm range you will see very nice, clear images of the Moon, the planets out to Saturn, nebulae and star clusters.


Beginner looking for multiple telescopes (1 home, 1 travel)

I have very limited experience, I've used a friends 8" dobsonian a couple of times. I currently live in the close suburbs of Cincinnati, OH, so a lot of light pollution for my home.

I'm going to Yellowstone / Grand Tetons next summer and was thinking it might be fun to take along a telescope for the clear Wyoming skies. We'll have a group of 6 adults and 7 kids - so a group viewing, most likely the moon and tracking the planets. I'd be looking for something inexpensive (under $300). Primary goals would be something that wouldn't require a lot of setup/adjustment, could be setup quickly, able to withstand being bounced around a little in a car trip, and fairly compact. From what I've read, thinking a refractor, maybe something like the Meade Infinity 102mm for $250 as it comes with a good amount of eyepieces:

Then next year adding a bigger scope, maybe 10" or 12" Dobsonian. Around $1000 or so budget, but open to higher if needed. I'd come back for suggestions at that time

The other option is that I have a pair of 8x42 Celestron NatureDX binoculars, I could just start using those to get the feel for learning to identify planets and constellations since I'll already be bring those for the vacation, but not as exciting

I'm not sure if it would be good to think ahead, so that whatever I purchase, eyepieces, etc, would be compatible with the future Dobsonian purchase. It's also worth noting that I have a Nikon D7100 DSLR, so with the Dobsonian it might be nice to have the option of getting into astrophotography (not really a concern for the travel scope however).

#2 SeattleScott

I think you are on the right track with the refractor. A table top Dob is very compact, but you would need to find something to set it on, and it would need to be collimated (not a huge deal).

A 6” F5 newt on a $200 manual Alt Az mount (multiple options for scope and mount) would give 6” of aperture for those dark skies, eliminate the need to find an appropriate table or rock to set a table top Dob on, and be pretty compact. It would probably cost about $400 and still need eyepieces. But it would have good aperture for a travel scope and generally better build quality than the entry level refractor. A 4” refractor does make a good travel/grab and go scope also. Just when you go that cheap you usually run into issues, like poor eyepieces, cheap daytime prism instead of a star diagonal, wobbly tripod, etc. I haven’t used the Infinity myself though. But if you become more than a casual stargazer, I don’t know if the Infinity will satisfy you for long. It’s more something I might consider as a terrestrial scope, or a cheap scope for the kids to use so they don’t mess up my good scopes.

Gonna be tough doing DSLR Astrophotography with a Dob but you can worry about that later when you buy your big scope.

Edited by SeattleScott, 15 December 2020 - 01:48 PM.

#3 Sky Muse

Don't order from Adorama enough said.

I would choose the "StarPro" variant instead of the "Infinity" deviant.

The eyepieces that come with these inexpensive, entry-level kits fall short of expectations, I'm afraid the barlow also. But you can certainly use them until better is had. Also, the included Amici/erect-image diagonal is primarily for daytime/terrestrial use birds in trees, ships at sea, et al. You can use the bundled diagonal at night but you may desire a proper star-diagonal for that celestial, in future.

A short achromat(refractor) is ideal for deep-sky objects, but less so for lunar and planetary observations. The shorter the achromat, the more false-colour is seen when viewing brighter objects the longer, the less to be noticed. But longer achromats require larger mounts, and among the entry-level kits, a more-complex mount, an equatorial, is often included for examples.

However, folks do make do with the shorter achromats, and for every observing situation.

#4 SeattleScott

Don't order from Adorama enough said.

I would choose the "StarPro" variant instead of the "Infinity" deviant.

The eyepieces that come with these inexpensive, entry-level kits fall short of expectations, I'm afraid the barlow also. But you can certainly use them until better is had. Also, the included Amici/erect-image diagonal is primarily for daytime/terrestrial use birds in trees, ships at sea, et al. You can use the bundled diagonal at night but you may desire a proper star-diagonal for that celestial, in future.

A short achromat(refractor) is ideal for deep-sky objects, but less so for lunar and planetary observations. The shorter the achromat, the more false-colour is seen when viewing brighter objects the longer, the less to be noticed. But longer achromats require larger mounts, and among the entry-level kits, a more-complex mount, an equatorial, is often included for examples.

However, folks do make do with the shorter achromats, and for every observing situation.

Case in point. Less than 11 lbs fully assembled. My 4” refractor weighs about 9lbs, just the tube, not the mount. The mount weighs another 18lbs. Not nearly as portable, but a joy to use. Cheap and flimsy is what you get in this price range. Which might be just fine for casual use or occasional travel. But if you want to stargaze weekly, you will probably soon outgrow it.

Different scope but it does a good job of illustrating the perils of cheap, flimsy telescopes:
https://www.cloudyni. /#entry10730660

How cheap is the Infinity after you replace the wobbly tripod, the daytime prism, and the worthless barlow? My gosh, I have seen some absolutely worthless finderscopes on entry level scopes. And those eyepieces might be palatable with the Infinity refractor but you won’t want to use them on your bigger Dob later.

Edited by SeattleScott, 15 December 2020 - 02:51 PM.

#5 ulrichsd

Wow, thanks so much everyone for the advice, I wasn't expecting so many responses so quickly!

I think you are on the right track with the refractor. A table top Dob is very compact, but you would need to find something to set it on, and it would need to be collimated (not a huge deal).

A 6” F5 newt on a $200 manual Alt Az mount (multiple options for scope and mount) would give 6” of aperture for those dark skies, eliminate the need to find an appropriate table or rock to set a table top Dob on, and be pretty compact. It would probably cost about $400 and still need eyepieces. But it would have good aperture for a travel scope and generally better build quality than the entry level refractor. A 4” refractor does make a good travel/grab and go scope also. Just when you go that cheap you usually run into issues, like poor eyepieces, cheap daytime prism instead of a star diagonal, wobbly tripod, etc. I haven’t used the Infinity myself though. But if you become more than a casual stargazer, I don’t know if the Infinity will satisfy you for long. It’s more something I might consider as a terrestrial scope, or a cheap scope for the kids to use so they don’t mess up my good scopes.

Gonna be tough doing DSLR Astrophotography with a Dob but you can worry about that later when you buy your big scope.

A table top dob might be an interesting choice for the trip? I could probably use it on either a picnic table or I have a fold-out fish cleaning table (assuming that might not be sturdy enough though).

Here's a 4" dobsonian for $100:

I just don't want to drop a ton of money on something so I don't have to worry about other people or kids using it.

Astrophotography would be a long-term goal and more of a bonus rather than a primary use. But there'd be an interest if possible.

Don't order from Adorama enough said.

I would choose the "StarPro" variant instead of the "Infinity" deviant.

https://www.bhphotov. 02mm_f_6_5.html

The eyepieces that come with these inexpensive, entry-level kits fall short of expectations, I'm afraid the barlow also. But you can certainly use them until better is had. Also, the included Amici/erect-image diagonal is primarily for daytime/terrestrial use birds in trees, ships at sea, et al. You can use the bundled diagonal at night but you may desire a proper star-diagonal for that celestial, in future.

A short achromat(refractor) is ideal for deep-sky objects, but less so for lunar and planetary observations. The shorter the achromat, the more false-colour is seen when viewing brighter objects the longer, the less to be noticed. But longer achromats require larger mounts, and among the entry-level kits, a more-complex mount, an equatorial, is often included for examples.

https://www.bhphotov. _equtorial.html

https://www.bhphotov. ni_XLT_102.html

However, folks do make do with the shorter achromats, and for every observing situation.

My thoughts were that a refractor might be a good general purpose, easy to maintain, more durable option. The StarPro is less expensive so that is always good too

The advantage of the Meade Polaris you listed over the StarPro or Infinity is the Equatorial mount? Price-wise they are all similar.

Case in point. Less than 11 lbs fully assembled. My 4” refractor weighs about 9lbs, just the tube, not the mount. The mount weighs another 18lbs. Not nearly as portable, but a joy to use. Cheap and flimsy is what you get in this price range. Which might be just fine for casual use or occasional travel. But if you want to stargaze weekly, you will probably soon outgrow it.

Yes, I understand the budget is low, but to use primarily for starter / travel purposes, I'm trying to be aware of the limitations. So the best "all around" for casual use, travel/portability, price, flexibility, basic / mixed-use is what I'd be looking for. I just don't want to have to be concerned about an expensive item while traveling with a large group (3 families).

#6 SeattleScott

If it really is more for occasional family camping trips then the cheap refractor is fine. But consider you are also talking about getting a big scope, like a 10”-12” Dob or something that will be your main scope. Problem is there are times when you don’t have the time/energy to pull out a big Dob, tweak the collimation, wait for it to acclimate before doing any high power viewing, etc. It’s different for Jon Isaacs. He is retired. He doesn’t have young kids at home. He normally sets up at least two telescopes every time he stargazes, and he is often out for hours. But you and me? We got kids, probably jobs too. We busy. Believe me, there will be a lot of nights that you just don’t want to mess with getting out the big dog scope. Whether lack of time, or energy from a full day of work and kid wrangling, or just the lunar phase being too bright to bother messing with the big scope, or the patchy clouds making it not worth messing with the big scope, there will be many times you want a smaller scope. So you have an opportunity here to get a reasonably good quality smaller scope that can be your small grab and go for nights that it isn’t practical to get the big guy out, and also serve as a camping trip scope for the kids. I mean $250 for a camping trip scope for kids, or $400 for a scope you can also use as a small grab and go alternative to your eventual big scope.

Something to consider anyway.

Edited by SeattleScott, 15 December 2020 - 03:10 PM.

#7 ulrichsd

If it really is more for occasional family camping trips then the cheap refractor is fine. But consider you are also talking about getting a big scope, like a 10”-12” Dob or something that will be your main scope. Problem is there are times when you don’t have the time/energy to pull out a big Dob, tweak the collimation, wait for it to acclimate before doing any high power viewing, etc. It’s different for Jon Isaacs. He is retired. He doesn’t have young kids at home. He normally sets up at least two telescopes every time he stargazes, and he is often out for hours. But you and me? We got kids, probably jobs too. We busy. Believe me, there will be a lot of nights that you just don’t want to mess with getting out the big dog scope. Whether lack of time, or energy from a full day of work and kid wrangling, or just the lunar phase being too bright to bother messing with the big scope, or the patchy clouds making it not worth messing with the big scope, there will be many times you want a smaller scope. So you have an opportunity here to get a reasonably good quality smaller scope that can be your small grab and go for nights that it isn’t practical to get the big guy out, and also serve as a camping trip scope for the kids. I mean $250 for a camping trip scope for kids, or $400 for a scope you can also use as a small grab and go alternative to your eventual big scope.

Something to consider anyway.

Thanks, yes, you are getting me 100% - Wife, kids, job, not to mention other hobbies LOL

I'd be open to upping the budget to $400 if the extra money greatly increased the value. Especially if that translated to something that would carryover to the next bigger upgrade. Is there a specific one you'd recommend in that price range?

#8 rhetfield

Rather than the 4" zhumell, look at the 5" version. The 5" will see more and at F5 instead of F4, will be easier to use at higher magnification.

Another 5" tabletop option is the AWB OneSky. Same optics as the 5" zhumell, but in a more compact collapsible truss. With some planning, the AWB can be put in an airplane carry-on.

Both scopes are $200. Add a 5-6mm eyepiece, a 2x barlow (find one that can convert to 1.5x), a UHC filter for nebula, and a variable polarizer for moon and planets.

Add DIY degree circles to the tabletop and big dob to find the dim fuzzies. https://www.cloudyni. degree-circles/

The 5" and 6" F5 dobs make very nice travel scopes that see a lot in dark sites.

#9 SeattleScott

Thanks, yes, you are getting me 100% - Wife, kids, job, not to mention other hobbies LOL

I'd be open to upping the budget to $400 if the extra money greatly increased the value. Especially if that translated to something that would carryover to the next bigger upgrade. Is there a specific one you'd recommend in that price range?

https://www.adorama. ource=adl-gbase
Usually these are $200 but more expensive now due to COVID19. You can still get it for $200 through AliExpress apparently.
Or
https://agenaastro.c. ltaz-mount.html
Also normally $200, now 50% more and out of stock. Thank you COVID19.
Or
https://www.telescop. Mount/10105.uts
Still $180 and it would almost arrive by Christmas. The tripod isn’t quite as sturdy on this model but it should work reasonably well with the short tube. A buddy uses a 6” Newt on this mount and it does well enough. The mount didn’t work as well with his three foot long refractor.

You would still need eyepieces preferably pretty good ones. But being likely the same F ratio as your future big scope, the eyepieces will be very transferable. So some extra spending now saves you money later. The Celestron Xcel LX are good, affordable options if you want quality but want to stay under $100. I could see a 25mm, 9mm and a 2x barlow. Unfortunately these eyepieces are no longer $70 thanks to pandemic pricing, but you could pick up those three for $200-250. Or just get a 32mm Plossl, 10mm Plossl and 2x barlow for about half that amount. They are basic eyepieces that you would likely eventually upgrade but they would get you started.

You will want a laser collimator too. Figure $50-100.

Ideally you want a padded bag too, especially if you will be transporting it in and out from a warm house to cold outdoors. I think mine that would probably fit that scope set me back about $60.

So total cost with accessories adds up to $300 but everything would be usable with your Dob later, except for the padded bag.

It is a chunk of change but at least this way when you get the big Dob, you are only paying for the scope. You already have everything else you need to get started. It might make the upgrade cost more manageable later. And in the meantime you get a very usable scope rather than a scope that is designed to sell, not designed to be used, and really more of a beater scope for kids rather than something that will keep an adult happy.

Edited by SeattleScott, 15 December 2020 - 04:34 PM.

#10 ulrichsd

Rather than the 4" zhumell, look at the 5" version. The 5" will see more and at F5 instead of F4, will be easier to use at higher magnification.

Another 5" tabletop option is the AWB OneSky. Same optics as the 5" zhumell, but in a more compact collapsible truss. With some planning, the AWB can be put in an airplane carry-on.

Both scopes are $200. Add a 5-6mm eyepiece, a 2x barlow (find one that can convert to 1.5x), a UHC filter for nebula, and a variable polarizer for moon and planets.

Add DIY degree circles to the tabletop and big dob to find the dim fuzzies. https://www.cloudyni. degree-circles/

The 5" and 6" F5 dobs make very nice travel scopes that see a lot in dark sites.

Thanks, the 5" AWB OneSky seems intriguing. I'm thinking that would be a good option, if I'm getting this first one to be easy to transport, the fact that it folds up into a small package is a big bonus. Plus seems like it gets overall good reviews, given its limitations.

I came across it when reading this thread as well, and seems feasible to stick it on an eggcrate, folding chair or even the hood of a car.

https://www.adorama. ource=adl-gbase
Usually these are $200 but more expensive now due to COVID19. You can still get it for $200 through AliExpress apparently.
Or
https://agenaastro.c. ltaz-mount.html
Also normally $200, now 50% more and out of stock. Thank you COVID19.
Or
https://www.telescop. Mount/10105.uts
Still $180 and it would almost arrive by Christmas. The tripod isn’t quite as sturdy on this model but it should work reasonably well with the short tube. A buddy uses a 6” Newt on this mount and it does well enough. The mount didn’t work as well with his three foot long refractor.

You would still need eyepieces preferably pretty good ones. But being likely the same F ratio as your future big scope, the eyepieces will be very transferable. So some extra spending now saves you money later. The Celestron Xcel LX are good, affordable options if you want quality but want to stay under $100. I could see a 25mm, 9mm and a 2x barlow. Unfortunately these eyepieces are no longer $70 thanks to pandemic pricing, but you could pick up those three for $200-250. Or just get a 32mm Plossl, 10mm Plossl and 2x barlow for about half that amount. They are basic eyepieces that you would likely eventually upgrade but they would get you started.

You will want a laser collimator too. Figure $50-100.

Ideally you want a padded bag too, especially if you will be transporting it in and out from a warm house to cold outdoors. I think mine that would probably fit that scope set me back about $60.

So total cost with accessories adds up to $300 but everything would be usable with your Dob later, except for the padded bag.

It is a chunk of change but at least this way when you get the big Dob, you are only paying for the scope. You already have everything else you need to get started. It might make the upgrade cost more manageable later. And in the meantime you get a very usable scope rather than a scope that is designed to sell, not designed to be used, and really more of a beater scope for kids rather than something that will keep an adult happy.

Thanks for all the info! I'm just worried its still quite big, on top of everything else we'll bring for a family of 5 driving half way across the country. Also, realistically, its entirely possible that the other adults and kids on the trip don't show much interest and I'm probably not going to be anti-social and head off every night by myself.

I think maybe the 5" OneSky will make an acceptable starter/travel option and for only $200 doesn't become a huge investment (or liability) in the hands of kids. It will give me something to start on and after some practice and reach the limitations, maybe plan to upgrade to an 8" Dobsonian down the road that will be more manageable for regular use. If any of the kids show any interest, I can gift the 5" to them. Then when I retire in 20 years I can go get a monster 20" LOL

#11 SeattleScott

Not a bad plan. Tricky part can be finding something suitable to set it on. Car hood technically works but then how do you look at other parts of the sky? Keep walking around your car? Typically something short like a milk crate is often used in order to keep it stable, but then it is still pretty low, so you would want a chair to sit in while observing. If you are camping, you are probably bringing chairs anyway. Some people do use the OneSky as their quick look grab and go scope. It’s not a bad plan, as long as you can figure out something suitable to set it on. Zhumell makes a solid tube version which is likely better for use in town.

Tree dodging can be a little tricky as you now have to move three components, stand (of some sort), scope and chair. So it can take a couple trips. But not a huge deal.

A couple days ago my wife was hinting that if we cleaned some junk out of our garage, my car could fit in the garage too. I said or this, and showed her a local Craigslist ad for a 16” Dob.

Edited by SeattleScott, 15 December 2020 - 06:01 PM.

#12 MalVeauX

If you're looking for plantes/moon from the skies of the national park, you don't need a big aperture planets and moon look great and are the same in light pollution as they are in dark skies. The dark skies are more for deep space objects, and a good aperture goes a lot farther under the dark skies do. In your light polluted home sky, there's a lot of things that just won't be seen due to light pollution, so I wouldn't stress getting an enormous aperture for seriously light polluted skies and instead focus on getting what's good for what you can see reliably (solar system, doubles, clusters).

Instead of spending a bunch of a couple of low-end scopes, I'd suggest getting a single good scope that is portable, like a 102mm ED refractor. Skip the achromatic doublet refractor, go straight to the ED doublet refractor (no CA). Fantastic for solar system and most bright subjects. While the idea of a big 8" to 12" newtonian reflector in a dobsonian base sounds great, it's not that great for deep space objects when you're under light pollution, and the big advantage to a big aperture is light gathering, but that is not going to be a bullet proof fix for light pollution, and while it may sound great for planets, its not, because you have to have it perfectly collimated and thermally acclimated and have excellent atmospheric seeing to benefit its resolution at high magnification (fuss, fuss, fuss) compared to just getting out a 4" ED refractor that will be ready to go the moment you point it up.

Edited by MalVeauX, 15 December 2020 - 06:02 PM.

#13 Bowlerhat

I think it's a waste going to a national park and looking at moon or planets-they look the same from the city. What you want is to view DSOs because you're away from light pollution.

if this is a hiking trip you may want to consider the weight. if this is a camping trip then it shouldn't be an issue.

I'd get a shorttube 80 or a 130 AWB one sky, and get a photo tripod to mount it with.

#14 ulrichsd

Not a bad plan. Tricky part can be finding something suitable to set it on. Car hood technically works but then how do you look at other parts of the sky? Keep walking around your car? Typically something short like a milk crate is often used in order to keep it stable, but then it is still pretty low, so you would want a chair to sit in while observing. If you are camping, you are probably bringing chairs anyway. Some people do use the OneSky as their quick look grab and go scope. It’s not a bad plan, as long as you can figure out something suitable to set it on. Zhumell makes a solid tube version which is likely better for use in town.

Tree dodging can be a little tricky as you now have to move three components, stand (of some sort), scope and chair. So it can take a couple trips. But not a huge deal.

A couple days ago my wife was hinting that if we cleaned some junk out of our garage, my car could fit in the garage too. I said or this, and showed her a local Craigslist ad for a 16” Dob.

Thanks! Yep, we'll have some camp chairs while we are out. Haha, I can see how it would be possible to always be looking at that next upgrade

Heya,

If you're looking for plantes/moon from the skies of the national park, you don't need a big aperture planets and moon look great and are the same in light pollution as they are in dark skies. The dark skies are more for deep space objects, and a good aperture goes a lot farther under the dark skies do. In your light polluted home sky, there's a lot of things that just won't be seen due to light pollution, so I wouldn't stress getting an enormous aperture for seriously light polluted skies and instead focus on getting what's good for what you can see reliably (solar system, doubles, clusters).

Instead of spending a bunch of a couple of low-end scopes, I'd suggest getting a single good scope that is portable, like a 102mm ED refractor. Skip the achromatic doublet refractor, go straight to the ED doublet refractor (no CA). Fantastic for solar system and most bright subjects. While the idea of a big 8" to 12" newtonian reflector in a dobsonian base sounds great, it's not that great for deep space objects when you're under light pollution, and the big advantage to a big aperture is light gathering, but that is not going to be a bullet proof fix for light pollution, and while it may sound great for planets, its not, because you have to have it perfectly collimated and thermally acclimated and have excellent atmospheric seeing to benefit its resolution at high magnification (fuss, fuss, fuss) compared to just getting out a 4" ED refractor that will be ready to go the moment you point it up.

Very best,

Thanks, I'm not looking to get 2 low-end ones, just one low-end one for now (that would be good out camping) and something nicer down the road

I was originally thinking a refractor would be a good option, due to the "ready to go" factor, but looking at 102 ED doublet refractor, I'm assuming would be something like the Lunt:

Its more than I wanted to spend at the moment at $800 (with shipping), plus would have to buy a tripod, and not exactly a small travel/camping setup.

We do go up to Hocking Hills once or twice a year, and I've been there when they have some gatherings at the John Glen astronomy park. And we are really just 15-20 minutes away from some nice spots that would have better (darker) viewing.

#15 vtornado

130 AWB would be a great scope for a dark area.

Many things work for a stand. If the place has traditional wood picnic tables those work.

An upside down 5 gallon bucket, or resin coffee table work too.

You can make a small tripod with lumber if you are handy.

In summer I just roll out a blanket and use it on the ground.

Another one I would consider is an 80mm f/5 refractor on and alt-az mount.

They are rugged, and show a very large section of sky.

In dark skies a big view is something that can't be found at home.

A small ED scope would be better but much more money.

Another option is binoculars. 7x50's or 10x50's.

Big view, super easy to point. takes no space and no setup.

#16 ulrichsd

I'm blown away by the number of helpful responses on here, what a great group/forum!!

I think it's a waste going to a national park and looking at moon or planets-they look the same from the city. What you want is to view DSOs because you're away from light pollution.

if this is a hiking trip you may want to consider the weight. if this is a camping trip then it shouldn't be an issue.

I'd get a shorttube 80 or a 130 AWB one sky, and get a photo tripod to mount it with.

I was mainly thinking about 2021 vacation - I'll have 3 nights in Grand Teton (cabin), 4 nights in Yellowstone (camper), 3 nights in Black Hills (camper), a week in Lake Michigan (house) and another week in Hilton Head (house). but I'll be with other groups and kids the whole time, and just figuring that seeing the moons of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn for the first time for a kid might be more interesting than here's some far off nebula you've never heard of.

130 AWB would be a great scope for a dark area.

Many things work for a stand. If the place has traditional wood picnic tables those work.

An upside down 5 gallon bucket, or resin coffee table work too.

You can make a small tripod with lumber if you are handy.

In summer I just roll out a blanket and use it on the ground.

Another one I would consider is an 80mm f/5 refractor on and alt-az mount.

They are rugged, and show a very large section of sky.

In dark skies a big view is something that can't be found at home.

A small ED scope would be better but much more money.

Another option is binoculars. 7x50's or 10x50's.

Big view, super easy to point. takes no space and no setup.

I do currently have 8x42s for binoculars, bringing for wildlife viewing, but could use as well.

The 130 seems good for $400. I've already gotten myself a Christmas gift (a pair of home theater subwoofers). At this point I could always opt to wait until my birthday in March and probably convince my wife that it is for the trip and have a budget of around $1000-1200 for a nicer ED telescope and tripod. Its bigger than I was thinking but fairly portable. And would be fun to play with at home.

#17 MalVeauX

For cost then, go to a mirror (longer the better):

Look at a 150mm F6 newtonian.

You can mount it easily on a SkyView Delxue, CG-4, etc.

Just as G&G as a 4" refractor. Cheap as all get out for fully apochromatic optics and at F6 you don't have to worry about coma or difficulty with inexpensive eyepieces. And while yea you could get a longer newtonian in a dobsonian mount, taking a big base in the woods is not the same as a metal tripod. I'd take the tripod all day, if you plan on being out and about with it, as you don't need level surfaces and there's no wood to warp or get wet or fuss with. Stuff a 2" 38mm 70 degree eyepiece in it for DSO. Use a 7

21mm zoom (1.25") for solar system objects. Good to go.

Edited by MalVeauX, 15 December 2020 - 08:33 PM.

#18 spaceoddity

Any of the 130mm table top dobs have a vixen dovetail and can be mounted on pretty much any tripod mount which utilizes a vixen dovetail saddle which is most of them. It's a light telescope that's fairly short so a relatively lightweight portable alt/az will work well. The vixen porta mounts, ES twilight are 2 off the top of of head but there's a few others.

#19 ulrichsd

Heya,

For cost then, go to a mirror (longer the better):

Look at a 150mm F6 newtonian.

https://agenaastro.c. lector-ota.html

You can mount it easily on a SkyView Delxue, CG-4, etc.

https://agenaastro.c. ltaz-mount.html

https://www.highpoin. ial-mount-91509

Just as G&G as a 4" refractor. Cheap as all get out for fully apochromatic optics and at F6 you don't have to worry about coma or difficulty with inexpensive eyepieces. And while yea you could get a longer newtonian in a dobsonian mount, taking a big base in the woods is not the same as a metal tripod. I'd take the tripod all day, if you plan on being out and about with it, as you don't need level surfaces and there's no wood to warp or get wet or fuss with. Stuff a 2" 38mm 70 degree eyepiece in it for DSO. Use a 7

21mm zoom (1.25") for solar system objects. Good to go.

Very best,

Okay, I'm a bit confused, you had me looking up 100mm ED refractors and now you switch gears to a 150mm Newtonian?

I'm not sure what G&G means either. But a 6" Newtonian on a tripod mount would be the same recommendation as SeattleScott so maybe that is the way to go. Lower cost would allow more budget towards eyepieces and tripod.

It'd be the one you listed: GSO 6" f/6 Newtonian Reflector Telescope - Steel OTA

or the Apertura 6" f/5 Newtonian he listed

both about the same price, both backordered

Any of the 130mm table top dobs have a vixen dovetail and can be mounted on pretty much any tripod mount which utilizes a vixen dovetail saddle which is most of them. It's a light telescope that's fairly short so a relatively lightweight portable alt/az will work well. The vixen porta mounts, ES twilight are 2 off the top of of head but there's a few others.

Can tabletop dobs not be removed from the mount? Or is it preferable to leave it mounted for the ease of use of dobsonian vs tripod?

#20 kksmith

Hi all,

I have very limited experience, I've used a friends 8" dobsonian a couple of times. I currently live in the close suburbs of Cincinnati, OH, so a lot of light pollution for my home.

I'm going to Yellowstone / Grand Tetons next summer and was thinking it might be fun to take along a telescope for the clear Wyoming skies. We'll have a group of 6 adults and 7 kids - so a group viewing, most likely the moon and tracking the planets. I'd be looking for something inexpensive (under $300). Primary goals would be something that wouldn't require a lot of setup/adjustment, could be setup quickly, able to withstand being bounced around a little in a car trip, and fairly compact. From what I've read, thinking a refractor, maybe something like the Meade Infinity 102mm for $250 as it comes with a good amount of eyepieces:

https://www.adorama. ource=adl-gbase

Then next year adding a bigger scope, maybe 10" or 12" Dobsonian. Around $1000 or so budget, but open to higher if needed. I'd come back for suggestions at that time

The other option is that I have a pair of 8x42 Celestron NatureDX binoculars, I could just start using those to get the feel for learning to identify planets and constellations since I'll already be bring those for the vacation, but not as exciting

I'm not sure if it would be good to think ahead, so that whatever I purchase, eyepieces, etc, would be compatible with the future Dobsonian purchase. It's also worth noting that I have a Nikon D7100 DSLR, so with the Dobsonian it might be nice to have the option of getting into astrophotography (not really a concern for the travel scope however).

Thanks!

Scott

My travel scope is an ST80 mounted on a photographic tripod. The ST80 came with it's own padded case that holds diagonal, a few eyepieces, and finder - the case fits in my carry-on bag. The tripod is short enough collapsed to fit in my checked luggage. Easy to fly with - even easier if you're driving.

Since I live in Montana, I've been in the middle of YNP in the dead of night. Darkest sky I've seen at night and I've spent a lot of nights in remote places like Montana and North Dakota prairies. You will love it. Even if you decide to just bring binos. But bring something bigger. because the views will beg you to look deeper.


Your search for the best deep space astrophotography cameras has been found! We’ve put together the top-recommended astrophotography-dedicated deep space cameras for beginners by the OPT team based on experience.

If this is your first time buying a deep space camera, enjoy the extra help with highlighted features for each camera below, and some OPT team featured images. In addition, we have a library of astronomy resources like our DSLR intro to deep space imaging that provides tips on how to take pictures of deep space objects

These cameras make great planetary cameras too, but they’re best for deep space imaging. So get comfortable as we look into the details of OPT Telescopes expert’s best deep space cameras for beginners.

ZWO ASI1600MM PRO

First on our list is the ASI1600MM PRO . The ASI1600MM PRO is a powerhouse of a camera and more when paired with 36 mm filters. This deep space camera is can push at a maximum of 40 to 45 degrees below the ambient temperature. Like most ZWO cooled cameras, it has a short back focus, making it very adaptable to almost any telescope system.

Check out these beautiful images captured by Mack Murdoc with the ASI1600MM PRO!

Click here to check out more specs.

ZWO ASI533MC PRO ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY CAMERA

First on our list is the ASI533MC PRO . This camera has made our top list because of the features it provides at its price point. You can capture galaxies and nebulae in incredible detail. Check out the specs below!

Drew Evans took this amazing photo of NGC7000 using the ASI533MC PRO!

Click here for more specs and details of the ASI533MC PRO.

ZWO ASI294MC PRO Deep Space Camera

Similar to the ZWO ASI553MC PRO the ZWO ASI294MC PRO expands its features like a wider field of view, saving you time with capturing more objects in one frame.

Check out this stunning capture by Drew Evans of the Rosette Nebula using a ZWO ASI294MC PRO!

Click here to learn more about what makes the ZWO ASI294MC one of the best deep space cameras for beginners!

QHY 163 Cooled Color CMOS Deep Space Camera

Finally, but not least is the QHY 163 cooled color CMOS camera. This camera is engineered with 16 megapixels, which is a nice resolution for its price point. It also has a moderately-sized 3.8-micron pixels, making it sensitive enough to capture faint deep space objects. Cooling goes down to -40ºC below ambient, which is nice as some more advanced cameras only do -35!


Click here for more specs on the QHY163!

Whichever you choose, these cameras make great options as beginner deep space cameras for their price point and the specs they provide at their price point.

What's your dream camera? Tell us in the comments!

8 Responses

Joe Summers

I am viewing ZWO, Meade and QHY. Do any take the mac (ISO) ? or any just don’t take computers?

Matthew Michota

Late to the party but here I am, everyone saying how expensive they are for a beginner, well Astrophotography is an expensive hobby. Considering that all these cameras are about the price of an entry-mid level DSLR and considering their capabilities, I’d say it’s a reasonable price. I can’t wait to get mine.

Hey Howard, thank you so much for the feedback. We are pleased to know you enjoyed this list of deep space cameras. Clear skies!

Howard Hughes

This is a reasonable list. If you want to get reasonable images beyond what a DSLR can capture, then this is the price of admission (plus a scope, plus a reasonably good mount, plus a laptop). I think the staff did a good job of spelling out options.

Hi George, thank you for your valued feedback. We have updated our blog to better reflect why we listed these cameras. Everyone starts somewhere, and while these cameras may not be the best for you at the moment, there are many tools you can take advantage of to get started in the hobby. Please contact us so we can help find the right camera for you. You can also join us on Twitch at twitch.tv/clearskiesnetwork to connect with astronomers around the world and get live questions answered about astrophotography and gear. Clear skies!

Hi Jay, we appreciate your feedback and have updated the blog to better reflect why we placed these on a beginner deep space cameras blog. These cameras are engineered to capture professional quality images, although there are different ways you can still capture some deep space objects depending on the scope you have. A simple tool is the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter which easily locks onto your eyepiece and uses your phone’s camera to capture what is visible from the eyepiece. If you are looking to image bright deep space objects, like the Orion Nebula, our “Best Planetary Cameras” blog has more budget-friendly options that can capture bright deep space objects too. Please contact us if you’d like more help on finding the right camera for you. In the meantime, join us on Twitch at twitch.tv/clearskiesnetwork to see live streams of remote observatories in action and to connect with other astronomers around the world. We hope you found this helpful and continue your journey in astrophotography. Clear Skies!

Jay Lobb

I’m with George. If those are beginner cameras, then I guess I’ll NEVER bother to start astrophotography. Ridiculous.

George Strayer

These are for beginners? Yeah, maybe if you are a very well off beginner!


Beginner with $$$ looking for eyepieces

Coming back from a long hiatus from stargazing and am looking for some high quality eyepieces to start my collection off. I had an 8" dob a decade or two ago and the only eyepieces I have leftover from that are an 8mm and 17mm Hyperion 68 degree modular eyepiece.

I just ordered the Celestron Evo 9.25" and I do NOT have a budget for eyepieces so I'd like all suggestions on best quality vs. value back. I also got the celestron twist lock 2" diagonal so I should be able to handle any eyepiece that you guys recommend.

I am interested in an eyepiece for planetary viewing and an eyepiece for DSOs. I know I'll add to my collection down the road, but these are my main goals for 2 quality eyepieces. I tried doing some research first, but there seems to be about a billion of them out there so I'm a bit lost. I heard the 13mm Nagler T6 was amazing, but I don't know what its best uses are.

#2 f74265a

#3 CarolinaBanker

Get a zoom EP, the SVBONY 7-21mm is $50ish on Amazon, Celestron and Meade are a little bit more.

#4 eyeoftexas

". all suggestions on best quality."

Televue Ethos, Naglers, Delos, and/or DeLites. Pick your poison.

If you actually do have a budget, you could consider Explore Scientific or APM eyepieces. High quality, similar ranges of AFOV, and not as expensive.

#5 CarolinaBanker

Coming back from a long hiatus from stargazing and am looking for some high quality eyepieces to start my collection off. I had an 8" dob a decade or two ago and the only eyepieces I have leftover from that are an 8mm and 17mm Hyperion 68 degree modular eyepiece.

I just ordered the Celestron Evo 9.25" and I do NOT have a budget for eyepieces so I'd like all suggestions on best quality vs. value back. I also got the celestron twist lock 2" diagonal so I should be able to handle any eyepiece that you guys recommend.

I am interested in an eyepiece for planetary viewing and an eyepiece for DSOs. I know I'll add to my collection down the road, but these are my main goals for 2 quality eyepieces. I tried doing some research first, but there seems to be about a billion of them out there so I'm a bit lost. I heard the 13mm Nagler T6 was amazing, but I don't know what its best uses are.

Thanks in advance!

Can you clarify if no budget means you're willing to drop upwards of $500 on an eyepiece or if you're looking for inexpensive decent ones?

#6 Supernova74

Well I’m not trying to spend your own money as eyepieces at the moment seem to be the favourite topic of discussion on cloudy nights or is it just a coincidence that hopefully warm weather is just around the corner hopefully.I know one thing tho if you puchase televue you will never need to upgrade your eyepiece collection again,televue are for life lol not just for xmas

#7 SeattleScott

You should get one low power 2” eyepiece if the scope doesn’t come with one. For $95 the Agena 38mm is good or you can spend $500 on a 41 Panoptic, or some point in between.

I would look for a good 20-24mm with that scope for medium power. The 13mm could be a good high power eyepiece. You are starting to push 200x so it probably won’t be an eyepiece you can use every night, and probably too much power for most targets.

Something around 8mm would be a reasonable maximum magnification eyepiece. Depending on your local seeing conditions.

#8 SeattleScott

Well I’m not trying to spend your own money as eyepieces at the moment seem to be the favourite topic of discussion on cloudy nights or is it just a coincidence that hopefully warm weather is just around the corner hopefully.I know one thing tho if you puchase televue you will never need to upgrade your eyepiece collection again,televue are for life lol not just for xmas

There is some truth to this. And there are other premium brands besides TV worth considering. TV is an easy fall back option because they have the largest variety so for the most part you can get whatever you want. Pentax is great if you need long eye relief. Takahashi is great for minimum glass planetary. But TV has a bit of everything.

However with a F10 scope you don’t need $300+ eyepieces to get good views. $100 eyepieces can perform well at F10. TV are still better, but it isn’t like F4 where you really need to pay up for better quality. So it just depends on your budget and your view of diminishing marginal returns.

#9 Thaelon

Can you clarify if no budget means you're willing to drop upwards of $500 on an eyepiece or if you're looking for inexpensive decent ones?

No budget as in I don't care the cost of the eyepiece, but let's say with my scope a 13mm Nagler vs. one of these Explore Scientific I keep hearing about is negligible difference then I would want to save the difference in price if there's virtually no difference. I understand that eyepieces work quite differently in different scopes so just wanting to make sure I get the best value for the money.

#10 Kutno

Coming back from a long hiatus from stargazing and am looking for some high quality eyepieces to start my collection off.

.

I heard the 13mm Nagler T6 was amazing, but I don't know what its best uses are.

Yes, it's amazing and very high quality and it's good for everything.

#11 aeajr

Not sure how much you know about eyepieces, so this article may be helpful or not.

An F10 SCT is less demanding on eyepieces and edge correction than say an F5 Dob. Most eyepieces will perform well in the F10.

Since you will be on a GoTo mount that tracks, drift time is not an issue. You may prefer a wide view, high AFOV eyepiece but it will be for framing and aesthetics more than it would be for drift time with a manual mount.

  • One or two low power wide view eyepieces
  • One or two midrange eyepieces
  • Two to four high power eyepieces that include a plan for the top target magnification for that scope
  • Or, Zoom plus Barlow to cover mid range and high power
  • Planning to use a barlow can save you money

I have Explore Scientific and Meade 82 degree AFOV eyepieces. Very happy with them in my scopes. I also have 8-24 zooms, so I can go either way on any target at any time. The Baader Hyperion 8-24 zoom is my most used eyepiece.

  • I never expected the zoom eyepiece to become my primary eyepiece, but it has.
  • With a zoom, the eyepiece seems to disappear as you just move in and out at will, no swapping, no thinking about eyepiece changes
  • 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 between small changes in magnification helps when seeing is not the best
  • I am always working at the optimum magnification for this target.
  • Sharing the view with others is easier, especially in my manual tracking Dob - I hand it over at low mag so it stays in the view longer. They zoom back in to whatever magnification works best for them.
  • My eyepiece case has been greatly simplified
  • Kids love the zoom

When I observe, 90% of the time, in all of my scopes, I use one or two low power, then the zoom. I sometimes Barlow the zoom for the high range except in the 12" where I usually go to the 82 degree below 8 mm to gain greater FOV and more drift time in this manually tracked scope.

#12 f74265a

Yes, it's amazing and very high quality and it's good for everything.

#13 SeattleScott

ES eyepieces virtually as good as TV?
Let’s see http://astro-talks.r. opic.php?t=1483
So ES 8.8 UWA versus 9 Nagler, pretty much.
ES 14 UWA versus 13 Nagler, not really. Performance might be more or less in the same zip code depending on who you talk to, but the ES certainly isn’t equivalent or virtually equivalent to the TV.
ES 40/68 versus TV Panoptic 41, not even close. I certainly hope that was a defective ES 40mm that Ernest tested. But as the tests stand, the TV costs 35% more and performs 2-3x better. Which is the better value now?

Certain ES eyepieces are very good, and represented good value when they were half the price of TV. Now that they are 70% the cost of TV, there is some question about paying 70% as much to get maybe on average 70-80% of the performance. If you do your research and pick the winners, you can get 90% of TV performance for 70% of the price.

Baader Morpheus are good all-around eyepieces. Wide AFOV, long ER, big lenses for immersive views and not overly big and heavy. Perfect for the person who wants an excellent eyepiece but can’t decide between long ER or wide AFOV.

Now remember you are operating at F10 not F4.7. There is currently a thread going on about the amazing Nikon 7SW. I have the 10SW as well as a 10 Luminos. A $320 eyepiece and a $120 eyepiece. At F9.5 they perform pretty much identically. At F4 the Nikon clearly pulls ahead. So a Nagler or Delite might have a little more pop or better color saturation or something compared to a Luminos or ES, etc. But the difference will be subtle. Also the TV eyepieces are more consistent . The 7 and 10 Luminos are pretty good, but not necessarily the case with the rest of the series. The ES UWAs are very good with maybe the exception of the 14, which still isn’t terrible by any means and performs just fine at F10. With TV you are paying more for consistency, and not having to do research to figure out what focal lengths and series to get and which to avoid. Not that there isn’t any variation, but it tends to be small.

Edited by SeattleScott, 12 March 2021 - 06:35 PM.

#14 f74265a

#15 JamesDuffey

I wouldn’t take the recommendations at < https://opticsaide.c. -for-telescope/ > too seriously their recommended eyepiece in the $100 to $150 range costs $207.98, so they are wrong about that.

#16 BillP

Coming back from a long hiatus from stargazing and am looking for some high quality eyepieces to start my collection off. I had an 8" dob a decade or two ago and the only eyepieces I have leftover from that are an 8mm and 17mm Hyperion 68 degree modular eyepiece.

I just ordered the Celestron Evo 9.25" and I do NOT have a budget for eyepieces so I'd like all suggestions on best quality vs. value back. I also got the celestron twist lock 2" diagonal so I should be able to handle any eyepiece that you guys recommend.

I am interested in an eyepiece for planetary viewing and an eyepiece for DSOs. I know I'll add to my collection down the road, but these are my main goals for 2 quality eyepieces.

So if I understand, to start off you just want 2 eyepiece recommendations and both of those need to serve for DSO and planetary. That is certainly a tall order!

OK, for DSO my logic is a 2.5mm exit pupil as this is what my eye likes most for DSO providing a view that maximizes the brightness of the object against a dark background sky. This exit pupil is also fine when using a UHC filter. So I would say a used Nagler 26T5. In many posts comparing that to the 24ES82 it seems not much of a contest with some folks saying the 24ES82 is the worst of their 82 line. So would look for a used 26T5 as they are discontinued. This will provide 90x, 0.85 deg TFOV, 2.6mm exit pupil. Alternatively you could go with the APM 30mm UFF which will give you the same TFOV as the 26T5 and cost less, plus be easier to acquire give it is actively in production. This brightens your exit pupil by just a little to 3mm and reduces your magnification to 78x and AFOV to 72 degrees as most people are measuring it. Has much better ER than the 26T5 too!

Now on to planetary. Not sure what your local seeing provides most but will assume that you can get near 200x most evenings so will work with that assumption and look at the 14mm to 12mm range for possibilities (168x-196x). For planetary, IMO and IME I find the T6 line a little softer and lower contrast in that role than what I like. Normally I would recommend a good Abbe to get the best contrast. But you might be better with a less traditional planetary since you are limiting yourself to just 2 eyepieces for now so will be nice for that shorter focal length eyepiece to carry some AFOV with it as well so good for general observing as well. If you can deal with only 62 deg AFOV, then the 13 TV DeLite is the best wider field eyepiece for planetary. The DeLites come fair close in planetary performance to a good production Abbe like the Fujiyama or Takahashi Abbe. It will give you 181x and a 0.34 deg TFOV. So good moderate magnification for planetary, and will be good for Globs and Planetary Nebula and Doubles being fairly bright still with a 1.3mm exit pupil. If you feel that you really want more than 62 degrees then not quite as good for planetary but still quite adequate would be the 12.5mm Morpheus or the 12mm Delos those will give you 188x and 196x respectively but still not a significant increase in the TFOV over the DeLite of just 0.4 degree and 0.47 degree respectively. Only a 13mm 100 degree eyepiece like the Ethos or APM XWA will get you a respectably greater amount of TFOV of 0.55 deg or 0.2 deg more than the DeLite. Does not sound like a lot but 0.55 deg is 1.6x wider than 0.34 deg. These 100 degree eyepieces are not exactly planetary eyepieces and a large form factor, but only you can weigh how you want to balance the best planetary view with the best TFOV for general observing and choose appropriately between the range of 12.5mm Abbe to 13 DeLite to 12.5 Morpheus or 12 Delos, to 13 Ethos. Of the Morpheus vs Delos I feel the Morpheus is a better value and performs just as well, and from my readings the APM XWA is getting a lot of press as being close to if not on par with the Ethos so would probably go with the APM. Frankly, given the costs of these wide fields and how low the cost is of an Abbe I would probably opt for the 72, 76, or 100 degree offerings in the planetary magnification range so I optimize my DSO viewing with those and for a $95 just pick up a little 12.5mm Fujiyama Abbe for when the seeing and transparency is good enough to exploit what the Abbe can do.


Beginner looking for extra eyepieces for telescope - Astronomy

The experts tell us we don't need a scope to get started in astronomy but let's be honest we beginners can't hear them. We want a scope! So knowing you aren't going to listen either, here is how I made my decision on what to buy.

The first thing to settle is understanding what is the purpose of a telescope. Ask most people what a telescope is for and they will tell you it makes things look bigger. That is what I used to think as well. Yes, magnifying things is part of its job but not the most important part. When you point a telscope towards the heavens the main function is to gather light. The night sky is full of very dim very distant objects. You might be surprised to know that very low magnification is used more often than high magnification when viewing the night sky. Telescopes are for gathering light.

The second thing to know is that there are telescopes and there are toys. If you are considering a scope at the toy store or department store you will almost certainly be disappointed. If it is advertised by its magnification power it is a good idea to keep looking. I owned one of these when I was a kid, used it a couple times to view the moon then I put it in the closet. Didn't learn my lesson, bought one for my son. Within a month it was falling apart because it was junk.

Now there are a lot of people who have had a great deal of fun and started a lifelong hobby with a 60mm or 90mm department store telescope so I don't want to say they are always useless but I will say that for very little more money (and sometimes for even less) you can have a telescope with far better quality optics. The problem for most of us isn't that we buy junk on purpose its that we don't have a local telescope store where we can go shop and compare. If it weren't for the department stores we would never see a telescope. Compounding the problem are the ads in the astronomy magazines which often make affordable equipment look way out of reach for the average beginner. Take heart, you do not have to spend a vast fortune to get started in telescope astronomy - that comes later (ha). What you need is some knowledge before you buy. That is my hope for this page.

Different Types of Telescopes

What most of us think of when we picture a telescope is a little eyepiece low on one end of a long tube and a big lens pointed skyward on the other end. This is a refractor telescope. There are many excellent refractors available today. They are reported to be good for planet viewing. This is the type scope I had planned to get when I started looking. When I attended some local star parties I noticed I didn't see many of these scopes. Why not? Because most of us do not want to look just at planets or the moon, we want to see deep space objects (DSO's) like nebula and galaxies.

I am sure some refractor owner will be offended by this but I am only repeating what I have been told. After deciding to get quality optics, the most important thing to look for is light gathering ability. This is not as important for viewing the Moon or Saturn because they are bright. But dim objects like nebula beg for bigger scopes to see them. Refractors are relatively small because big lenses are expensive.

Another common type telescope is the reflector. This has a mirror in the bottom end of the tube and the eyepiece mounted in the side near the top of the tube. The mirror serves the same purpose as the big lens in the refractor but the mirror is usually lots bigger so it gathers more light. The reflectors come in a couple varieties. Those mounted on tripods are called Newtonian reflectors and those mounted on a simple frame that turns like a lazy susan are called Dobsonians. Most of the beginning members of the local astronomy group had one or the other of this type of telescope. Hmmmm. More on this later.

The more experienced stargazers generally used catadioptric telescopes. This is a combination of the reflector and refractor. It uses lenses and mirrors. This reduces the length of the tube considerably. The eyepiece is located at the bottom of the tube like a refractor. This is also the type scope used mostly by amateurs for astrophotography purposes, something they tell me beginners should not even attempt unless they want to get really frustrated in a hurry. The most common type of catadioptric telescope is called a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope or SCT for short.

Seeing the SCT is what the majority of advanced stargazers were using, I decided I had to have one. Then I saw the price tag. Wow! For the size telescope they were using prepare to start at $2000. I started looking for alternatives. What I found was that the reason most newcomers use a reflector scope is because they are much less expensive. What is most recommended for beginners is a Dobsonian telescope or Dob for short.
Dobsonian The Choice For Me

As I mentioned earlier what makes a Dob a Dob is that the reflector's optical tube assembly (OTA) is mounted on a very simple base. Most telescopes are mounted on some sort of tripod. Good tripods are expensive. Dob bases are cheap and easy to make so you can put your money into optics instead of tripods.

What is the down side to a dobsonian? Many expensive scopes have what is known as GOTO which means you punch some figures into a keypad and the motors on the tripod swing the scope around until it points right at the object you selected. That's cool, but it requires time and skill to align the tripod correctly before you can start using it each observing session and it costs a lot of money for a quality GOTO system. You aren't going to get GOTO on a Dob unless you pay big bucks for an aftermarket system. Now there are Dobs with computer systems available for them. These are not GOTO. They will not turn the scope for you but they will tell you were to manually turn it. Of course this adds expense (maybe $200). It also takes time to align a non-motorized computer scope. The basic Dob sets up very quick but you have to find the objects yourself which some say is half the fun anyway.

Once you locate the object you wish to observe you face the next challenge. Objects move in the sky a lot faster than you would suspect. That means you have to constantly move the scope to keep it centered in the eyepiece. On the motorized systems once they are set up correctly they handle this for you. Not with a Dob. You have to grab hold of it with one hand and physically move it. At first this is a real challenge but you quickly get the hang of it.

Ok those are the shortcomings of a Dobsonian, now for the plus side. Because a Dob is as basic as a telescope can get they cost a lot less than the other types of telescopes. You can get a Dob for a fourth the cost of a SCT for the same size scope. That means you can buy more scope for your money. Dobsonians are easy to learn to use. Dobs with good optics also offer great views of the night sky. So to me the combination of quality optics, ease of use, and low intitial investment make the Dob the perfect choice for a first scope.

When I started looking at Dobs I was told to go for as big a light bucket as I could afford but there is more to consider than just size. Where are you going to keep it? Where are you going to use it? How will you get it there? There is no point buying a 12" scope if you can't lift it or put it in your car, unless you can permanently set it up in your backyard. I found many recommendations for 6", 8", and 10" scopes. The most common seemed to be the 8". Then I started price shopping. Lot's of variation there, depending on the name on the box, where it was manufactured, and what came with it. The name on the box is the least important to me. The quality inside the box now that is what counts.

Thumbing through Astronomy magazine I ran across an ad for Hardin Optical's 12" Deep Space Hunter. It was hundreds of dollars less than the other scopes of the same size I had seen listed. Remembering the adage that anytime something sounds to good to be true it probably is, I was skeptical. Went to their web page to check it out. There I discovered the Deep Space Hunter also came in 6", 8", and 10" versions. The 8" scope is what I had decided upon. It was less expensive than the competitors scopes. Did a web search for reviews. Almost unanimously the DSH was loved by its owners. The one negative review I found led me to believe the author wasn't going to be satisfied with anything he owned. You know the type.

When I ordered it online I expected it to be on back order and take forever to get - especially since it was late November with Christmas just around the corner. I got an order received confirmation in a day. A shipping confirmation within another day along with a tracking number telling when the shipment would arrive. The UPS truck pulled in to my drive just when it was supposed to. I couldn't have asked for better service. The scope came in two boxes and the base was not assembled (duh), however the instructions were clear enough. I'll add a review of our first outing with it later. (Done see Our First Night Out )

**update - Hardin Optical got out of the amateur telescope business. So the Deep Space Hunter lives no more. That is a real shame. The however to this story is that there are many other options available. You just need to do a little research.

No matter what scope you pick out I do suggest you look for reviews of the particular model you are interested in by searching the web before buying. Don't go just by the manufacturer's review - like they are going to tell you it isn't any good. Go look for comments by people who use them. Then ask around for the best deal. Sometimes the lowest price isn't the best price. Some dealers offer free shipping, which can save you a lot. Some dealers offer more accessories that can be helpful. You will almost certainly have to order it from a store that is no where near your home so ask questions about the dealer from those who buy from them.

Remember in the end the best telescope for you is the one you will actually use.


Beginner looking for extra eyepieces for telescope - Astronomy

My Deep Space Hunter came with two eyepieces (25mm & 9mm) and a moon filter. The Moon is too bright to view comfortably without the filter. It messes up your night vision for when you go to look at something else. Without the moon filter, when you step away from the eyepiece you will be pretty much blind for several minutes.

The eyepieces are plossl type. This is the most common type used by backyard astronomers. There are apparently better types (Nagler for instance) but they cost more than my whole scope. I am not likely to ever own one of them. There are also far worse type eyepieces you can waste money buying. If you stick with a plossl ep until you know what you are doing you will have a good general purpose workhorse. I bought some nice plossls at a great price from Owl Services . My experience with them was very positive.

The eyepiece determines your magnification. The bigger the number on the eyepiece the lower the magnification. The actual magnification is determined by dividing the focal length of your telescope (1200mm on my DSH) by the eyepiece size.

To figure magnification divide telescope focal length mm by eyepiece size mm
example: 1200mm / 9mm = 133

There is a limit to how much magnification a telescope can actually handle.

The maximum magnification of a telescope = aperture in inches x 50 or aperture in mm x 2
example: 8" scope x 50 = 400 same as 200mm x 2 = 400

On most nights the actual usable magnification of a telescope is closer to 200 - 250 because of atmospheric interference. You can reach 250 power with a 5" scope, so why get a bigger one? While a bigger scope won't help with more magnification it will gather more light therefore allowing you to see fainter objects.

Another important consideration when looking at eyepieces is known as eye relief. This is the distance your eyeball needs to be away from the lens to use the eyepiece. The lower the number on the ep the closer your eye must be to the lens. This distance varies depending on what type eyepieces you are using.

For me, plossls between 32mm down to 12mm are very comfortable to use. A 9mm is borderline for my eyes and a 4mm is near impossible. It's weird but eye relief does not change when a barlow is used to double the magnification. This offers us a way around the eye relief dilemma. A 12mm ep with a barlow is the same magnification as a 6mm ep but the eye relief remains very comfortable. Likewise a 9mm and barlow is the same as a 4.5mm ep but the eye relief is much more usable.

I have read that the beginner ought to have three eyepieces. One for high, mid, and low magnification. The 25mm that came with my DSH works for the low. The 9mm hits between high and mid. By using a Barlow lens I can double the power of the two lenses I have, in essence giving me the equivalent of 25mm, 12.5mm, 9mm, and 4.5mm eyepieces. The 9mm with the Barlow is the same as a 4.5mm eyepiece, which gives 266 power magnification on my scope. This will probably be too high to be usable.

I thought if I had around a 12mm and a Barlow I would have a good range up to 6mm (200 power on my scope). When I checked prices I realized these two pieces together could cost easily a hundred dollars or more. Then I found Celestron's Accessory Kit on Amazon.com. It comes with 5 eyepieces, a Barlow lens, seven filters, and an aluminum case which at the time sold for around $100. Cool! I had to wait forever to get it (back ordered) because it is a really good deal.

There is some duplication with what I already have (the 9mm and the Moon Filter) but so what. Maybe I'll work out a trade later. These are not great eyepieces but they are terrific for learning what works and what doesn't. Later as you understand what you really need you can buy better quality eyepieces one at a time. The first item you might want to replace is the barlow. Buy a good one as this is an important item.

As far as the filters go, I haven't a clue what to do with them yet. Being really honest here. Supposedly they are good for planetary viewing. Making features stand out better. I have tried using them some and haven't personally found a need for them.

One thing I think I want to add someday is a Nebula filter or O-III filter. So the theory goes these filters make the nebula easier to view by blocking out interferring light rays. I am holding off getting one until I can look though one at a star party. They are expensive so I want to make certain it is money wisely spent. Another item I am interested in is an adapter that lets you hookup a video camera to the telescope. Saw one being used at a star party and thought it was a neat idea.


Best Telescope Eyepieces – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021

Best Overall: Celestron Zoom Eyepiece for Telescope

Sometimes you need to zoom into what you’re looking at to capture more details. This Celestron zoom eyepiece will help you do that, but here’s what you need to know about it.

Featured specs

Benefits

  • This eyepiece makes it really easy to zoom into planets because you don’t have to change your telescope’s lens. This means you can easily switch to a different zoom without a problem.
  • It’s compatible with all telescopes that have 1.25-inch eyepieces, so if you upgrade your telescope in the future you’ll probably be able to use it.
  • You’re not limited to using this eyepiece for astronomy. You can use it to see terrestrial views, thanks to its field of view.
  • You also adjust this eyepiece’s focal length up to 24mm. This means that you will have everything you need in order to see a range of celestial objects.

Drawbacks

  • Its focal lengths aren’t parfocal. What this means is that you need to adjust the focus of your telescope whenever you increase or decrease the magnification, which can feel like a hassle.
  • Some people have reported that the eye cap sometimes detaches when they try to retract it.

Extra Features

  • Despite this eyepiece’s rubber cap issue, if you wear glasses it will certainly make your stargazing more comfortable.
  • This eyepiece has eye relief that’s between 15mm and 18mm. This is known as long eye relief, which is more comfortable than shorter types.

Buying Guide

This telescope is worth purchasing because it will enable you to have a much more comfortable and convenient stargazing experience, and that’s what makes it one of the best telescope eyepieces for the money.

Runner Up: Orion E-Series 7-21mm Zoom Eyepiece

This eyepiece is perfect for when you’re looking at a celestial object and want to quickly zoom into it without having to change your eyepiece – just turn the dial and you’ll be able to see things much clearer. Let’s check it out in greater detail!

Featured specs

Benefits

  • This Orion eyepiece enables you to simply twist it to change the focal length from 21mm to 7mm.
  • It’s been constructed with six lens elements. These are fully multi-coated and have anti-reflective coating so that your view is always clear and never obstructed.
  • This eyepiece comes with exceptional eye relief – you’re looking at 18mm to 16.3mm. This enables you to feel comfortable to use it if you wear spectacles.

Drawbacks

  • Some people have reported that it’s a bit difficult to use at times because of how closely you have to put your eye to the glass in order to see the views.

Extra Features

Buying Advice

This Orion eyepiece is really easy for anyone to use and gives you the chance to increase your field of view to better capture the beauty of the night sky.

Alternative: SVBONY Plossl Telescope Eyepiece

This Plossl eyepiece is of an excellent quality so if you’re looking for the best, look no further. It has lots going for it, so let’s check out its features in more detail!

Featured specs

Benefits

  • This eyepiece provides you with a 40-degree field of view, which is ideal for various observations of the night sky. You’ll even get to see medium-sized star clusters!
  • This is a high-quality Plossl eyepiece that’s fully-coated to prevent chromatic aberrations from being produced. It also enhances the contrast of your views.
  • The eyepiece contains a black interior design to prevent unwanted light from sneaking in.

Drawbacks

Extra Features

  • This telescope eyepiece comes with a rubber eye guard that has a bayonet mount and is soft, therefore making it comfortable for eyeglass wearers. Simply fold it down so it’s out of the way.
  • The eyepiece’s length can be adjusted if you like. Simply disassemble it to make it shorter.
  • It contains a 1.25-inch barrel that can fit with a variety of telescopes, thus making it very versatile.

Buying Advice

If you’re looking for a really budget-friendly eyepiece, this is the one to consider. While it doesn’t give you as much versatility as other eyepieces, such as when it comes to its focal length, it’s a quality option that’s worth it if you need an eyepiece that offers great star-viewing options.

Best Telescope Eye Kit: Celestron Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit

Forget about purchasing single eyepieces – maybe you’re looking for a kit to take your astronomy hobby up a notch. If that’s the case, you’re going to love this eyepiece kit from Celestron.

Featured specs

Benefits

  • This kit contains not one but five Plossl eyepieces that range in focal length from 6mm to 32mm. Enjoy clearer, sharper views of celestial objects!
  • All the eyepieces that you’ll find in this kit contain a 52-degree FOV.
  • There’s a Barlow lens in the kit that will increase the magnification of the eyepieces by double, therefore making it easier than ever to zoom into a constellation or planet to see its details better.
  • There are six colored filters included which are a nice touch and make this the best telescope eyepiece for viewing planets.

Drawbacks

  • Some people have stated that the case in which this kit comes is sturdy but doesn’t provide much room for expansion, such as if you want to add more filters and eyepieces to your collection.
  • There’s no solar filter included in the pack, which would have made this kit feel more complete.

Extra Features

  • As a bonus, you’ll enjoy using the moon filter that’s included. This will help you to be able to look at the moon without your view being obstructed by its glare.

Buying Advice

If you’re serious about astronomy and will have lots of use for various eyepieces and filters, this Celestron eyepiece kit is a solid choice for you.

Runner Up: Meade 607010 Series Eyepiece and Filter Set

This is another kit that comes with eyepieces and filters. Let’s check out what it has to offer.

Featured Specs

Benefits

  • The eyepieces in this kit all come with 52-degree FOV and have been made out of premium optical glass.
  • You’ll be able to enjoy views of celestial objects that have enhanced contrast and excellent light, thanks to the fully multi-coated optics.
  • This kit comes with a Barlow eyepiece included so you can increase the magnification of your views.
  • You get five color filters in this set that will help you to see more planetary and constellation details. For example, the red filter will be effective if you want to view more details on Mars, while the yellow will help you to bring out details of Jupiter’s cloud belts.

Extra Features

  • The eyepieces have a soft rubber eye guard included for extra comfort, especially if you’re using them for many hours at a time.
  • You’ll receive an aluminum carry case with your purchase, so you can easily and conveniently store all your items.
  • People have stated that you also get a 90-degree diagonal mirror included with the kit. A diagonal mirror is useful because it flips the telescope’s view at a 45- or 90-degree angle so that it’s correctly oriented vertically.

Buying Advice

This Meade astronomy kit contains some of the best telescope eyepieces. It’s much more expensive than the previous kit we featured, but it has many excellent features to offer. This kit is a fantastic introduction into astronomy and you’re sure to purchase items to add to it in the near future.


Best Beginner Telescopes for Astrophotography

Here are our reviews of the best beginner telescopes for astrophotography

1. Explore Scientific ED80 Essential Edition

This telescope is a great option for any beginner. Capable of taking clear photos of the Andromeda Galaxy, this telescope will have you wishing the nights were longer.

  • Affordable option for beginners
  • Compact and lightweight means this telescope can easily be transported
  • Illuminated finder scope

2. Orion 9534 ED80T CF

The Orion ED80T CF is a highly recommended model for beginners due to its ability to capture high definition, professional photographs at a reasonable price.

  • Built-in dew shield and dual-speed Crayford focuser
  • Lightweight and strong
  • Built with extra-low, dispersion glass for exceptional resolution

3. William Optics ZenithStar

Weighing in at just over 5 pounds, this telescope, from William Optics, is a great option for any beginner who loves to travel outside of the city in search of dark sky sites.

  • Precision dual-speed focuser
  • Built-In thermometer to monitor temperature while imaging
  • Compatible with a wide range of high-definition cameras

4. Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope

This telescope, from Orion, Is amazing for viewing deep-sky objects with high resolution. Complete with a sturdy, adjustable tripod, this telescope is highly portable.

  • Capable of slow motion tracking
  • Internal polar alignment scope for precision
  • Includes Starry Night astronomy software, an amazing reference for beginners.

5. Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope

This telescope was built with beginners in mind. Easy-to-use for both adults and children alike, sit back and enjoy taking photos of deep sky objects the whole family will enjoy.

  • Comes with three replaceable eyepieces for strong magnification
  • Adjustable aluminum tripod
  • No tools required, perfect for any beginner

Additional Eyepieces

Eyepieces are a great addition to your telescope because they magnify what your telescope sees! Typically, they range in three levels of magnification. Low magnification ranges from 25 mm and up, medium ranges from 10 mm to 20 mm, and high magnification ranges from 9 mm and lower. As you may have noticed, a larger number does not mean higher when it comes to eyepieces—a helpful reminder when looking for your new telescope eyepiece. Also, most higher magnification ranges aren’t the best choice for all telescopes. For beginners, a range between low and medium is good. Some great eyepiece choices for a budget are TPO eyepieces. Higher quality eyepiece choices are Explore Scientific and TeleVue, with premium features that deliver stunning results. Check out this guide on choosing the right eyepiece for some extra help.

Barlow Lens

Similar to eyepieces are Barlow lenses. This tool is a great choice if you aren’t looking to spend much on a set of eyepieces just yet. Barlow lenses double, and some even triple your eyepiece magnification. Another cool perk is that if you combine a Barlow lens with a set of new eyepieces, you will have four choices of magnification versus two since your Barlow lens would be doubling the magnification of your eyepiece.

Smartphone Adapter

Taking photos of the Moon and other beginner deep space objects has never been easier! A smartphone adapter like the Celestron NexYZ Universal Smartphone Adapter is a great tool to capture what you see through your telescope and share it with friends and family. Even though placing your phone over your eyepiece can capture what you see, a smartphone adapter will provide stability to help you produce clear images with your phone! Dock your smartphone by attaching it to your telescope eyepiece to take pictures of the Moon and more.

Moon Filter

Observing the full Moon is a great experience, except that it can be difficult to observe for a long time. What happens is that your telescope is focusing the light from the Moon on your eye, causing you to feel uncomfortable even after a short time. A moon filter is a great tool because it reduces the glare and reflected light while increasing contrast. This makes observing the full moon a much more enjoyable experience. Moon filters such as the TPO ND96 Moon filter are made to attach directly to your eyepieces for easy use.

Red Flashlight

One of the best tips a beginner should know when exploring the night sky is to use a red flashlight! It generally takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the night sky, or in other words, for your iris to expand and collect more light in a dark environment. When you use white or blue light like from your phone, this makes your iris shrink as tiny as possible to avoid damage from the bright light. A red flashlight like the Celestron PowerTank Glow will help preserve your night vision to help you see in the dark without losing time readjusting to the dark. With three brightness levels and its chargeable feature, the PowerTank Glow is the perfect accessory for visual astronomy!

There are many telescope accessories to choose from, but this list is a great resource as you start exploring ways to see more in the night sky!