Posted 01 October 2019 - 07:31 PM
Posted 03 October 2019 - 06:24 PM
For what I am writing below, I am assuming that you do not have severe astigmatism and can view through you scope without glasses. If you need to wear glasses while viewing (near or far sightedness can be corrected with focusing the telescope) then the choice in eyepieces would be different. I am also leaving out some of the more technical things in order to keep my thoughts on what eyepieces I used and not end up going down any number of other rabbit trails and getting lost.
For beginning astronomers and for scopes such as the Polaris 114, I think Plossl eyepieces are hard to beat for general astronomy. There are many brands that are quite good and give a lot of benefit for the dollars spent. Naturally, there are better eyepieces for sale, but the increased benefit is much smaller for the higher cost. Even though I personally have higher priced eyepieces as well as several varieties of lower end eyepieces, I think someone could have a very full and enjoyable lifetime in astronomy with a simple set of Plossles.
Since you do have some MA eyepieces to work with, I will start by building to that assembly in selection, rather than replacing them first.
Everyone needs a good "finder eyepiece." A 32mm Plossl is hard to beat. In fact, I am not sure if there is really much better eyepiece out there for that duty than this workhorse eyepiece at any price. This one gives right at the widest field of view you can get with any eyepiece in the 1.25 format. A 40mm can give a very slightly larger piece of the sky, but another factor enters into the picture....contrast. The 32mm will give a slightly better contrast to the image, which, in my opinion, is a good trade for the small amount of field lost.
The prime purposes of this finder eyepiece are: (1) Help you transition from the red dot finder on your scope to the view in the telescope. Once that is done, (2) if the actual object you are looking for is still away from the star you started your hunt with, the wide field of view (just under 2 degrees) allows you to move from star to star easier as you make your way to the more obscure object you are actually wanted to find and view.
Once the object can be seen in the telescope, then other eyepieces may be needed to increase magnification to get the best view. In the case of the Plieades Cluster, it is actually hard to stuff the whole thing in the view with a 32mm Plossl, so you stick with it, unless you want to look at a smaller section of that cluster.
Using the Meade 4000 series Plossl eyepieces as an example, I normally drop to the 20mm, center the object, then determine if I want more magnification still. I normally like to have some extra space around the object to give its context in the sky. If I see that the field is too crowded, then I would back off to the 26mm...this is very rare at best. The 26mm is the eyepiece that I end up using the least, which is a shame since it has one of the prettiest overall views. If more magnification is needed, I drop to the 12.4mm and repeat the process stated with the 20mm.
If I think I need just a little more magnification from this point, I will stick in the 9.7mm eyepiece and call the magnification good. With the Polaris 114, the 12.4 or 9.7 will give me the best views of the planets and most dim fuzzies. Magnifications beyond that will normally be used for viewing the Moon and for splitting tight double stars.
For magnifications beyond what I get with the 9.7mm eyepiece, there are a couple constraints related to the eyepiece design that causes me to put in a good 2X Barlow lens and then go back to the 15mm eyepiece, which I skipped over before. The combination of the 2X Barlow and the 15mm eyepieces gives me the equivalent of a 7.5mm eyepiece. From that point, I do not skip any eyepiece in the series and will gradually move down to the 12.4 and then the 9.7 if needed. Using the 2X Barlow and the 9.7mm eyepiece gives me about the limit a Polaris 114 can go at my altitude of 700 ft.
I have found the current version of the Meade 4000 Plossl eyepieces to work quite well in my entry level scopes. There are some other eyepieces that I can recommend as well, but will switch to an "alter ego" that I have with the ID of "Tumblebug" once I can figure out what the password is.
In general Plossles that say they are fully multi-coated, and have blackened lens edges are the ones to get.
Hope this helps!
Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:17 PM
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