View Full Version here: : 70-80 degree eyepiece, ~10mm quality suggestion

05-09-2006, 03:47 PM
Hi guys,

After reading a thread here yesterday about getting "dirt" on eyepieces I thought I would get some advice on getting a "public eyepiece" for viewing. Recently I have been involved in public viewings with the ASV and currently use either the 7 or 10 Pentax XW's, however I am thinking that this may get quite dirty quickly, or contaminated, and I should think of something as a replacement. The possiblity of spreading diseases through the eyepiece is a concern to me, as is the chance of some little kid sticking their greasy fingers on an eyepiece I use myself and paid a lot of money. In the last two viewings I have had in excess of 100 people at each location and expecting at least another 100 or so this weekend!

As I get a huge buzz from these sessions, I was thinking of "allocating" some money toward a reasonable quality eyepiece that I can use for these viewings. The budget is around $150, but something slightly higher would still be acceptable. Everyone finds it quite easy to view through the XW and the 70 degree field certainly helps. The most used eyepiece by far is the 10, so something around this would be perfect.

I was thinking of Stratus, Meade ultra wides or anything around that fits these specs and has a reputation of giving good quality, no excessive blackouts, without the outlay of a spare Pentax.

05-09-2006, 04:14 PM
Premium EPs like XWs are definitely not for such large public events.

Stratus is a very good choice, bit over your budget at around $200 (unless you can get it 2nd hand). For your 8" all you really need is the 13mm Stratus. Use on DSOs, and barlow it for planets. That's what I use to show people the sky with my 8" Dob and it works very well and it's easy to use.

If you want one more EP that goes wide, inexpensive 30mm 2" Superview is fine for public viewings. If you want to stick with 1.25" format meade 26mm 5000 Plossl. Very comfy and plenty 60 degree FOV. Smeared stars near edge of field at f/5 but I bet no one will notice if you don't tell them to look for it. ;)

All of the above would be good for eyeglass wearers too.

05-09-2006, 11:49 PM
I know many will disagree, but my most use EP in my 10" f5 dob is the Meade QX 4000 20mm. I know there's seagulls at the edge, but the wide view of peripheral vision while viewing more to the centre keeps me very happy. The 70 degree view is great. I also barlow it for those higher mags, but it's still a relatively wide view. Cost ~ $145 when I bought it late last year, unsure how much now. As I said, my most used EP.


06-09-2006, 09:46 AM
Thanks guys for the feedback. I had a chance to do some further searching this morning when I got in to work and I am afraid that having Pentax or Panoptics does spoil you. I find the view through my old Plossl's a bit limiting, like looking through a keyhole. The small lens makes it harder to get a good view, I really like having a big bit of glass to look at! I would like to make it easy for my "customers" to get a good view without having to move around too much, and risk moving the scope etc. I want them to walk away with a degree of "awe"!

After looking further on the site, and 'upping' the budget a tad, I considered getting either the Stratus 8 or Hyperion 8. Both have had extremely good comments on this site, but one comment (Janoskiss?) mentioned how easy it was to get a good view with the Stratus, which is a pretty useful criteria for the intended use. I have found that some people often comment initially, when looking through the Pentax, "I don't see anything, just black". After some moving around, they find the right position. I must admit, I suffer the same problem myself at times, but I soon hit the spot. I have decided to go with the Stratus 8. It also has good eye relief (for the older people), a big lump of glass at the front, which seems to help with small kids (10 and under) and a wide (quality) field of view. I am sure the Hyperion would have been equally as suitable, as some have said "they come from the same factory", and about $20 cheaper but more people here have used the Stratus, so it has won the battle.

I will be very interested to see how the Stratus stacks up against the XW-7 and XW-10.

06-09-2006, 10:14 AM
i'd trust the public with GSO plossls and thats about it! :)

06-09-2006, 10:54 AM
I only ever had one person have difficulty with looking through a Stratus. They were mashing their face right into the eyecup and getting blackout. Once they got it, it was easy for them to use it.

I don't know if the 8mm is the best choice though. In your f/5 it's getting a little dim for newbies, and has not quite enough power for planets on its own and too much power in a barlow. I'd go with a 13mm.

07-09-2006, 08:14 AM
I thought about something like the 13, but the other night we were near the old IKEA on the Nepean Hwy so you could only see "bright stuff", you could read a newspaper if you wanted. I spent most of the night on Alpha Centauri with my 7, a 13 may not have given a clear separation. I was amazed at how amazed people were when they saw it. I figured a lot of the viewings are in places which will be in the 'burbs and so you need something bright, most likely Alpha Centauri, clusters, other multiples etc. I will leave the DSO's for some of the big guns, one of the guys had his 20". If I point to something that needs a bit less magnification, I can break out something longer, maybe take my old Plossl 12 with me.