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PeteMo
13-02-2007, 06:54 PM
As I do not have any 8mm eyepieces to hand for comparison purposes, I decided I'd just write a summary instead.:(

I ordered the Baader Hyperion 8mm eyepiece from MyAstroShop for $215 plus $10 postage to Perth. It arrived 4 days later, in a surprisingly large rectangular box with the 'Baader Planetarium' logo. The package was fairly hefty, and a quick check on the specs reveals that it is the lightest member of the Hyperion family at 13.5 Oz (381g). The eyepiece uses over sized lenses usually found on 2" eyepieces, using 8 elements arranged in 6 Groups. It dwarfs my Plossl eyepieces.

The eyepiece is a modular design, meaning that you can unscrew the 1.25" barrel (the negative lens element), and you then have 2" Erfle eyepiece with a longer focal length. Baader also make 14mm and 28mm Fine Tuning Rings to allow 4 different focal lengths from the same eyepiece. I was unable to test this since my scope only has a 1 1/4 inch focuser. If you remove the eyecup there is an M43 screw thread underneath for connecting your digital camera, SLR, or video camera to the eyepiece using various Baader adaptor rings. I was also impressed with the inclusion of 2 lens caps, one for using the eyecup folded, the other for using the eyecup extended. It was these Teutonic engineering traits that influenced my decision to get the Hyperion over its closest competitor the Orion Stratus.

I tried the Hyperion in my Optex 8", f1200mm with an f ratio of 5.91, and had to adjust the counterbalance to allow for the obesity of the eyepiece. The true field of view was only a bit smaller than my Meade 12.4mm Super Plossl.

M42 looked very impressive. I could see 4 stars in the central Trapezium bit. The gaseous whisps really stood out.

Tuc 47 was equally impressive. It looked like a frosted glass etching, more like looking at a human ovum under a microscope than a globular cluster.

Jewel Box I could differentiate colours better, as there were at least 3 amber looking gemstones in this heavenly collection.

Pupis The open cluster was multicoloured, and again I could make out the whisps of gas surrounding some of the stars in the cluster.

Binaries The Hyperion was able to split the binary companion of both Alpha Crux and Castor with ease.

Saturn & Jupiter
There was just too much atmospheric turbulence to view Saturn properly the first few times with the Hyperion. When I was able to view Saturn, it was a bright, white ball with an almost cartoonish ring around it. I'm sure viewing was not helped by Saturn's low declination in the Eastern sky. I could see the heat haze flickering over Saturn every now and then and could not discern any surface features or cloud patterns. Likewise Saturn's ring system revealed no separation or the Cassini Division, so it was a little disappointing. I did manage to make out two other moons, in addition to Titan, that are invisible to my barlowed 12.4mm Meade Super Plossl. These extra faint grey dots made up for some of the initial disappointment. On balance I think the Plossl are better suited to planetary viewing, whilst the Baader excels with the deep sky stuff. Jupiter was a similar affair, but at least I could discern two main cloud bands. I'd be curious to compare the Hyperion with an equivalent focal length planetary eyepiece like a Burgess TMB. The Hyperion seems better suited to Deep Sky Objects than planets.

The Moon
I had a few opportunities to view the moon during daylight and at night. Generally I found the eyepiece not really suited to lunar viewing since I had to move the focusing tube so far out that you could clearly see the vignetting taking place. Gone was the nice wide angled view encountered when observing deep sky object. Instead it was like looking through a pipe at the moon. I was impressed with the sharpness and detail of the bits of the moon I could see through the 'hole'. It took a few viewing sessions to get the hang of it, but when we had the recent half moon, I was impressed with the detail around the terminator. I then understood the 'Space capsule view' that people talk about with wide angled eyepieces.

Summary
In conclusion, I'm glad I got the Hyperion, as it generally reveals more detail than my Plossls. This Wunderbaader eyepiece has got me saving for another member of the Hyperion family. I may go for a 12mm Pentax XF instead of the Hyperion 13mm, because it is closer to the 11.92mm sweet spot of my scope than the Hyperion. I'm not suprised that Baader are enjoying a Blitzkrieg with the lower end of the eyepiece market. Thanks to folk like Steve and Iceman for introducing me to these super value eyepieces.