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New Eyes - 03/30/02

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Posted by Glenn Muller on April 1, 2002 22:04:14 UTC

After agonizing for weeks over which ep's to get as replacements for the 25mm & 10mm super plossls that came with my 6" reflector, I finally took the plunge on the weekend.
The main considerations were generous eye relief and a wide FOV, not to mention clarity.
Unfortunately (for my credit account) the answer appeared to be a couple of Pentax SMC XL's. Although pricey, my rationalization was: spend more now, regret less later. I didn't exactly buy them sight unseen because I'd been hooked by these mini grenades by a look through a 14mm at a recent star party. Compared to my "cheapos" it was a peephole to porthole difference. So, with the VISA card trembling in my pocket, we drove into Toronto to Kendrick Astro Supply and picked up a 21mm and a 7mm.
These ep's have an apparent FOV of 65 degrees and 20mm of eye relief. They also weigh almost a pound! I had to add some weight to the OTA - I used a 1 lb ankle weight and a velcro strap.
The moon was mostly full and the transparency wasn't great (see this is an observing report) and we had to dodge scudding clouds but with the 21mm (57X) we still managed to pick off M81 / M82 in the same FOV and individually, barlowed at 114X.
Both Saturn and Jupiter were quite well defined with the 7mm (171X) and we had a nice close up of the craters of the moon, barlowed at 343X, although there was a fair bit of atmospheric turbulence.
The only problem we encountered was that the weight of the ep's tended to pronounce the slack in the focusser (another cheap component that will soon be replaced), however I found that re-installing the focusser the other way up mostly solved this.
All in all, my eyes are happy even if my wallet hurts.

Glenn

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