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New eyepiece advice

Guest wavy dave

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Guest wavy dave

Evening everyone,

So I finally took the plunge and got myself a scope a few weeks back as a joint birthday/graduation present. I went for the Skywatcher 200p dob like so many others and have loved it so far! Even with the stock eyepieces I've had incredible views of all manner of things even under urban light polluted skies.

But I would like to get the best out of my new scope so am looking to upgrade the eyepieces. I normally wear glasses when observing so have found the 10mm a bit of a pain. I'd like to change this one first so have been looking at eyepieces like the Celestron XCEL-LX and BST starguider ranges as they seem to offer better eye relief as well as better FOVs.

I'm just wondering, in other peoples experience, particularly with this scope, what sort of power eyepieces work best. Theoretically an 8" dob is good for up to 400x mag but I'm guessing that seeing conditions rarely allow for that in this part of the world. But say 200x or 240x? Are these powers useful most of the time or rarely?

I know not to go to mad on the magnification front but also want to get the best out of my new scope and am happy with the 25mm as a low power eyepiece for now.

I'd be grateful for any wisdom you can impart on me!



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The 8mm BST is by far my favorite with this scope, I use it a lot. I had a 5mm X cel which was good but I couldn't get the best out of it with that scope.

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Hi Dave and congratulations on your new scope, it will serve you well for many a year and give pleasing views of many a object in the night sky.


(I`m biased by the way).  ;)


First off about magnification, forget that 400x magnification number, that's not possible in our heavily dewy atmosphere, that and the light pollution from our cities also does not help.


You need to be looking around the 200x mag range as a maximum, don't get me wrong, on really fantastic nights where the upper atmosphere is still and the weather is perfect, you can get away with 250x mag +, but that's once or twice a year at best, so buying an ep that gets you those types of magnifications is a waste IMO.


Aim for 200x max and you wont go far wrong, that is usable every clear night of the year (200 x mag in a 8" F6 Sky Watcher is approx a 6mm ep).


Also, its not all about the ep's, just take a moment and read the list of upgrades I have done to my 200P Dob in my signature alone, flocking is relatively cheap and helps with the contrast no end, helping to tease out that extra bit of detail.  The other mods I have done also aid in finding those faint fuzzes while making the scope a dream to move.


Back to ep's, the BST range are a good upgrade from the stock eps, I have looked through a few and they gave pleasing views. I hated the standard 10mm that came with the scope and rarely used it, even gave that and the barlow away for free, the Celestron X-Cels that you mentioned are also a good upgrade, also William Optics SWANs are a decent brand at around the £70 mark.


But the trouble with ep's is this, what works for one, does not work for all, everybody's eyes are different, what one likes, another does not.  Then you have to factor in eye relief, exit pupil size etc etc and find what works best for you.


Best bet, get along to a meet, ask to try a few peoples ep's in your scope, see what you like, what you dont and go from there.


The dark nights are starting to draw in so soon there should be a meet nearly every week weather permitting.


Hope this helps.

Edited by Daz Type-R
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Also, with the ep's I have + the Power Mate I`m due to get in approx 21 days (not that I`m counting) it gives me the below mags....


35mm ep = 34x mag

35mm ep with 2x power mate = 68x mag

13mm ep = 92x mag

13mm ep with 2x power mate = 184x mag


That's me done, I`m not going to any greater mag.

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Guest Tweedledum

As above the BST ED / Starguiders are great value for the cost. They rarely come up for sale in the classifieds too!!  Decent FOV and eyerelief and good sized observing lens's.

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All excellent advice above.


The only thing I can add is that better quality eyepieces are often available secondhand at relatively cheap prices on ebay or AstroBuySell, so keep an eye out for bargains. Secondhand eyepieces have usually been well looked after and are often in virtually as new condition.

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All good advice, but I wouldn't buy an eyepiece without trying them out first. If you can come along to a meet we all have different eyepieces and I know most will be happy to let you try them on your scope. I have Bader hyperions as I couldn't get on with the x - cell. Your welcome to have a play with mine. Do you need to wear your glasses while at the eyepiece? I know many of us speccys only use our glasses while finding then let your scope do the focusing.

Good luck

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Guest wavy dave

Thanks for all the advice guys. Love this site, I learn so much!


I'll keep my eye out for upcoming meets, it'll be nice to test the scope out in darker skies than derbados can offer!


Daz- Your list of upgrades is pretty impressive! I flocked mine a few weeks back and that made a big difference. I'd like to get the right angled correcting finderscope as the straight through one can get pretty annoying with all the back to front, upside down business whilst breaking your neck in the process!


Andy- I don't need to keep the specs on for the eyepiece but I do for the finderscope. I just find it a bit of a faff constantly taking them off and putting them back on. Very generous of you to offer a look through your eyepieces


Thanks again everyone and I shall keep my eye out for upcoming meets and 2nd hand bargains

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest MichaelDurban

I have the 25mm, 15mm and 8mm AstroGuider Ed's (BST's)..


Together with my ES 2x focal extender they give good views (almost sharp to the edge.)


Nice eye relief and quite clunky eyepieces...nasty ghosting though..


Having a fast scope (again) I decided these were right between 'views-price".


Although next time I will go for the ES range...

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