Are you frustrated that you are not getting the view you had hoped you would get after spending so much on your telescope? Or maybe, you are surprised to see someone else is having better visibility with a cheaper scope? In both cases, you should consider investing in the best telescope eyepieces to improve your viewing experience.
You will get free eyepieces with your telescope, but they are often limited in terms of performance and magnificence. For a broader viewing range, you need to splash some cash to get your hands on some extra pieces with different capacities compared to the ones you already have.
Whether you are an expert hobbyist or just getting to know your way around a telescope, you will always find a use for some extra eyepieces lying around your accessory tray. In today’s article, we will talk about some of the finest telescope eyepieces you can buy to boost your stargazing exploits.
Best Telescope Eyepieces
|Eyepiece||Focal length||Size of barrel||Apparent Field of View||Coatings||Eye relief||Weight||Adjustable Eyecups|
|Celestron 93230 8-24 Zoom Eyepieces||8-24mm||1.25’’||60° (maximum)||Fully multicoated||15-18mm||4.6oz||Yes|
|Meade Instruments 14mm Ultra Wide Angle Waterproof Eyepiece||14mm||1.25’’||82°||Fully multicoated||13-15mm||12oz||Yes|
|Explore Scientific 82 Degree Waterproof Telescope Eyepiece||11mm||1.25’’||82°||Fully multicoated||15.6mm||9.8oz||Yes|
1. Celestron 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom Eyepiece
- Zoom from low to high power in an instant with this versatile eyepiece
- Compatible with any telescope that accepts 1.25” eyepieces
- This fully multi-coated Premium eyepiece zooms to any focal length between 8 mm and 24 mm - pick the best magnification for your subject
Priced well below the $100 zone, The Celestron 93230 8-24 zoom eyepieces are an absolute steal. The output you would be getting is comparable to some of the costlier pieces. With varying focal length options, Celestron 93230 functions as multiple pieces and provides a cost-saving substitute to buying individual pieces.
Partnering up with a potent Barlow lens, these eyepieces can effectively replace four to six single focal length eyepieces. This gives the eyepieces the capability to produce a wide range of magnification power as well, eliminating the need for swapping pieces while viewing objects of different brightness and distance.
- Focal length range: 8mm to 24mm
- Size of barrel: 1.25″
- AFOV: 40 degrees at 24mm to 60 degrees at 8mm
- Coatings: Fully multi-coated
- Eye relief: 15-18 mm
- Weight: 4.6 ounces
- Flexible Zooming Options: You can effortlessly change your zooming power without having to change the eyepiece. Just rotate the barrel and you can alter between a diverse scale of magnification options.
- Universal 1.25’’ Barrel Size: The pieces fit right into a 1.25’’ slot, which is the norm for most modern telescopes.
- Multi-coated: The eyepiece is insulated with several layers of coatings to prevent internal reflections and optical aberrations.
- You can change magnification without having to replace the eyepiece.
- Offers a substantial field of view that can be as much as 60 degrees.
- You can easily spot your targets with it.
- Adjustable eyecap for users with glasses.
- Easy to use.
- Image quality slightly poorer than conventional single focal length pieces.
2. Meade Instruments Ultra Wide Angle Waterproof Eyepiece
- Extremely large 82-degree apparent field of view
- 7-Element, multi-coated lenses with blackened edges and rotating adjustable eyecups
- Sharp optimal performance with low chromatic aberration
- Threaded to work with Meade’s 1. 25-inch astronomy filters
- Comes with a 1-year limited
Meade Instrument’s 5000 series eyepieces could be interpreted as the budget versions of Tele-Vue’s Nagler pieces, as both of their construction are based on a 7 lens design. The 14mm Ultra Wide Angle eyepiece in question provides an unbelievable field of view of 82 degrees, which is more than capable of bringing you the most exhilarating scenes of deep space.
The eyepieces come O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, which make them immune to water. The waterproof design keeps the interior dry and rules out the possibility of foggy lenses during winter and fungus buildup. Meade Instruments didn’t reveal the exact nature of the glass material used for building this eyepiece, but rest assured it is competent in delivering top-notch optics.
- Focal length: 14mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- AFOV: 82 degrees
- Coatings: Fully multi-coated
- Eye relief: 13-15mm
- Weight: 12 ounces.
- Broad Field of View: The maximum apparent field of view you can get from this unit is 82 degrees, which is perfect for deep sky observations.
- 7-Element Design: Incorporates a premium 7-element design and blackened lens edges to achieve superior image contrast.
- Low Chromatic Aberration: Fully coated interior to minimize chromatic aberration and ghost image manifestations.
- Waterproof design for keeping out moisture and using in high humidity situations.
- Broad field of view ideal for deep space observation.
- Premium optical components.
- Rubber coated barrel for comfy grip and weather protection.
- Bulky design.
3. Explore Scientific 82 Degree Waterproof Telescope Eyepiece
- Fully Waterproof and Gas Purged
- 11mm focal length, 82 Degree Apparent Field of View
- All internal surfaces/edges are flat black
- EMD Enhanced Multilayer Deposition Coatings
- Parfocal for simple switching of eyepieces
Explore Scientific 82 Degree eyescopes also have an apparent field of view of 82 degrees, as the name suggests. Combining with a considerable amount of eye relief, these eyepieces can deliver some stunning intergalactic sceneries to our eyes. The design accounts for eyeglass wearing viewers too, so that everybody can enjoy an immersive space watching experience.
Explore Scientific’s unique EMD coatings nullify the threat of reflections and enable genuine color flow across the complete field of view. The blackened interior results in bright, high quality images with impressive accuracy. To improve contrast even more, you can use the rubber eyecup to stop scattering rays of light entering the lens.
- Focal length: 14mm
- Size of barrel: 1.25’’
- AFOV: 82 degrees
- Coatings: Fully multicoated
- Eye relief: 15.6mm
- Weight: 9.8 ounces
- Waterproof: Argon purged waterproof build to keep the pieces safe from water spillage and moisture.
- Blackened interior: The eyepieces are painted black on the inside to produce sharper and brighter images.
- Parfocal: All Explore Scientific 82 degree eyepieces are parfocal, meaning you won’t have to refocus when you move from one focal length to another within the same series.
- Waterproof design.
- Adjustable eyecup for controlling light input.
- Broad field of view.
- Explore Scientific’s exclusive EMD internal coating to minimize internal reflections and chromatic aberrations.
- Textured, grip friendly surface.
- Pricier than similar options.
Best Telescope Eyepiece Sets
|Eyepiece Sets||Design||Eyepiece focal length||Barrel size||Number of elements||Apparent field of view (maximum)||Barlow lens||Weight|
|Orion 08890 1.25-Inch Premium Telescope Accessory Kit||Plössl||40mm, 17mm, 10mm, 7.5mm, and 6.3mm||1.25’’||12||52°||Yes||3.95lbs|
|Celestron – 1.25” Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit – 14 Piece Telescope Accessory Set||Plössl||32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, and 6mm||1.25’’||14||52°||Yes||3.38lbs|
|Orion 08889 1.25-Inch Telescope Accessory Kit||Plössl||20mm and 7.5mm||1.25’’||7||52°||Yes||11.8oz|
|Meade Instruments 607001 Series 4000 1.25-Inch Eyepiece and Filter Set||Plössl||32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm,6mm||1.25’’||13||52°||Yes||3.82lbs|
|Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit||Plössl||20mm,12.5mm,6.5mm||1.25’’||9||52°||Yes||15.8oz|
|Celestron – PowerSeeker Telescope Accessory Kit||Kellner||15mm, 9mm||1.25’’||6||52°||No||11.8oz|
1. Orion 1.25-Inch Premium Telescope Accessory Kit
- Thorough assortment of choice 1.25 inch astronomy accessories let you get the most out of any telescope - and save compared to buying items separately!
- Includes 12 premium accessories for any telescope - 5 Telescope eyepieces, 6 eyepiece filters, and a versatile Barlow lens
- Includes 5 Sirius plods telescope eyepieces - 40mm, 17mm, 10mm, 7.5mm, and 6.3mm focal lengths for viewing at five different magnification
- Also includes 6 eyepiece filters - 5 Color planetary filters and a 13 percent transmission neutral-density Moon filter enhance views of our nearest celestial neighbors when they are attached to any 1.25 inch eyepiece
- A powerful shorty 2x Barlow lens doubles the magnification of any inserted 1.25 inch eyepiece, providing a wide variety of magnification options With the included eyepieces, as well as any other 1.25 inch eyepiece you already own
Orion 08890 telescope accessory kit could be one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to take your telescope to the next level. You will get 5 Plössl eyepieces with this kit, each capable of providing high contrast images of their respective targets. Orion 08890 also packs 6 eyepiece filters for better color fidelity and a Barlow lens to double the original magnification power.
For wider sky coverage, there are five eyepieces in this kit with five different focal lengths- 40mm, 17mm, 10mm, 7.5mm & 6.3 mm. These allow you to view both deep-sky and nearer space bodies, as you can switch between the field of views to match the viewing conditions for different celestial objects situated at different locations.
- Design: Plössl
- Eyepiece focal length: 6.3mm-40mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of Elements: 12
- Weight: 3.95lbs
- 12 Premium Accessories: Ships with 12 premium grade accessories for your telescope including 5 Plössl eyepieces, 6 eyepiece filters and a Barlow lens.
- Planetary and Lunar Filters: Features five shaded planetary filters for better views of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Mercury and Venus. Also comes with a lunar filter that brushes up the details of the lunar surface on scope.
- 2x Shorty Barlow: The accompanying 2x Shorty Barlow can boost the magnification of any 1.25’’ eyepiece by twofold.
- Various focal length options with 5 eyepieces.
- Stylish carrying case.
- Beginner friendly design.
2. Celestron 1.25” Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit
- 5 SUPERIOR-GRADE PLOSSL EYEPIECES: Our Celestron Accessory Kit includes 5 Plossl telescope eyepieces, ranging from low to high power: 32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, and 6mm. Each eyepiece features a four-element design with a 52-degree field of view.
- 2X BARLOW LENS: The 2x Barlow lens can be easily paired with each of the 5 eyepieces in this kit (or any 1.25” eyepiece) to enhance your view and instantly double its magnification for even more power. It’s like having 10 telescope eyepieces in your collection
- COLORED FILTERS FOR ASTRONOMICAL VIEWING: Colored filters are perfect for bringing out various details on a planet’s surface or in its cloud structure.
- DURABLE HARD-SIDED CARRYING CASE: Your kit will remain safe in a protective metal, foam-lined carrying lens filter case, perfect for organizing each piece and keeping your equipment ready to use.
This Celestron accessory kit is designed to make a difference, and it becomes more and more evident as you continue to use it on your telescope. The eyepieces that feature in the kit are compatible with any 1.25’’ telescopes and work wonders to improve clarity and vision. Enclosing seven color filters and five eyepieces, the Celestron 1.25’’ Eyepiece and Filter Accessory kit is a fine addition in any stargazer’s arsenal.
The eyepieces trump most of their competitors in terms of functionality and efficiency. Each of them promises a decent 52 degree field of view, but when it comes to magnifying, each of them is unique because of their distinctive focal lengths. You can use them in conjunction with color filters to bring the best out of your telescope’s abilities.
- Design: Plössl
- Eyepiece focal length: 6-32mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of elements: 14
- Weight: 3.38lbs
- 5 Premium Quality Plössl Eyepieces: The accessory contains five high quality Plössl eyepieces for attaining various levels of magnification.
- 2x Barlow Lens: You already have five magnification options from five eyepieces. If you use them in tandem with this Barlow lens you would be able to get five more magnification values as the Barlow would double the magnification power in all of those pieces.
- Durable carrying case: The aluminum made carrying case is long lasting. It also has foam lined pouches for storing eyepieces safely.
- Moon filter to get accurate image of the moon during its brighter phases.
- Four element design with a 52 degree field of view.
- Well-built carrying case.
- The Barlow lens is difficult to focus.
3. Orion 08889 1.25-Inch Telescope Accessory Kit
- Complete starter assortment of useful 1.25 inch accessories to get the most out of your telescope
- Includes 7 great accessories for any telescope - 2 eyepieces, 4 filters, and a versatile Barlow lens
- 20mm and 7.5mm 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces for viewing at different magnifications
- 4 filters - 3 color planetary filters and a 13 percent transmission neutral-density Moon filter enhance views of our nearest celestial neighbors when they are attached to an eyepiece
- A powerful Shorty 2x Barlow lens doubles the magnification of any 1.25 inch eyepiece, providing a variety of magnification options
This is a budget edition of the Orion accessory kit I mentioned earlier. Other than the eyepieces, other contents feature the same attributes as the ones in Orion 08890. There are two eyepieces in this unit, allowing you to switch between high and low magnifications. The 20mm eyepiece is the high magnification eyepiece, while the 7.5mm one serves as the low magnification piece.
There is a 2x Barlow lens which virtually gives you two more magnification options. 4 filters are also included in the package-three of them are planetary filters, and the other one is lunar. The colors available are blue, green, and yellow Pwith each of them having sui generis viewing purposes. You would find these filters very helpful in augmenting color and brightness.
- Design: Plössl
- Eyepiece focal length: 7.5-20mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of Elements: 7
- Weight: 11.8 ounces
- 7 High-Quality Accessory Pieces for Your Telescope: This unit consists of 7 top grade accessory items for your telescope-2 eyepieces, a 2x Barlow lens, and four eyepieces.
- High and low magnification options: Contains a 20mm eyepiece and a 7.5mm Sirius Plössl eyepiece for high and low magnification, respectively.
- 3 Planetary Filters: Comes witha blue, green and yellow filter to reveal exclusive details of our solar system neighbors.
- A budget alternative to Orion 08890.
- Suitable for astronomy hobbyists who are getting started.
- Sturdy and fashionable carrying case.
- Limited magnification options.
4. Meade Instruments 1.25-Inch Eyepiece and Filter Set
- Focal lengths of 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm, 32mm plus Barlow
- Complete set of the most popular accessories for your Meade telescope
- Color Filter Set: Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Light Green, Yellow and ND96 Moon filter
- Package Weight: 2.177 kilograms
Meade Instruments 607001 is one of the best telescope kits out there which offer a versatile assortment of add-ons for your telescope. The quality of the eyepieces associated with this kit can’t be questioned, thanks to the top of the line glass materials used to build them. The optics is equally good for landscape and space viewing.
Meade promises you the ultimate telescope viewing experience, so to ensure you relish your observation session out-and-out, the kit offers a color filter set featuring 6 filters. The filters you would be getting are green, blue, orange, red, light green, and an ND96 Moon filter. All these come in a gorgeous carrier case, which will keep your accessories safe in style.
- Design: Plössl
- Eyepiece focal length: 6-32mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of Elements: 13
- Weight: 3.82lbs
- Complete set of Accessories: This is a comprehensive collection of items that you can use to upgrade your telescope.
- 5 Eyepieces and a Barlow: The kit assembles five eyepieces of different focal lengths to give you a multiple magnification options. You can get more magnification if you want by pairing up the pieces with the included Barlow lens.
- Extensive Color Filter Set: Alongside a ND96 Moon filter, the kit packs five color filters to make your planetary viewings even more interesting.
- A complete set of accessories.
- Premium optical components.
- Suitable for both terrestrial and space viewing.
- The rubber eyecups might feel a bit uncomfortable to use.
5. Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit
- This nine-piece 1.25 inch astronomy accessory kit let you get the most out and enhances the performance of your telescope.
- It contains 6mm/12.5mm/ 20mm plossl eyepiece, a 2x berlow lens/ T adapter, a moon filter, three color planetary filters(Red, Blue, Yellow), a Chamois cloth and a handy aluminum case.
- 6mm 12.5mm, 20mm Plossl eyepieces ——for different power planetary and lunar observation broad-field lunar observations, star clusters, and a wide range of cloudy nebulas and deep-sky targets in any telescope.
- 2X Barlow lens —— A visual Barlow, doubles the magnification of any inserted 1.25 inch eyepiece, A prime focus T-adapter for attaching a DSLR camera. With the T2 threads (M42x0.75), you can attach a T-ring for astronomy photography. A tele-extender for increasing the focal length of the telescope when attaching a DSLR camera.
- Moon filter —— helps to dim the bright light from the Moon, making it more comfortable to view so you can see more detail and surface features. 3 color planetary filters —— The three color filters (Red, Blue＆Yellow) highlight features on Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.They are an essential tool of the lunar and planetary observer, for filters permit the observation and photography of surface detail that is often virtually invisible without filtration.
Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit will get you a great bang for the buck with its astonishing offerings at a surprisingly low price. Three eyepieces with focal lengths of 6mm, 12.5mm, and 20mm can be found upon unboxing the kit for the first time. If you use them with a quality telescope, the eyepieces can generate some fantastic images with ample magnification.
The optical system has been purposefully designed to curtail the distortions caused by stray light to a substantial degree. You can make use of the rubber-made eye guard to find the viewing angle that suits you best. The eyecup is attached with the eyepieces with a bayonet mount which makes it a breeze to control.
- Design: Plössl
- Eyepiece focal length: 6-20mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of Elements: 9
- Weight: 15.8 ounces
- T-Adapter: The Barlow lens acts as a prime focus T-adapter, which can be used to mount a DSLR camera on your scope for astrophotography purposes.
- 3 Planetary Filters: There are three color filters in the package-red, blue and yellow. These can be used on the eyepieces to reveal more details of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
- Moon filter: Also features a dedicated moon filter to capture the best lunar images in all conditions.
- The eyepieces offer powerful magnification.
- 52 degree apparent field of view with great light transmission.
- Reflection reducing black color interior.
- Eye guard for extended viewing sessions.
- The kit doesn’t come with a clear cut instruction manual.
6. Celestron – PowerSeeker Telescope Accessory Kit
- 15 mm Kellner Eyepiece.9 mm Kellner Eyepiece.#80A Blue Planetary Filter.#25 Red Planetary Filter. Moon Filter. Micro Fiber Cloth.Plastic Carrying Case with Foam
- Fully-coated eyepieces for higher magnification.Planetary filters enhance details on Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus
- Moon filter allows detailed views of the Moon especially during the brighter phases
- Carrying case fits all of the included items in the die-cut foam interior
- Micro fiber cloth safely cleans optics without scratching or leaving residue
I will wrap up my best telescope eyepieces list with this Celestron accessory kit, which will make your jaw drop on the ground with its unimaginable price tag. Being so lowly priced, does Celestron Powerseeker Telescope Accessory Kit have any meaningful proposals to improve your sky watching escapades? Even though it sounds too good to believe, it actually does.
The eyepieces that ships with the set have modest focal lengths of 9mm and 15mm. While this somewhat limits their deep sky exploration abilities, but they are still an excellent choice to view the moon and the planets in our solar system. Also boasting three potent color filters, this accessory kit is a must have to ameliorate an entry-level telescope.
- Design: Kellner
- Eyepiece focal length:9-15mm
- Barrel size: 1.25’’
- Number of Elements: 6
- Weight: 11.8 ounces
- Low Magnification Eyepieces: The bundle offers two low magnification eyepieces which are perfect for planetary and lunar observation.
- Effective Color Filters: Comes with two color filters (red and blue), and a moon filter to provide crispier recreations of the moon and Earth’s nearby planets.
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloth: The microfiber cleaning cloth can be used to clean the eyepiece lenses without damaging them.
- Low price.
- The eyepieces deliver sufficient magnification for optimum planetary viewing.
- Handy carrying case.
- Limited magnification options.
Types of Telescope Eyepieces
As technology continues to evolve, microscope manufacturers have incorporated a variety of eyepiece designs in their products. Here are some of them-
- Galilean: Galilean eyepieces have limited field of view and are suitable for low magnification observation. These lenses were used in Galileo Galilei’s telescope design in 1609. You can find them in budget telescope models these days, alongside binoculars and opera glasses.
- Convex: Convex eyepieces are capable of building a magnified, inverted image of the object. These were supposedly used in the first refractor telescope built in Netherlands in the early 17th century.
- Huygens: Huygens eyepieces have a two-lens arrangement split up by an air space. Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens invented this setup in 1662, and it was the first multi-lens eyepiece ever used. These eyepieces are very effective while being used with long tube scopes, but since shorter focal length telescopes are mainstream now, these eyepieces have grown out of use.
- Ramsden: Ramsden eyepieces, a combination of two glass made plano-convex lenses of identical focal lengths, were conceptualized by Jesse Ramsden in 1782. The gap between the two lenses is less than the scope’s focal length, which customarily lies between 7/10 and 7/8 of the focal length. This design is an upgrade on Huygen’s design, but its application in modern scopes is fairly limited.
- Kellner: Kellner eyepieces are special Ramsden eyepieces that feature an achromatic doublet, i.e. a special double lens arrangement which aims to minimize the effects of chromatic and spherical aberration. Kellners are prone to heavy internal reflections, but with proper reflection resistant coating, these are good choices for economical telescopes.
- Plössl: Plössl eyepieces are named after their inventor Simon Plössl, who invented them back in 1860. The Austrian astronomical instrument maker used two sets of doublets in a parallel order to accommodate a larger, aberration-free field of view. Plössl eyepieces are great for deep sky observation and are the go-to pieces for many entry-level telescopes.
- Orthoscopic: Orthoscopic eyepieces have a 4 lens layout with a single plano-convex lens and three achromatic field lenses arranged in a single unit (triplet arrangement). The design provides tremendous eye relief but cuts down the scope’s field of view substantially. Good choice for lunar and planetary observation.
- Monocentric: A monocentric eyepiece is an achromatic triplet lens with crown glass insulation on both sides. The lenses and the glass coating is strongly layered upon each other to account for a single unit and share a common central point, hence the name monocentric. These eyepieces have a very narrow field of view but have remarkably low distortions.
- Erfle: Erfle eyepieces were primarily developed for military purposes during World War I. An Erfle has a 5 lens arrangement with two achromatic lenses sandwiching three other lenses. These pieces have broader field of view, but are susceptible to generating ghost images. Erfles are popular choice for modern telescope manufacturers because of their decent field of view, satisfactory eye relief and bigger lenses.
- König: König eyepieces have a three-lens design-a concave-convex positive duo and a standalone plano-convex lens. They have a remarkable field of view range of 55°, which makes them a viable alternative for Plössl pieces despite having a lower lens count. By using a variety of glasses, manufacturers have extended the field of view of modern Königs to 60°−70°.
- RKE: An RKE eyepiece has the opposite arrangement of a Kellner eyepiece. That means, there is a single achromatic lens in an RKE eyepiece, paired up with a convex lens duplet. An RKE has a wider field of view than a Kellner and is more akin to a larger König piece. RKE stands for ‘’Rank, Kaspereit, Erfle’’-three eyepieces that inspired the design of this particular piece.
- Nagler: Nagler eyepieces are marquee telescope items that can account for astigmatism, aberrations and other optical problems to a greater degree. These pieces are built using premium-grade high index glasses and other top of the line optical materials. These eyepieces are the most expensive ones out there and suited for users who take their stargazing seriously.
How to Choose the Best Telescope Eyepieces?
Sky is the limit when we take a peek with our telescopes, but in stargazing terms, that is not good enough. In order to view aerial objects that lie well beyond our visibility, you need the help of the finest telescope eyepieces. Here are the crucial factors you would want to check while you are buying an eyepiece for your telescope-
Eye relief is the maximum gap between the spectator’s eyes and the ocular lens of the eyepiece while experiencing a complete field of view. Shorter eye reliefs yield greater magnification, but minimal eye relief eyepieces are difficult to look through, especially for people who wear eyeglasses.
Eyepieces with eye reliefs measuring 10mm or less are categorized as low eye relief eyepieces. 15mm plus eye relief falls in the high range. Most users find 15mm eye relief to be optimal.
Field of View:
Different eyepieces present a different view of the night sky. In some pieces, the space appears near and widespread while in some others, the view seems confined and distant. This difference in perception originates from the difference in field of view in various eyepieces.
It feels obvious that wider field of view is the most desirable thing here, while that is true in some sense, a ballooning spectacle has its fair share of burdens. The larger the field of view is, the lower the eye relief would be. So, pick a field of view that gives you the ideal combination of observation and eye relief.
However, there are some eyepieces that will let you enjoy the best of both worlds with a high field of view and eye relief. Tele Vue 21mm Ethos, for example, has an impressive 21mm eye relief as well as a massive 100 degree field of view. An eyepiece of similar pedigree will set you back around a thousand bucks.
Telescope Focal Ratio:
It would be a rarity if you had been talking about telescopes with someone, and the term “focal ratio” never came up. It’s one of the vital underlying metrics that define the performance of a telescope, and as you would find out now, it is also an important factor to contemplate while selecting an eyepiece for your scope.
Simply put, focal ratio of a telescope refers to the ratio of its focal length and aperture. For instance, a telescope with a 1000mm focal length and an aperture of 200mm would have a focal ratio of f/10. Lower focal ratios are ideal for deep sky observation, while higher focal ratios accommodate better planetary and lunar viewing.
In telescopes coming with a focal ratio of f/5 or less, the view is more spacious, which could leave certain objects on the edge of the viewing lens or outside of it. To compensate for this field curvature, you would need to invest in more expensive eyepieces. For higher focal ratios, you will be able to work with budget eyepieces.
Your Observational Needs:
Different eyepieces help different viewing objectives. Going for the most expensive is not the automatic fix here, you need to know what you want to view with your scope and shop accordingly.
For deep sky objects, you need to buy pieces that can give you a broader field of view. In case of our neighboring planets, the moon and other nearby space objects, you would find narrower field of view eyepieces more useful.
Why do You Need a New Eyepiece or Eyepieces?
You have just bought a new telescope and it shipped with free eyepieces. Do you still need to buy new eyepieces? I understand your reluctance to fork over more money, but the answer is an unfortunate yes.
As I have said multiple times already throughout this article, a single eyepiece can’t give you a comprehensive taste of space watching. Even though you have a high-quality eyepiece at your disposal, it is not enough to view everything the night sky has to offer.
You would need a mix of magnification powers and field of view options to relish the wonders of the space properly. You can’t use the same eyepiece with to examine the details of lunar cavities and view a far away star cluster with the exact levels of accuracy. So, you do need to buy more eyepieces to widen your celestial viewing range.
Magnification and the Eyepiece
Focal length is another number we need to look upon while we buy a telescope eyepiece. Focal length refers to the distance between the point where the reflection of an object forms and the primary lens of the telescope. This number is usually etched on the tube of a telescope.
Eyepieces also have focal lengths. If we know the individual focal lengths of a particular eyepiece and the telescope it is going to be used on, we can derive the magnification power of that unit using the following formula-
Magnification= Telescope focal length / Eyepiece focal length
So, it’s evident that we can get different levels of magnification from a single eyepiece by using it on telescopes of different focal lengths. A 20mm eyepiece can offer magnification up to 50x (1000/20) when it is paired up with a 1000mm scope, but the same eyepiece can boost its magnification capacity to 100x when it is used on a 2000mm scope.
There is a catch, nonetheless. If the magnification becomes too strong, the light coming from the object will spill around the pupils of our eye and make it impossible to see anything. So, there is a limit to how far we could go in terms of eyepiece focal length for sensible levels of magnification.
We can easily derive the optimum level of eyepiece focal length for any given value of telescope focal ratio. Just apply this formula-
Maximum eyepiece focal length = Telescope focal ratio X 7
Here’s a numerical example that will help you understand the rule better. If you have a telescope with a focal ratio of f/8, the maximum focal length for the eyepiece would be (8×7) 56mm. That means you can get the highest level of visible magnification with the said scope by using an eyepiece that has a focal length of 56mm. For a larger focal length eyepiece, the image will distort.
What is the Optimum Magnification of an Eyepiece?
One of the common mistakes we make as an amateur is rating an eyepiece for its magnification powers. As you become more and more acquainted with space observation, you will find out higher magnification often ends up ruining the view as it dims the brightness and shrinks the field of view.
There’s a theoretical approach to determining the optimum magnification of a telescope. It does not always give out the best results, but it is the best way to weigh up your eyepiece options when you need to get the highest possible level of magnification. Here’s the rule of thumb-
Maximum magnification = Telescope aperture (in inches) X 50
A 6’’ telescope will, therefore, magnify an image up to 300x with appropriate eyepiece support. So, keep this equation in consideration while you are trying to pick the right eyepiece for gaining optimum level of magnification from your scope.
What Field of View and Eye Relief do I Want?
We have already discussed field of view and eye relief, so at this point, you know what they are and what is their significance when it comes to delivering a worthwhile stargazing experience. The optimum field of view and eye relief levels are utterly down to personal preference, but expert astronomers do recommend a specific range if you are confused to decide for yourself.
Larger field of views can show you a greater portion of the sky but it makes nearby objects like the moon appear smaller on the landscape. Field of views between 60 and 70 degrees would be a good place to get started, as you would get relatively satisfactory results in viewing both deep sky and nearer objects.
Smaller eye reliefs can provide higher magnification. Eye reliefs of 10mm and below come with the strongest magnification feature, but eye reliefs of 15mm and above would enable better viewing for most of the users.
How Many Eyepieces do I Need?
The answer to this question is heavily reliant on the quality of the telescope you have and its focal length. Regardless, I believe any space enthusiast should have at least 4 different eyepieces in his accessory kit-
- A 25mm+ eyepiece for wide scale viewing.
- A 12mm-15mm eyepiece for mid-range magnification.
- A 5mm one and another 7/8mm one for maximum magnification.
What about a Barlow Lens?
Barlow lens is not a standard eyepiece, rather it is an optical instrument that sits halfway between the eyepiece and the scope’s objective lens. A Barlow lens, named after its inventor Peter Barlow, can enhance the magnification capability of any eyepiece.
Even though the name makes it seem related to an eyepiece, a Barlow lens actually modifies the optical tube of a telescope so that it can extend the scope’s focal length by pushing the focal point forward. If you have a telescope that has a 300mm focal length, a 3x Barlow lens can make it act like a scope with a 900mm focal length.
If you need more eyepieces for superior magnification, buying a Barlow lens could be a better solution as it would allow you to boost the magnification power of your existing eyepieces. However, I do not advocate buying single-lens Barlows as they are inclined to have severe optical aberrations.
The Size of an Eyepiece-Which is Right for Your Telescope?
The barrel size of an eyepiece is popularly known as the size of the eyepiece. 1.25’’ can be said as the universal size of eyepieces, as these pieces are compatible with almost any telescope you would find out there.
If you prefer an extensive view of the cosmos, then you can go for a 2’’ eyepiece. These eyepieces are more expensive and might require an extra adapter to fit into your telescope.
Some eyepieces have a barrel diameter of 0.965″. They are cheap but not a bargain at all. The optics in these pieces is so poor that you would regret spending a dime on them.
Maintaining Your Eyepieces
To keep your eyepieces spot-free, you need to clean them on a regular basis. When you are looking at objects lying on the far-flung corners of the universe, the tiniest detail will be of mammoth importance. So, a foggy eyepiece will do you no good when you are trying to see something plunged deep into the serenity of outer space.
The most important thing you should do to keep your eyepieces clean is to handle them with care and store them properly. When not in use, cap the eyepieces on both ends and keep them on a plastic bag. You can also purchase dedicated eyepiece storage boxes to keep your instruments safe. Avoid skin contact with the lens surface as skin oil acids can gradually compromise the optical coatings.
Use a soft and brittle hairbrush to dust the pieces. Make sure that they are so soft they do not scratch the surface of the lens. Camel’s hair-brush, available in camera shops, could be the perfect pick for the job.
You can also use compressed gas cans to blow off dust from the lens. Use the type that contains no mark inducing chemicals. Blowing off with your mouth could also leave spit marks on the lens, which will be annoyingly evident after a while.
For stains that refuse to go away, you can use liquid solutions like isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using other alcohol variants (methyl alcohol is also okay for use), as they would end up staining your lenses even more. Do not pour the liquid on the eyepiece directly, soak a soft wiping cloth with the solution and gently rub it on the lens.
The Cost of the Best Telescope Eyepieces
Just like any other item, there is a variety of price ranges available when you are shopping for a telescope eyepiece. There are some which are incredibly low-priced, some are more expensive with enhanced characteristics and some fall in the luxury range with astronomical price tags.
So, how much do you need to spend to buy the best telescope eyepieces? Do they all command sky-high prices? Necessarily not! You can get some very good pieces below $100, and within the $250 mark, you will find a host of options that fulfill the best telescope eyepieces criteria.
If you want the premium astronomy feel, you can go for the eyepieces that are priced above this limit. Some of the eyepieces can warrant four figure prices, but given their unique features and finest materials, you will find good value for your investment.
A proper reflection of the universe can change your outlook on astronomy forever, and a competent eyepiece is the key to unlocking the true majestic view of the cosmos. Investing on the best telescope eyepieces will help you see the space in a whole new light, so don’t hesitate to spend a bit of extra money, if you are eager to find out more about the mysteries of the dark sky.
Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API