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Saturday, 15 February 2014

How do I use eyepieces with my telescope?

Your eyepieces are the first accessories you should have and use with your telescope. Since they are interchangeable, a telescope can be used at a variety of powers.

Look through the eyepiece by placing your eye just behind it to take advantage of its eye relief, the spacing between the lens and your eye. This should be at least 15 mm for the best comfort, maybe more if you wear eyeglasses. You’ll lose field of view if you place your eye farther away and may even move your eye out of the beam of light from the eyepiece. Viewing too close to the eyepiece will prevent you from blinking and may also cause a black ring to appear around the field of view.

Now turn the focus knob of the telescope, first one way then the other until the object is in focus.

Always start with the lowest power eyepiece (i.e., the one with the highest number in millimeters printed on it). It is much easier to focus and has a wider field of view, making it easier to aim the telescope at a distant target.

As power increases, the sharpness and detail seen will be diminished. The higher powers are mainly used for lunar, planetary, and binary star observations.

Most of your observations will be done with lower powers. With these lower powers, the images will be much brighter and crisper, providing more enjoyment and satisfaction with the wider fields of view.

A good way to increase magnification is to use a Barlow lens. A Barlow lens rated at 2x can be used with your existing eyepiece and it will double the magnification of any existing eyepiece. Since longer-focal-length eyepieces generally have longer eye relief, using a Barlow to increase magnification will allow more comfortable high-power viewing.

A basic set of eyepieces would be 32 mm, 20mm (or 26mm), and 10mm (or 16mm), plus a Barlow (2x or 3x power).

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