more astro toys

I have to apologise for the rain — buying new astronomy gear always brings bad weather, to ruin any plans of using it straight away, and the clouds started rolling over as soon as I was on my way home from the shop yesterday. I picked up a 13mm Tele Vue Nagler eyepiece which, along with the 21mm Orion Stratus eyepiece Kat got me for my birthday, should replace all of the cheap, basic eyepieces that came with the telescope.

The 21mm Stratus is a great low-power eyepiece for large nebulas and star clusters, while the medium-power 13mm Nagler is more for the smaller faint fuzzy things and the planets. The bundled eyepieces have an apparent field of view of about 50 degrees, and don’t perform well at the edges, but the Stratus as a 68 degree field and is sharp right to the edge, and the Nagler is 82 and should be just as sharp. The extra field of view will make observing much easier, since I won’t have to readjust the telescope so often to track the sky’s movement, especially at high magnification, which is a must for the planets. High magnification can help with small, faint things like galaxies, too, since it boosts contrast.

Of course, the bad weather curse has kept my Nagler inside since its purchase, but I’ve used the Stratus a couple of times, and it’s awesome — having a quality eyepiece really makes all the difference. With the UHC-E filter fitted, I got some great views of the Lagoon Nebula, and even though it’s not meant for planetary work, Jupiter was amazingly sharp. I’m very well set up now, so roll on the warm, clear spring nights!

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