Collection: Best Eyepiece for 8 inch Dobsonian

The Best Eyepiece for Your 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

If you're the proud owner of an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope, you already know the wonders it can reveal in the night sky. To enhance your celestial experience, finding the right eyepiece is crucial. In this guide, we'll explore the considerations, recommendations, and strategies shared by seasoned astronomers on astrophotography forums to help you choose the best eyepiece for your 8-inch Dobsonian.

Orion SkyQuest XT8i 8 inch

Understanding Eyepiece Basics

Before diving into specific recommendations, let’s cover some eyepiece basics. Eyepieces are fundamental accessories for telescopes, enhancing magnification and determining your field of view. For an 8-inch Dobsonian, which typically has a focal length around 1200mm and a focal ratio of f/6, finding the right balance between magnification and field of view is key.

A common theme among astrophotography forums is the debate between 1.25-inch and 2-inch eyepieces. The consensus leans toward the advantage of 2-inch eyepieces for their ability to display a larger star field, known as True Field of View (TFOV). The argument here is that a 2-inch eyepiece, like the 35 Panoptic, offers a wider TFOV compared to a 1.25-inch eyepiece, providing a more expansive view of the night sky.

Balancing Cost and Performance

While the idea of an unlimited budget might be tempting, practical considerations and personal preferences come into play. Some enthusiasts caution against investing in ultra-wide-angle eyepieces, like the 100-degree Ethos, due to their bulky and heavy nature. For those who prefer a more manageable and enjoyable experience, premium eyepieces like those from the Pentax XW, Baader Morpheus, and Tele Vue Delos lines are recommended. These options boast generous eye relief and wide Apparent Fields of View (AFOV) ranging from 70-76 degrees.

Best Eyepiece for 8 inch Dobsonian

Recommended Eyepiece Sets

One common approach suggested in the forums is to create a versatile eyepiece set that covers different magnifications. For a 2-inch eyepiece, the 24mm Explore Scientific ES82 or the 28mm ES68 are often recommended, offering a balance between TFOV and form factor. Complementing this, a 12.5mm Baader Morpheus and an 8mm Tele Vue Delos provide mid-range and high-power options, respectively.

If cost is a concern, some users propose alternatives like the 8mm Hyperion, known for its long eye relief and 68-degree AFOV. Additionally, the 13mm Hyperion could substitute for the 12.5mm Morpheus without sacrificing much in terms of performance. Striking a balance between quality and affordability, these alternatives cater to a broader range of budgets.

Zoom Eyepieces for Versatility

Another intriguing recommendation revolves around the use of zoom eyepieces. Specifically, the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom is highlighted for its versatility, effectively replacing a range of fixed focal length eyepieces. The convenience of smoothly transitioning between magnifications without the need for constant eyepiece changes is a notable advantage. While a zoom eyepiece may not offer the widest field of view, its adaptability makes it a valuable addition to your collection.

Strategic Approach to Eyepiece Selection

To summarize the strategic approach to building your eyepiece collection, consider the following:

  1. Low Power Wide View Eyepieces: Opt for a 2-inch eyepiece like the 24mm ES82 or 28mm ES68 for a wide field of view, ideal for star hopping and observing extended objects.
  2. Midrange Eyepieces: Include a midrange eyepiece in the 12-15mm range, such as the 12.5mm Baader Morpheus or an equivalent, for general-purpose observations.
  3. High Power Eyepieces: For high-power observations, a compact eyepiece like the 8mm Tele Vue Delos or an alternative can be added to your collection.
  4. Zoom Eyepiece: Consider a zoom eyepiece like the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm for versatility and ease of use.

Specific Eyepiece Recommendations

1. 2" Eyepiece:

  • 24mm ES82 or 28mm ES68: Balancing TFOV and portability.

2. 1.25" Eyepieces for Barlow:

  • 12mm Baader Morpheus: Excellent eye relief and AFOV.
  • 8mm Delos: A premium option for detailed observations.
  • 13mm Hyperion: A budget-friendly alternative with long eye relief.

3. Zoom Eyepiece:

  • Baader Hyperion 8-24mm: Offers flexibility and convenience.

4. Strategy for Eyepiece Selection:

  • Low power wide-view eyepieces: 28mm 68° or 34mm 68°.
  • Midrange eyepieces: 16mm to 12mm for general deep-sky observation.
  • High-power eyepieces: 6mm for planetary and detailed observations.

5. Considering Light Pollution:

  • Tailor your eyepiece selection to the level of light pollution in your observing area.

6. Zoom Eyepieces: A Versatile Solution:

  • Consider a zoom eyepiece for flexibility in magnification without swapping.

7. The Importance of Exit Pupil:

  • Factor in exit pupil size based on your observing conditions.

The Quest for Quality Eyepieces

You've expressed your hesitation in investing in quality eyepieces that surpass the cost of the telescope itself. However, experienced users often emphasize that the investment in premium eyepieces is well worth it. Let's address some common questions and concerns raised in the forums:

1. Eye Relief and Comfort

Many users, even those who don't wear glasses, prefer eyepieces with long eye relief for a comfortable viewing experience. Premium options like the Tele Vue Delos and Pentax SMC XW lines offer extended eye relief, ensuring that observing sessions are enjoyable and fatigue-free.

2. 1.25" vs. 2" Eyepieces

The cost of 2-inch eyepieces may raise questions about their superiority over 1.25-inch counterparts. While 2-inch eyepieces can offer a larger true field of view, their necessity depends on personal preferences and the specific objects you plan to observe.

3. Choosing Focal Lengths for Diverse Observations

To limit your eyepiece count to three (plus the 2x barlow), it's crucial to select focal lengths that cover a wide range of celestial objects. Recommendations include a well-corrected 2-inch widefield eyepiece (e.g., APM 30mm UFF), a 1.25-inch eyepiece in the 16-18mm range, and another in the 10-13mm range.

4. The Ultimate Selection: If Money Were No Object

For those seeking the pinnacle of eyepiece quality regardless of cost, options like Tele Vue Ethos, Nikon HW, Takahashi UW, or the Leica zoom are mentioned. These premium choices deliver unparalleled performance but come with a substantial price tag.

5. Balancing Performance and Budget

Acknowledging that budget constraints exist, the forums provide alternatives that deliver nearly as good results for less money. Options like APM/Lunt XWA series, TV Naglers, Meade/ES UWA, Morpheus, and more are discussed as cost-effective yet high-performance alternatives.

Zooming In on Zoom Eyepieces

Zoom eyepieces emerge as a versatile solution, effectively replacing a range of fixed focal length eyepieces. The Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom is highlighted as a popular choice, offering flexibility in magnification without the need for constant eyepiece changes.

Real-World Experiences: Users' Eyepiece Setups

Drawing from the experiences shared on the forums, users provide insights into their own eyepiece setups for 8-inch Dobsonians:

- Low Power Wide View

  • Recommendation: A 2-inch eyepiece with a focal length around 27mm, such as the 27mm Panoptic or ES 28mm 68-degree, is suggested. This provides a wide true field of view, ideal for low-power observations.

- Medium Power

  • Recommendation: For medium power, the ES 11mm 82-degree or a used Tele Vue 11mm Nagler type 6 is recommended. These eyepieces strike a balance between magnification and field of view.

- High Power

  • Strategy: Utilizing a quality Barlow lens with a high-power eyepiece like the Tele Vue 11mm provides the necessary magnification for detailed observations of planets and other celestial objects.

Approach to Eyepiece Selection

A user outlines a strategic approach to building an eyepiece collection:

  • Low Power: Opt for one or two low-power wide-view eyepieces for expansive views.
  • Medium Power: Include one or two midrange eyepieces for detailed observations.
  • High Power: Select two to four high-power eyepieces to explore celestial objects in greater detail.
  • Zoom Eyepiece: Consider the versatility of a zoom eyepiece, such as the Baader Hyperion 8-24mm, for flexible magnification.

Considering Light Pollution and Eye Relief

Forum discussions also touch upon factors such as light pollution and eye relief. Depending on your observing location, the choice of eyepieces may vary. For those under light-polluted skies, eyepieces like the Explore Scientific 82° 30mm are recommended for a 6mm exit pupil and a 2° field of view.

Concerns about eye relief are addressed by emphasizing eyepiece lines like the Meade UWA (82 degrees) and Explore Scientific 24mm 68 degrees, known for their comfortable eye relief and optical quality. The balance between eye relief, field of view, and cost plays a significant role in selecting the right eyepieces for your telescope.

Addressing Specific Concerns

Users discuss additional considerations, such as light pollution's impact on eyepiece selection and the importance of eye relief, particularly for individuals who don't wear glasses.

  1. Suggestions for Eyepieces:
    • Wide-Field Eyepiece: Many recommend a 24mm 68° or 82° eyepiece for a good start. This would be suitable for observing larger deep-sky objects and provides a comfortable viewing experience.
    • Mid-Range Eyepiece: An eyepiece in the range of 12mm with a wider field (68°-82°) is suggested for general deep-sky observation and planetary viewing.
    • Higher Magnification Eyepiece: Consider an 8mm widefield eyepiece for planetary observation and getting closer views of smaller deep-sky objects.
  2. Specific Recommendations:
    • Explore Scientific 82° Series: The 11mm or 8.8mm is suggested for higher magnification with comfort. These eyepieces are known for sharpness, high transmission, and great contrast.
    • TeleVue Ethos Series: If budget allows, the 4.7mm, 8mm, 13mm, 21mm Ethos eyepieces are highly regarded for their large, well-corrected field of view.
  3. Consider a Zoom Eyepiece: A zoom eyepiece like the Baader Hyperion Zoom (8-24mm) provides flexibility in choosing magnifications without changing eyepieces.
  4. Barlow Options: A 2X Barlow can effectively double the magnification of your existing eyepieces. Some recommend a dual 1.5x/2x Barlow for added flexibility.
  5. Eyepiece Upgrade Path: Start with a few key eyepieces and gradually expand your collection based on your preferences and observations.
  6. Considerations: Factors like eye relief, apparent field of view, and cost should be taken into account. Additionally, try to attend local star parties or connect with other astronomers to test different eyepieces before making a purchase.
Remember that the best eyepiece for you depends on your observing preferences and budget. It might be beneficial to start with a couple of eyepieces and then expand your collection as you gain more experience and identify your specific needs.