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9.5mm Apogee Super Easy View

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Date: NA
Price: $125.00
Design: 5 element Orthoscopic type design
Description: Large field (50 degree) advanced Orthoscpic design employing multi coatings and high quality glasses.

Review

When most of us think of eyepieces the brands that jump to mind are those such as Edmund, Meade or TeleView. These and several other companies make quality products that will enhance your valued time at the eyepiece holder of your scope. For several years I have been looking for just the "right one", an eyepiece in the 9-12mm focal length. Originally I had a 10.5 TeleView Plossl. It was fine optically but suffered from poor eye relief. Then I obtained a 9mm Nagler, a very impressive beast that had good eye relief and a huge field. Unfortunately it weighed so much it threw my scope out of balance so I sold it at a StarFest swap shop two years ago. In January, 2000 I decided I absolutely had to have an eyepiece to use on the planets when the 16mm was not enough power and the 7mm was too much. After checking the catalogues and astro mag reviews it seemed nothing commercially available would fit my criteria for light weight, good eye relief, excellent performance and not be priced out of this world.

I phoned Bill Vorce at the Telescope Warehouse to see if he had any good suggestions. He raved about the Super Easy View line. I had seen a couple of endorsements on this product from noted planet photographer Don Parker who calls them "Simply the best". $125 was a little more than I wanted to spend but Bill Vorce was so enthusiastic that he convinced me to get one.

The eyepiece arrived in a few days. The first thing I noticed was the shape: it has a concave barrel that houses the optics instead of the traditional cylindrical shape. It appeared to be well made although the rubber lens cap fit too loose. The coatings showed a deep purple tint. The eye lens was the same diameter as my 16mm Konig II! It appeared to have excellent eye relief. I immediately started using the lens with my 8-in f/6 dobsonian reflector on Jupiter and Saturn. The images were more contrasty than expected. The planets were crisp with subtle details showing on their discs better than expected. The field stars and the moons of the gas giants had a "tighter" appearance. Next I swung the scope over to the Orion Nebula. Wow! The contrast in the clouds of gas was spectacular. Then I noticed something a little out of the norm: there were two extra stars in the Trapezium! I had never seen the fith and sixth stars with an 8-inch scope from the light polluted suburbs of Johnson City, TN. Plopping in the 7mm Nagler I could barely see the fifth star and the 6th was all but invisible. These stars didn't show at all with the 16mm Konig. All in all, a very impressive performance. So much so that I called Sheldon Faworski, one of the owners of Apogee, and "interviewed" him about the Super Easy Views.

Sheldon said the design evolved 5 or 6 years ago through basic trial and error. It is a 5 lens system, similar to an orthoscopic that also includes a negative meniscus transfer lens. His goal was to produce an extremely high contrast image using special glass to reduce light scattering. The eyepiece has an apparrent field of 50 degrees. The field could be made larger but at the expense of eye relief. There are three focal lengths currently available in the series: 3.6, 5.5 and 9.5mm. As to the rather unorthodox shape of the barrel Sheldon said "It seemed natural to have a shape that was easy to grasp with a thumb on one side and two fingers on the other". Apogee has a winner here. If the other eyepieces in this line are as good as the 9.5 then here is an excellent source for higher power occulars for those nights of exceptional seeing.

Terry has been heavily involved in amateur astronomy for 20 years and currently resides in Johnson City, TN. Terry is no stranger to 'do it yourself' astronomy projects and is featured in Phil Harrington's excellent Star Ware book for his "tablecase" design (as is a picture of Terry). He currently owns a Tele Vue Ranger, a C102f, a SkyWatcher 120 and a heavily modified Celestron 8" Starhopper with both refractors riding on homemade wooden tripods. He admits to having a bias for scopes and accessories that perform up to his expectations while still being affordable and portable. - Allister St. Claire - Webmaster of Cloudy Nights - www.cloudynights.com

Submitted by Terry Alford - terryalford@prodigy.net

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