Pentax 14mm XW Eyepiece and 10mm

Here is my review of the Pentax 14mm XW and the 10mm XW. I did not pull the 10mm out because I left it with my new eyepiece case down at our cabin with the 20" Obsession we own now. It will be home tonight though as a friend is bringing that case back up. It has my digital also with my pictures of the cabin and the observatory but I'm not sure if I'll post pictures of that up, or just the scope.

I was very excited to get the 14mm and the 10mm Pentax XW. The 10mm Pentax has a clear, sharp field and all the stars are pinpoint from center to the edge. Its 70 degree FOV is just perfect for my taste, having cut my teeth with the 68 degree Stratus line. I suffer from astigmatism so I usually wear my glasses while observing and I went with this line because of the wonderful 20mm eye relief. The eyepiece comes with a bolt case to hold it, and caps to protect both ends of the eye piece. In today's world, 70 degrees may not seem like much anymore, but I never felt cramped in my views and I do feel fully saturated while looking in the EP. It also has an adjustable eye-cup. No complaints from me, and if you wear glasses while observing, and want a top end EP, the Pentax XW series are for you. The 10mm has no curvature that I could detect or others who have viewed through it. The 14mm has some field curvature. The 10mm worked perfectly with no paracorr needed in either the F5 20" Obsession or the f4.6 Orion XX14i.

I have an image of this EP so I'll post it. The Pentax 14mm XW eyepiece is also a wonderful eyepiece. The build on both is rock solid and it has the same features of the 10mm. This eyepiece does have some field curvature here, viewable looking at the moon or at a planet as it transits across the FOV, but not enough to honestly bother me. I've read of others not liking the 14mm and either returning it or selling it. I love the eye relief here and for DSO's it is a keeper (which is the majority of my viewing). It works well with a Paracorr which eliminates the curvature. I may just keep the Meade 28mm that I got and be done. We'll see. By the way, both the 10mm and the 14mm barlow quite well and I enjoyed their views.

I know many compare the Televue's to the Pentax and the Meade's, but since I own a Stratus 13mm I thought I would compare Apples to Oranges here.

Why am I doing this comparison some may ask? I guess it goes back to a fundamental philosophy that the Pentax broke in me, that I don't think you have to spend huge dollars to be involved in this hobby and be satisfied. The 13mm Stratus in my Orion XX14i provides a magnification of 123x at 68 degrees FOV in my XX14i, while the 14mm Pentax provides a 114x at 70 degrees FOV. The Pentax in terms of contrast, field of view and holding the image wins hands down. The 13mm Stratus has about 25% coma and though not too bad, it does impact the view. For now I am keeping my Stratus and I'll be using it at Star Parties, perhaps. I may end up selling them, though right now I am leaning to keeping a couple for outreach. The bottom line in my opinion is this. The Stratus/Hyperion's give an okay view for $100.00. Does it equal the $300.00 Pentax EP's? No, absolutely no way. I've used the Stratus for 2 years now and have enjoyed them, and still use some of them. They are an alternative to owning to the more expensive EP's but they fail to compete head to head with the Pentax. Are they perfect? Nope. Are there better EP's that provide a wider FOV like the Meade UWA or SWA? Yes, and if I had had more experience I probably would have gone with the Meade EP's but I didn't and the Stratus/Hyperion's fill a niche and that is where the should fit in. For a new beginner, I really recommend the Meade first, then the Hyperion/Stratus. I will be keeping a couple of the five I have in my eyepiece case. Remember, you can get three of them or two Meade's for the price of one Pentax. A last thought? If you buy premium, you'll keep the premium longer and use them more. If not, you can sell most premium's off for a close used price to what you paid for them new. I'm glad I went with the Pentax XW's and they work for me.

Red Light, Night Vision and does it matter.

Not sure if I have posted this before, but Alice over at Alice's Astro Info has a wonderful article on Red Light and night vision. I recommend you head over and take a look. Basically she uses both primary and secondary sources (a few from the web so be careful) but the one from the U.S. Navy is quite interesting. She has links to her sources which helps immensely in following up with them. What does Alice find from going through these studies?

That red light is the best color to use. Specifically she states that it is the "rich ruby-red, not so much an orangey-red or pinky-red" that is the best. Also, that "you always need to be using the dimmest possible light to keep your night vision" and finally, that she, Alice, will "also probably only use them(her two red light sources) when I’m digging in my telescope bag or checking the site of my telescope set up to make sure I haven’t left anything behind. Don’t forget – humans have pretty good night vision – use it." Don't be afraid to get dark adapted and to use it . . . sometimes you just may not need a light to see that star chart, are only a very faint one at that. I recommend checking out Alice's site, especially if your in the Seattle area. She lists some good areas to view from up there. Also check out her table of contents, some decent articles are in there also. More to come shortly.