8.8mm 82-degree ... amazing EP!
Friday, 8 January 2016 | Kevin
I do like Explore Scientific eyepieces. I’ve been using two 68-degree eyepieces for over a year now (a 16mm and a 24mm), and I love both of them. I got the 8.8 (82-degree) for Xmas 2015 and was very keen to try it out.
The 8.8mm EP just oozes quality from the moment you take it out of the box. Weighing 280g, it feels good in the hand, and isn’t so heavy it unbalances the scope.
My scope is a Skywatcher 250PX, which, at f4.7 is pretty fast, and the 68-degree EPs do suffer from a little distortion around the periphery of the FOV. You do have to look for it, though, and in normal use it’s not noticeable. With the 8.8mm, I saw no distortion at the edges!
The 82-degree FOV is amazing (tFOV is 0.60 in my scope)! On M42, the nebula fills the view (in the 250PX the EP gives x136 magnification), De Mairan’s nebula stood out brighter than I’d ever seen it, and the E & F stars of the Trapezium cluster were clearly visible. This was the first time I’d seen these smaller stars. I did a comparison with the 16 and 24mm EPs, and the 8.8 was streets ahead, in terms of contrast, clarity, visible structure, and the lack of distortion at the edge of the FOV.
Speaking of contrast, it was noticeable how much darker the background sky was in the 8.8, and how much clearer and sharper the stars stood out. On the Owl cluster, for example, the difference was amazing, with the colours of the stars coming through.
Observing galaxies was a revelation. I stared at M82 for ages, watching it drift slowly across the huge FOV without having to nudge the scope to keep up. Not having to move the scope, combined with the contrast and clarity, allowed me to absorb detail I’d never seen before.
The only planet on view on the night was Jupiter, still too low for ideal viewing, and it actually looked much better with lesser magnification in the 16mm.
Lunar observing isn;t really my thing, but, I have to say, I can’t wait to try the 8.8 on the moon. According to Stellarium, the moon should almost (but not quite) fill the FOV at x136 magnification. That’s got to be some sight!
All in all, this is a cracking EP. Great contrast, magnification and clarity, amazing FOV, with no discernible edge distortion. Incredible value for the price.