Having multiple eyepieces at your telescope is great. You can swap between different magnifications to get different views of the Moon, planets and deep sky objects, but you have to think about where you are going to safely place the unused eyepieces, and then have to identify the next eyepiece you want to use in the dark with a red light torch and then swap the existing eyepiece in use with the new one.
Baader Planetarium offer a different way of changing eyepieces in the form of their Q-Turret eyepiece revolver accessory. Select up to four 1.25″ eyepieces you want to use, place them in the Q-turrets eyepiece holders, insert the nosepiece of the turret into your focuser drawtube and then rotate which eyepiece you want into the telescope’s light path. Its that simple. We covered the Q-Turret unit in an earlier blog which you can find here.
In addition to the Q-Turret itself, Baader also offer the Q-Turret in a package along with four high quality 1.25″ 6mm, 10mm, 18mm classic Orthoscopic (Ortho) eyepieces, a 32mm classic Plossl eyepiece, a 2.25x barlow lens and their Astro (storage) Box #1. For Lunar and planetary viewing, Orthoscopic eyepieces are often the eyepiece of choice for many observers with their very high image quality and sharpness.
The Baader Ortho eyepieces use the same glass and triplet element-plus-one plano-convex eye lens optical design as the Orthoscopic eyepieces that were produced by Zeiss Jena – a good sign of high quality! In fact the Q-Turret and eyepiece set was reviewed by Sky and Telescope in their October 2013 issue and was selected as one of their Hot Products for 2014! The 6mm, 10mm and 18mm eyepieces have a 52° apparent field of view with the 32mm Plossl having slightly less at 50°, and all of the range are parfocal. Each lens also features sharp field stops, HT-MC (High-Transmission Multi-Coatings) on all the glass-to-air surfaces for maximum light throughput and the eyepiece bodies have blackened interiors for stray light suppression and maximum contrast images. All four eyepieces also come with winged eyecups which are ideal to help keep stray light out when viewing.
The Q-Barlow is an “interesting” barlow! It gives a 2.25x amplification, which a little more than the commonly available (2x) barlows, making it useful for “getting that little bit closer” to the Moon and planets. It can be used in the “normal” fashion by inserting it into a focuser drawtube, followed by an eyepiece. However, the cell containing the barlow lens can be easily separated from the main barlow (tube) body, and screwed directly into the nosepiece of the Q-Turret. This means all the eyepieces in the Q-Turret will benefit from the 2.25x amplification and will result in the following focal lengths (of the supplied Ortho/Plossl eyepieces): 2.7mm, 4.5mm, 8mm and 14mm.
Furthermore, you can also screw the Q-barlow lens cell directly into a large number of accessories using a 1.25″ barrel with M28.5 filter thread. If you use this with an eyepiece it will increase the eyepiece’s focal length by 1.3x. Additionally, you can also screw the barlow lens cell into the nosepiece of a 1.25″ imaging camera (e.g. Celestron Skyris) which will also result in an amplification factor of 1.3x when fully inserted with a full un- vignetted image circle of 13mm.
The Q-Turret, set of four eyepieces and the barlow lens are all supplied in Baader’s Astro-Box #1 – ideal for safely transporting and storing these accessories. The box is made of aluminium, has internal foam insert, features a window (so you can see whats inside) and an nice image of the Andromeda Galaxy adorning its lid.