Having multiple eyepieces at your telescope means you can swap between them to get different (more or less magnified) views of the Moon, planets and deep sky objects. However you have to think about where you are going to safely place the eyepieces when not in use. You also have to identify the eyepiece you want to use in the dark with a red light torch, and then swap the existing eyepiece out of the focuser with the new one you want to use. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a device that holds multiple eyepieces so switching between them is so much easier and more convenient?
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-turret’s 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.
The Q-Turret is not a bulky accessory. It is quite compact and fits nicely in the palm of your hand as can be seen below.
In terms of optical path length, the Q-turret is not very wide and adds only ~38mm to the path length (i.e. moves the eyepiece out by this amount) so can be used in a wide range of telescopes.
To keep overall weight down the turret is made of strong durable plastic and as a result only adds just over 90g (on its own) to the telescope. The example set up below consists of the Q-turret along with a Celestron’s 40mm E-Lux, 13mm Plossl and Skyris camera as well as a Baader Genuine Orthoscopic eyepiece. The overall weight of the eyepiece/cameras set up shown comes in at just under 520g.
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 its 1.25″ barrel with M28.5 filter thread. If you use the barlow in this fashion 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.
The Q-Turret and the Q-Turret Eyepiece & Barlow package is available from your authorised Baader astronomy retailer.