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I am new to Astronomy. My husband bought a Skyways 50080 for me for my birthday. It's an f=500mm refractor made by Slokey. The 80mm aperture makes it a fast f/6.25.

It came with three eyepieces; 25, 10 and 6 mm, and a 3x Barlow lens.

I can see the moon very clearly, however I can't see Mars very well. I use the 10 mm eyepiece when viewing the planets, I am not sure if this is too high a magnification or not.

Which eyepieces should I be using to see the planets with this type of telescope? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ In addition to planets you may enjoy seeing some nebula as well. As fall approaches Orion will rise at a more convenient time. You can read about occultations, see craters on the dark parts of the Moon (as well as the bright side) lots of stars in the Milky Way, and depending on your latitude the Andromeda galaxy or the Magellanic Clouds. Keep your eye on the news for comets, and starting in the winter you can look into seeing these: When will the next series of mutual eclipses of Jupiter's moons begin? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 5 '20 at 11:14
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General guidance seems to be to use a magnification of 30 to 50 times the diameter in inches of your telescope's aperture. An aperture of 80mm is just over 3", so we are looking at magnifications of 90x to 150x.

Your telescope has a focal length of 500mm without the Barlow lens, and 1500mm with the Barlow lens. Since magnification is simply the focal length of the telescope divided by the focal length of the eyepiece, we can see that using the 6mm eyepiece without the Barlow lens will give you a magnification of 83x, and using the 10mm lens with the Barlow will give you a magnification of 150x.

Using a Barlow lens will increase the magnification, but it will also reduce the image quality and also the effective aperture, so the image will not be as bright and contrasty. I would suggest forgetting about the Barlow lens (at least initially), and just work your way up from the 25mm eyepiece to the 6mm. There is no point in using the 25mm eyepiece with the Barlow, since that will only give you 60x magnification, and trying to use the 6mm eyepiece with the Barlow is likely to prove frustrating, if not unworkable.

If you enjoy using your telescope, maybe treat yourself to a 3mm eyepiece, so you can get 167x magnification without the Barlow, but read up on telescope lenses (especially "eye relief"), first. Don't just buy the first lens that you find on eBay.

How to See Mars in 2020

Which lens and magnification is best to see planets?

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