Funscope / Firstscope and a barlow

Nov 17

Written by:
11/17/2012 6:55 PM  RssIcon

Skywatcher apparently has a rebranded version of these scopes.  Someone on Reddit.com/r/astronomy asked why they were having trouble using a 3x barlow with it.  Apparently, this person couldn't get the telescope to focus using it, and wondered why.  Given the short focal length, it's not a bad idea to be using a barlow with this scope, in order to get sufficient magnification to view planets.  But, I don't have a 3x barlow.  I only own a 2x Shorty barlow and a Meade #140 full length 2x barlow.  So I thought it might at least be helpful to see about trying both of my barlows in my Funscope to see what happened.

I have used a 2.5mm and 3mm eyepiece in these scopes before, and they produce sufficient magnification to see the rings of Saturn and a little detail on Jupiter.  Thing is, a lot of people aren't likely to spend $60 on a Long Eye Relief eyepiece for a $60 or $40 telescope.  But a barlow is also an oft-recommended accessory, that can always be used later, and adds to the magnification of ANY eyepiece set (provided the barrel diameters are the same, of course).

So I tried both barlows, using a 10mm Plossl eyepiece.  The shorty barlow hardly needed any focusing adjustment - a small tweak and "Voila!" - the Moon was again in focus.  I then put the Meade #140 in - it required a bit more back-focus, but only about 1/2" or so, and the Moon focused for me with that one too.

So, experiment settled: The Funscope and Firstscope can use a barlow lens, and still reach focus - provided they are 2x barlows, it would seem.  Still not sure of the problem with a 3x barlow, but it's worth a cautionary note just in case.

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.