Omegon Panorama II eye­pieces

A smart set of lenses that open up the sky into glo­ri­ous widescreen

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS: STEVE RICHARDS

For any­one used to us­ing a typ­i­cal Plössl eye­piece, the ul­tra-wide field of vi­sion of­fered by these Omegon Panorama II eye­pieces will open up a whole new ob­serv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Rather than the feel­ing that you’re ob­serv­ing through a tube, you’ll be able to soak up the de­tail across a far wider ex­panse of sky.

Omegon’s new eye­piece col­lec­tion com­prises oc­u­lars with fo­cal lengths of 5mm, 10mm, 15mm and 21mm, giv­ing them a wide range of uses. As with other eye­piece col­lec­tions, the shorter fo­cal lengths are most suit­able for ob­serv­ing So­lar Sys­tem ob­jects and gal­ax­ies while the longer fo­cal lengths are more suited to open clus­ters and ex­tended ne­bu­lae. How­ever, that’s not a rule writ­ten in stone and there’s plenty of plea­sure to be found in ob­serv­ing gal­ax­ies in their nat­u­ral habi­tat in a wide-field con­text, just as there’s al­ways some­thing mag­i­cal about ob­serv­ing the whole of a quar­ter Moon iso­lated in space.

The col­lec­tion is neatly di­vided into two styles of eye­piece: 2-inch bar­rels for the 21mm and 15mm ver­sions and 1.25-inch bar­rels for the 10mm and 5mm. This means that your tele­scope will need a 2-inch eye­piece holder and a 1.25-inch eye­piece adap­tor to ac­com­mo­date both ver­sions. There are un­der­cuts in both bar­rel types. As the true field of view in­creases, there comes a point where the field stop of a 1.25-inch eye­piece be­comes the lim­it­ing fac­tor in the width of view that is pos­si­ble. A 2-inch eye­piece over­comes this lim­i­ta­tion as the di­am­e­ter of its field top is larger than that of a 1.25-inch eye­piece.

What’s in the box?

The Omegon Panorama IIs are sup­plied in a sub­stan­tial retail box and beau­ti­fully fin­ished in gloss black with two red stripes looping them. Two rub­ber grips give han­dling con­fi­dence even when you’re wear­ing gloves. Dust cov­ers are in­cluded for both ends of each eye­piece and there’s a mi­crofi­bre cloth for clean­ing the lenses. The dust caps for the eye lenses are ta­pered which made them a pain to pick up. Weigh­ing from 322gm to 709gm, the eye­pieces have a sat­is­fy­ing heft to them.

The 21mm and 15mm pair are par­fo­cal as are the 10mm and 5mm pair, but you need to rack the

fo­cus in by an ex­tra 10mm when mov­ing from the 2-inch to 1.25-inch eye­pieces.

We tested the eye­pieces in two of our re­frac­tors, a Wil­liams Op­tics FLT 98 and a Me­grez 72FD ob­serv­ing a range of ob­jects. Even with the rub­ber eye cups folded up we found eye place­ment a lit­tle tricky at first but soon got into the swing of it and with close scru­tiny we were able to see the whole field of view, al­though the field stop was not par­tic­u­larly dis­tinct. With the gen­er­ous eye re­lief of the 10mm, 15mm and 21mm lenses we could just see the field edge when wear­ing spec­ta­cles with the rub­ber eye cup in the folded-down po­si­tion but strug­gled to do the same with the 5mm eye­piece.

We en­joyed some won­der­ful views of the Moon and one clear night co­in­cided with the ap­pear­ance of the Lu­nar X and Lu­nar V that stood out stun­ningly us­ing all four eye­pieces. Our most mem­o­rable lu­nar ob­ser­va­tions were the sub­lime views that we achieved us­ing the 5mm eye­piece to take in the Montes Apen­ni­nus fol­lowed by Huy­gen’s Sword (Ru­pes Recta).

We trained the 21mm and 15mm eye­pieces on the Pleiades star clus­ter and were re­warded with a sparkling, sharp view through both. Mov­ing to M42, we used the 5mm eye­piece to look deep into the Trapez­ium re­gion and also en­joyed some won­der­ful views of the ten­drils of neb­u­los­ity that sur­round this area us­ing the 10mm eye­piece.

On 23 Fe­bru­ary, the Moon was close to Alde­baran

and this al­lowed us to star-test the eye­pieces un­der harsh ob­serv­ing con­di­tions. We found that good star shapes ex­tended to at least 90 per cent of the field of view and ex­tra­ne­ous light from the close-by Moon was barely ap­par­ent.

We re­ally en­joyed us­ing these eye­pieces and heartily rec­om­mend them to in­ter­me­di­ate and more ex­pe­ri­enced ob­servers.

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