Within the world of Telescopic Eyepieces, there is one name that stands
tall on a pedestal of quality, it is the manufacturer of choice not
just for planetary and lunar viewing but Deep sky observation as well.
It is this versatility within the ranges of TV’s available eyepieces as
well as a commitment to quality and finish that have got Televue to
where they are today, and if they keep producing EP’s like this 11mm
Plossl I will certainly keep on coming back for more. I do already own an extensive range of TV’s but within my collection there are a few eyepieces that shine above the rest. One such example
being the 11mm Plossl.
Let’s start with the look of the thing. It’s a rather diminutive 2 and a half inches long and has the company name as well as the focal length printed in vibrant green on the side. Two black dust caps cover either end with the word Televue embossed on the lower dust cap. Of course none of these facts affect the performance of the eyepiece but they do give it a stylish quality that will look great amongst your collection.
The eyepiece comes in a small black box with a rough texture, Inside is
a shiny silver card with the company logo and brand name printed on it,
I can see no use for it except as a sort of a badge, to kind of welcome
you into the exclusive club of Televue owners.
Now swiftly onto the important part, what I saw through it and how it
compared to other EP’s of similar focal length I’ve tried, before finally getting onto the technical stuff which while unfortunately not exactly exciting it is vital stuff you will need to know if you’re considering purchasing this EP.
This EP fills a niche for me, it provides a good transition from low power planetary viewing to higher power DSO viewing (Deep space objects). Now just a little bit of geekiness as I’m afraid it’s unavoidable, the telescope I generally use the EP with has a focal length of 1500mm, with this 11mm eyepiece that gives me a magnification of 136x. This makes Saturn appear about the same size as a ball bearing held at arms length (as a very rough approximation, about 6mm in diameter).
With this EP I was able to see not only the two equatorial bands I’m used to seeing in Saturn, but faint hints of the southern polar region as well, I could even make out slight differences in hue on the planets surface, a fantastic view.
Unfortunately Saturn is the only planet that’s in a good enough position to observe at the moment, so wwith that I went on to my last target in the solar system, our closest neighbour…the moon.
With the moon being approximately half a degree in diameter this EP frames it beautifully. The whole moon is visible in your FOV, the moon is perhaps the best target to showcase Televue’s excellently defined contrast, a feature thats noted throughout their extensive range. Along the terminator (the boundary between light and shadow on the moon) I could pick out shadowed craters, and rough rills on the satellites surface. Along the terminator is the best place to observe the moon, it’s where you can achieve the most detailed views. A wonderful view, one of the most pleasing I have had to date, My favourite crater
Tycho near the moons southern pole was so detailed. Leaving the solar system behind for Deep Space I tried the EP on three distinct types of object. Firstly….
Planetary Nebula: These are stars who in reaching the end of their lives have thrown out the outer shells of gas in their violent death throes. The gases usually form spectacular and intricate shapes corresponding to the stars magnetic differing fields.
The first PN I turned my sights on was Ngc 6543 or the Cats eye nebula, under higher magnification the nebula displays a wealth of detail, on any usual PN with a magnification of 136x not a huge amount of detail would be present, but the cats eye is monster of a nebula, it takes up a whopping 5 arc minutes and 48 arcsecond of sky (or to put it another way around 8 times the size of jupiter). From my light polluted skies only the inner core was visible, significantly smaller than 5 odd arcminutes, but still visible. A crisp PN, the EP was able to resolve small details within the shell but I think this particular
magnification is not enough for planetary nebulae. I then went onto a PN I know well, M57. It appears as a nice round ring of smoke. With the 11mm TV the nebula looked magnificent, a slight darkening towards the centre of the nebula but unfortunately no sign of the central star. A very sharp view the nebula stuck out like a sore thumb. In summary, not quite enough magnification to really open up planetary nebs, but some nice low power views achieved.
Galaxies: Next up the search for some faint fuzzies to see what this EP can really do. First up was m64 or the black eye galaxy nearly popped out of the eyepiece. It’s core was easily spotted with it’s outer halo just on the limits of averted vision. To put it into context, this was the absolute best view of m64 I have ever had. It’s times like this that I wish I lived under darker skies but alas.
I then toured the Virgo Super cluster, a large area of sky that is absolutely teaming with galaxies. M87 which is a galaxy with the most amount of star forming material yet discovered (around a trillion suns worth) was next on my list. The galaxy had a bright center and a fainter halo. I viewed about 10 NGC galaxies as well as a handful of Messier objects, so to summise the TV 11mm worked extremely well on all of them, allowing me to go deeper and fainter than I had been before. Not the very best EP out there for galaxies but certainly on up there with the best.
Globular Clusters: Finally I turned this EP onto some of my favourite Globular Clusters. A GC is a densely packed ball of stars that can contain from a few thousand to a few million stars packed into a relatively small area of sky.
One of the brightest GCs in the northern hemisphere is the great cluster in Hercules, m13. I had a feeling Globulars would be where this eyepiece really shone out and I was right. Despite it’s rather dense core the EP allowed me to resolve individual stars right down to the core, simply amazing. Likewise with M5, M5 has a much denser core than most other northern Globulars and yet I was able to see perfectly defined stars to about three quarters of the way into the centre of the glob. In short GC’s are definitely a strong point with this eyepiece. Now that I’ve described the EP on performance, I’m afraid it’s time to
get nerdy. This is the technical part I warned you about.
These Plossls feature a 4 element design to cut down on light scatter, and it does indeed accomplish this, almost none noticed on even the brightest objects. The glass is multi coated, on turning the EP to the light you can see that the coatings are evenly distributed with no patchiness . The true field of view is 50 degrees, which is amongst the smallest of my entire EP collection, while it can be a little annoying you do get used to it. On my f5 telescope the exit pupil is 2.2mm so right on the golden spot. The eye relief is 8mm, so a little close, but there are a lot tighter EP’s out there. The effective field stop
diameter is 9.1mm, not unusual for this focal length, again it falls into a mid range in this respect, there are higher and lower field stops for similar focal lengths, it comes down to whether you have the cash to splash out on a ultra wide eyepiece or not. Speaking of cash, it’s time to be bought down to earth with a bump, the Eyepiece costs around £70 so it’s not the cheapest Plossl out there, I personally would say it’s worth every penny though.