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High Point Ultimate Planetary Filter & Barlow Kit - UPK
High Point Ultimate Planetary Kit
with Eight 1.25" Planetary Filters & a 2.5X ED Barlow Lens
This summer, millions of people will turn their eyes and telescopes skyward to gaze at Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in all their glory. All three planets reach opposition between the months of May and August, and that means they'll be closer and brighter than any time this year. In fact, Mars, which reaches opposition as well as its closest approach to Earth in late July, will shine brighter than any time since 2003 and won't be as bright again until 2050! Read more about the Summer Planets and How to Enjoy Them.
When our experts decided to put together one kit that could be used to increase the viewing pleasure of the planets, they had two main concerns. The first was the ability for our customers to magnify the planets enough to see as many details as possible on a good night of seeing. Our solution was to provide observers with a good quality 2.5X Barlow lens. This 1.25" Barlow uses ED (extra-low dispersion) glass for the sharpest views and can be used with any 1.25" eyepiece to multiply the power of that eyepiece by 2.5X. Say you have a relatively low-power 25mm eyepiece that produces 80X magnification when inserted into the focuser or diagonal of your telescope. Now, instead of just using the eyepiece alone, let's insert the Barlow into your focuser or diagonal first and follow up with the eyepiece. Instead of viewing Mars at 80X closer, you will magnify the planet by 200X with the simple addition of the High Point ED 2.5X Barlow Lens! Of course, how sharp the planets will look at 200X, or any magnification, will depend on your viewing location and the evening's seeing conditions. Try different eyepiece or eyepiece/Barlow combinations until you have achieved the highest magnification that is still nice and sharp.
High Point has also included seven (7) 1.25" color filters and a neutral density filter for planetary viewing. Planetary filters thread onto the barrel of most any 1.25" eyepiece and will enhance particular features in the planet's surface or cloud structures. Different colors bring out different features; for instance, a #21 Orange Filter will darken the canal markings and maria on the Red Planet, while a blue filter, such as a #80A or 38A, will enhance Martian polar ice caps. Our filters are packed in two plastic cases for protection; each one holds four filters.
You can study each filter's benefits more fully in the information below, but keep in mind as you do that the effectiveness of these filters depends on several factors, including the aperture and focal length of your telescope, the magnification being used, and the seeing conditions at the time. Remember that filters lower the amount of light that reaches your eye. You'll need an aperture of at least 8 inches for dark filters such as the #25 Red, with 14% transmission, or the #38A Blue with 17% transmission. That is why we included a few blue and red/orange filters so you can match the right transmission to your telescope.
#80A Light Blue Filter
This High Point Colored Filter has a Wratten number of #80A, which is Light Blue with a transmission of 30%. A blue filter is useful for observing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, or to enhance the boundaries between the giant planet's reddish belts and their adjacent bright zones. A blue filter is also helpful when studying surface features and polar ice caps on Mars, or to improve Mercury's surface markings at twilight, when the elusive planet is low on the horizon. When observing Saturn, a blue filter will enhance low-contrast features, such as those found between the belts and zones. Checking out a comet? Use one of the blue filters to bring out definition in its gaseous tail.
#82A Pale Blue Filter
This High Point Colored Filter has a Wratten number of #82A, which is Pale Blue with a transmission of 73%. The uses for the #82A filter are the same as the 80A above, but since it offers higher light transmission (73%) the #82A can be used with smaller telescopes.
#38A Dark Blue Filter
The #38A Dark Blue Filter has the lowest light transmission of our three blue filters at 17%. It can be used to enjoy the Great Red Spot on Jupiter or the Polar Ice Caps on Mars in greater detail. Try a blue filter on Saturn to enhance lower contrast features or, when we have our next big comet, to bring out the details in its gas tail.
#8 Light Yellow Filter
This High Point Colored Filter has a Wratten number of #8, which is Light or Pale Yellow with a transmission of 83%. A yellow filter will enhance features on the Moon and Venus, and increase the definition in comet tails. When observing Jupiter and Saturn, you can expect a yellow filter to help you see the orange and reddish features of the belts and zones better and to penetrate and darken the subtle blue tones of the atmospheric currents. Mars will also benefit from a yellow filter in several ways. It will darken the maria, canal markings and oases, and at the same time, lighten the desert regions. A yellow filter will also sharpen the boundaries of Martian dust clouds. If you have a telescope with at least 11" of aperture, you can use a yellow filter to improve detail on both Neptune and Uranus.
#21 Orange Filter
Orange with a transmission of 46%, the #21 filter will improve the view of Jupiter's belt structure as well as its beautiful polar regions and festoons. Saturn can benefit from the Orange #21 Filter with the enhancement of its bands. Finally, an orange filter reduces blue and green light on Mars to enhance and darken the maria, oases, and canals while lightening up the desert regions that are already orangish in color.
#23A Light Red Filter
A 23A Light Red Filter has a light transmission of 25%. This very versatile filter will help with daytime observations of Venus and Mercury by darkening the blue sky. When observing Jupiter and Saturn, you can expect a red filter to help you study clouds that have a bluish hue. Mars will also benefit from a red filter in several ways. It will reduce the light from blue and green areas, which darkens the maria, oases, and canal markings while lightening desert regions that are naturally orange. The 23A filter will also improve the definition of a comet's dust tail.
#25 Red Filter
With a transmission of just 14%, the 25 Red filter is meant for larger telescopes (8" and up). It will reveal the same features that a 23A Light Red filter will, but with more contrast. Even if you have a telescope smaller than 8", give the Red a try on Venus and see how it affects your view of the planet's atmosphere.
ND96 0.9 Neutral Density Filter
Also known as a Moon Filter, this 1.25" thread-on eyepiece accessory will also allow you to observe Venus more easily as well as help visually split double stars. A Neutral Density filter attenuates the light coming through your eyepiece without changing the object's color. Great for any celestial or daytime object that gives off so much light it effects your ability to see fine details.
2.5X ED 1.25" Barlow Lens
As we discussed earlier, the High Point 2.5X Barlow is a great way to amp up your magnification for viewing the planets as well as the Moon and bright, compact deep-sky objects. The three-element design of our Barlow yields APO characteristics for sharper views than Barlows with a lesser optical design. It is nicely machined and has a thoughtful rubber grip on the exterior to help you keep your hands from slipping when you're wearing gloves. To use, insert this Barlow into your focuser or diagonal and follow it up with a lower power eyepiece. You will increase the magnification normally achieved with your eyepiece alone by 2.5X while still maintaining the comfortable eye relief of the eyepiece.
Just remember, how sharp your views are will depend on so many factors, including your location, telescope aperture and focal length, the quality of your eyepieces & other optics, and lastly, the seeing conditions at the time you're observing. Regardless of whether you use an eyepiece or an eyepiece/Barlow combination, it is always wise to start with the lowest power you have available, check to see that you have a sharp view through that eyepiece, and then move up in magnification until you achieve the view you want or the image starts to get fuzzy. If it is blurry or fuzzy at a particular power, go back to the last eyepiece that still provided a sharp view. Some nights you will be able to push your telescope further than others, so experiment a little bit whenever you start an evenings' observations...it's part of the fun!