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Unboxing the Edmund 28mm RKE

February 17, 2017

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Look what came in the mail today.

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Something small, in a gold box.

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An eyepiece wrapped in paper, and a rubber eyeguard.

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And here they are.

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That is a big honkin’ eye lens. And that’s why I got this eyepiece. The 28mm RKE from Edmund is legendary for its “floating stars” effect where the big eye lens, the sharply raked barrel, and the long eye relief combine to create the impression that the eyepiece has disappeared and the image is simply floating in space. I’ve never experienced this, because I’ve never gotten to look through one of these before. But the reputation of this eyepiece, illustrated by several glowing threads on Cloudy Nights (like the ones that follow), was enough to convince me to take the plunge:

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It didn’t come with a case, so I made my own out of an old prescription pill bottle. A little bubble wrap stuffed in the bottom and taped inside the lid, and I’ve got a nice padded case for free.

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And I need that case, because the new gear curse is in full effect. How does this eyepiece work in practice? No idea yet – with any luck, I might find out next Wednesday, when the clouds are finally supposed to part. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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5 comments

  1. That is a nice eyepiece. I’ve had one for many years. It came with my Astroscan back in the 80s. I look forward to reading your review.


  2. Count me among those eager to see if the legend lives up to the promise.

    Doug


  3. Matt,

    The RKE set with the 2.5x Barlow were my primary eyepieces from the mid 80s until the late 90s. The 28 RKE was a cool eyepiece for reasons I can’t quite quantify, possibly that floating effect.

    Another cool vintage eyepiece, IMO, is the old Meade 20mm RG Wide Field. Even though I have an eyepiece box full of Televue eyepieces, I still like that old war horse. Last night, on a rare clear February night in NW Pennsylvania, I used it in my Skywatcher 100 Pro ED refractor from a Bortle 4 site. At f/9, this little eyepiece still has the stuff. No, I can’t say it was better than my 20 Nagler T-6, but it was fun for some reason that I can’t quantify.

    John O’Hara
    Oil City, PA


  4. Thanks for the recommendation, John. It’s funny how certain pieces of gear have an appeal that is difficult to quantify, but nevertheless real. It seems like a lot of the older Wide Fields from TeleVue, Meade, and others, often with no other ‘line’ name beyond ‘Wide Field’, still have devotees despite all of the technical advancements since they first came out.

    I haven’t blogged much about the Bresser AR102S Comet Edition lately, mostly because I’m waiting for clear dark skies where I can really put it through its paces. But I have seen enough that I am very, very curious about how the 28mm RKE will play with that scope. At 4″ and f/4.5, the Bresser is slightly more forgiving than the AstroScan that the RKEs originally shipped with. Will be an interesting test for sure. I’ll keep you all posted.


  5. […] Still cloudy here, but we got a gap earlier this evening, a persistent sucker hole right over Orion, and I got a whole 10 minutes of observing in. I was using the Bresser AR102S Comet Edition and for eyepieces the 20mm 70-degree that came with it, and my new 28mm RKE from Edmund. […]



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