Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
defines a paradigm as "an example, pattern, an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype.” And so it is with the new Astro-Tech Paradigm Dual ED eyepieces. They establish a whole new pattern of eyepiece design, a design whose performance advantages are indeed “outstandingly clear.”
The new Astro-Tech Paradigm Dual ED lens eyepieces use a six-lens optical system with two ED elements in a design available for the first time in the United States. The Paradigm Dual ED eyepieces are not simply a repackaging under a different brand name of an existing ED eyepiece line (some of which have been on the market for over 15 years), as is often the case with the “new” eyepiece designs of other manufacturers. Instead, the Paradigm Dual ED optical design is truly totally new, and unique to the Astro-Tech Paradigm eyepieces. The six lens/four group optical layout can be seen in schematic to the right.
Each Paradigm uses two separate ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements of different glass types in its optical system to provide exceptional color fidelity (with vanishingly low levels of chromatic aberration) so that the true color differences between binary star pairs and planetary surface details are easily visible. Their 60° field of view is very flat, particularly with telescopes f/5 and above in focal ratio. They are uniformly sharp edge-to-edge, with markedly low astigmatism. Barrel distortion is essentially non-existent, eliminating the annoying “goldfish bowl” distortion of the image seen in some eyepieces when panning across a star field.
Each air-to-glass surface in a Paradigm eyepiece is fully multicoated for high light transmission and exceptional contrast. The high contrast makes them a good choice for splitting close binary stars, for examining low contrast lunar and planetary detail, and for ferreting out small and faint planetary nebulas against a truly dark sky background. The lens edges are blackened to eliminate internal reflections and further improve contrast.
Their chrome barrels are threaded for standard 1.25” filters, and a shallow safety groove is machined into each barrel. This groove engages the thumbscrew or compression ring of your focuser or star diagonal to prevent the eyepiece from falling should the thumbscrew loosen accidentally during use. The Paradigms are parfocal, minimizing the amount of refocusing needed when switching from a low power eyepiece to a higher power within the series.
Their very well-made and substantial bodies are clad in shock-absorbing rubber, with nine scalloped grooves around the circumference to provide a secure grip in all temperatures. The soft rubber eyecup incorporates an internal twist-up design that lets you smoothly raise and lower the Paradigm eyecup to precisely match the eye relief to your eyesight. The eye lenses are large in diameter, making it easy to comfortably center your eye on the exit pupil. At 13mm to 15mm, the usable eye relief allows for comfortable eyeglass use,
These newly-designed (and available in the United States for the first time) Astro-Tech Paradigm Dual ED eyepieces will make you rethink your expectations about how much sheer eyepiece excellence you can get for such a reasonable price.
The following unsolicited email comments are from Carlos Hernandez, an experienced lunar and planetary observer. Two of the eyepieces sketches he made of Saturn during the observing session described below can be found in the feature images sections of the 8mm and 12mm Paradigm eyepiece descriptions.
“I have been observing the Moon and planets for over forty years and regularly contribute to Cloudy Nights (especially the Sketching and Planetary Observing Forums; as CarlosEH). I have had the pleasure of using quality eyepieces such as the Carl Zeiss Jena Orthoscopic, Vernonscope Brandon, Clave Plossl, as well as many other fine designs. The AT Paradigm Dual ED design just blew me away!
”The moment I placed the 12mm in my eyepiece holder I could easily see that the background was very dark. The image of Saturn in the center of the eyepiece field was spectacular! I was treated to an incredible amount of detail over the globe and rings of Saturn. The storm over the North Temperate Zone to North Tropical Zone (NTrZ) was visible at this time and the eyepiece easily brought it out. The North Equatorial Belt (NEB) presented minute detail within with irregular northern and southern borders. The rings (A and B) presented delicate detail with the possibility of spokes visible when the seeing steadied. The Crepe (C) ring was delicate and translucent. This was one of the finest views of the ringed planet that I have enjoyed in some time.
”What also attracted my attention was the fact that the satellites Dione (10.85m) and Tethys (10.69m) were visible close to the planet (globe) but the control of light scatter that the AT Paradigm Dual ED design provided allowed me to easily detect them. Mimas (13.46m) was visible for brief moments when the seeing steadied. Other designs with more light scatter would not have allowed me to see these satellites so easily.”
In a second email, Carlos added, “They are quickly becoming my favorite eyepieces to study the heavens with. Thank you for providing this outstanding high-resolution design for an affordable price.”