The Meade 25mm Plössl CCD framing eyepiece has an illuminated reticle that allows you to precisely frame the field of view of a variety of CCD cameras. The reticle has nested etched frames of varying sizes that precisely match the dimensions of the imaging chips used in several popular CCD cameras.
The smallest red-illuminated frame matches the 2.4mm x 3.3mm dimensions of the Texas Instruments TC-255 CCD imaging chip in the SBIG ST-5/5C CCD camera. The next largest matches the 4.6mm x 6.9mm Kodak KAF-400 chip in the SBIG ST-7. The next largest matches the 6.6mm x 8.7mm Texas Instruments TC-241 chip in the SBIG ST-6, while the largest frame matches the 9.2mm x 13.8 Kodak KAF-1600 chip in the SBIG ST-8. Other cameras use chips of similar size, allowing the framing reticle to be used with a great variety of CCD cameras.
The framing eyepiece has a built-in red LED cordless illuminator. The illuminator has an on/off switch with an integral brightness level control. It uses to 1.5V LR- 44 button-type alkaline camera batteries or their equivalent. Batteries are included with the eyepiece, but are not guaranteed to be charged when received, as the batteries are supplied by an outside vendor and are not covered by the Meade factory warranty. It may be necessary to purchase batteries prior to use.
The eyepiece is a soft turn-down rubber eyecup for eyeglass use. Eye relief is a quite reasonable 15mm eye relief that might vignette a portion of the field for those who wear glasses while observing. It is not a debilitating drawback, as the central reticle boxes usually remain visible with even with glasses on.
The eyepiece comes with a spacer ring with a set screw that lets you precisely match the focus of the eyepiece to the focal plane of your CCD camera. Insert your CCD camera and focus sharply on a star. Then remove the camera and replace it with the eyepiece. Without adjusting the telescope focus, move the eyepiece in and out of the eyepiece holder until the star is as sharp in the eyepiece as it was in the camera. Use the eyepiece holder’s thumbscrew to lock the eyepiece in that position. Then, loosen the setscrew on the spacer ring and slide the ring forward until it is snug against the eyepiece holder and retighten the spacer ring.
From that point on, the eyepiece will be focused at the same point as the surface of the imaging chip in your CCD camera. To use the eyepiece, insert it into your scope until it is once again snug up against the eyepiece holder. Look through the eyepiece and center and frame the deep space object you want to photograph in the eyepiece. Then remove the eyepiece and replace it with your CCD camera positioned in the same orientation. The eyepiece illuminator is precisely positioned at right angles to the center of the short side of the nested Illuminated frames to make it easy to maintain the proper camera orientation. Once the eyepiece holder’s thumbscrew is tightened on the camera’s nosepiece, the camera will be properly focused and deep space object properly framed on the camera’s CCD chip.
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