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Ha Solar Scopes/Solar Filters

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#1 WebFoot

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:20 PM

Hi,

Given the cost of Ha solar filters/solar scopes, I'm not in any hurry to take the plunge. But I would like to do so someday.

As my signature line shows, I own two very fine small refractors. I don't really want to buy a solar scope, but I'm quite confused at the variety of offerings in the way of solar filters for small scopes.

What is a good, reasonably cost-effective way to be able to see things like solar flares through one of my scopes (meaning a proper attachment made for that scope)? I'm not going to spend hours staring at it, day after day, so very expensive just won't make it. But I understand that these things are expensive.

Thanks!

Mark

#2 cptbobrfh

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:28 PM

I suggest the Daystar Quark,chromosphere version,for your small refractors.Check the Daystar filters site for more info.You will really like the Quark.
Bob

#3 DavidM

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 11:58 PM

It does sound like the Quark might be the best bang for your buck, but bear in mind that you would need an additional energy rejection filter for apertures over 80 mm, and you might not quite get the full disk with a 500 mm focal length scope (though that is not really a big issue). Having said that, the setup would be signifcantly cheaper than the other option of a front-mounted filter of similar aperture.



#4 rigel123

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:35 PM

For the cost you might just want to consider the PST or the 50 mm Lunt so you can see both the surface features (flares, filaments, etc) and prominences.  Reading the Daystar website (if I understand it correctly) you buy either or and if you want to look at both then you are in the same price range of a nice sized solar scope.



#5 WebFoot

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 01:39 PM

For the cost you might just want to consider the PST or the 50 mm Lunt so you can see both the surface features (flares, filaments, etc) and prominences.  Reading the Daystar website (if I understand it correctly) you buy either or and if you want to look at both then you are in the same price range of a nice sized solar scope.

Yeah, if I get serious enough to be ready to buy, I have as my first question of them whether the choice is an optimization (meaning that you can see surface detail with the "prominence"  one, but you'll you'll see surface detail better with the surface one), or if it really is all of one and none of the other.



#6 rigel123

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 01:50 PM

 

For the cost you might just want to consider the PST or the 50 mm Lunt so you can see both the surface features (flares, filaments, etc) and prominences.  Reading the Daystar website (if I understand it correctly) you buy either or and if you want to look at both then you are in the same price range of a nice sized solar scope.

Yeah, if I get serious enough to be ready to buy, I have as my first question of them whether the choice is an optimization (meaning that you can see surface detail with the "prominence"  one, but you'll you'll see surface detail better with the surface one), or if it really is all of one and none of the other.

 

That is my question, I think it would be frustrating to get great views of one area and mediocre views of another (or not at all), but maybe I'm off base here since I have never used one, just going by description on the website.



#7 bill1234

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:12 PM

recommendations buy price

  $350-$500  Used PST or Lunt 35*

  $500-$900  new PST or Coronado 40 or New Lunt 50**

  $900-$1100  new Quark or Used Lunt 60***

 IMO..the biggest bang for the buck.... Lunt 60



#8 Eddgie

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:14 AM

On the Reflector forum, someone recently started a thread that asked what telescope we use the most.

 

My answer did not require any deliberation.   The scope I use the most is my Lunt 60P.

 

If you want to see Ha, then you are going to have to buy a dedicated peice of equipment.   It is just they way it is.

 

The reason the Lunt gets used so much is first, becuase it is so small and light and easy to use that getting it in and out is fast.  I don't even carry out eyepeices.  I just leave the binoviewer in place with a single pair of eyepeices that gives about 50x.

 

And if the scope is easy to take out, you are far more inclined to use it, and I use mine almost every day.

 

My advice then would be to save for a dedicated Ha scope.   

 

Not saying that it has to be a Lunt 60P, but my recommendation would be a used Lunt 60 with tilt tuning if you can find one. 

 

I had the PST and loved the simplicity, but the 60mm Lunt is a much better scope for observing.   The image is very bright even at high power (though I almost never use more than 50x).

 

Do yourself a favor and just be patient until you can afford something like this.  A 60mm apeture will work at full resolving power most days (seeing can often make more than about 60x difficlut to use with good effect), and the size and weight of the OTA make it possible to get a great result using even a very light alt-az mount, and at 50x, you don't need tracking (though I still use a tracking mount).

 

Anyway, that is my advice.  Save some money..  Better yet, sell a lot of those eyepeices that you have that are not being used and raise some money and don't wait.  And go ahead and get a good 60mm or larger Ha scope.

 

It bears repeating.  My most used telecope these days is my 60mm Ha scope.   I spent more money on it than I would ever have thought I would spend on a 60mm scope, but every time I use it, I am so thankful that I made the move from the PST.

 

Patience.  Trust me, it is worth it....  


Edited by Eddgie, 05 August 2014 - 08:16 AM.


#9 bsavoie

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:00 AM

I have gone two different ways to get a view of the Sun. Two days ago I bought a used Lunt LS60T Ha B1200 for $1390. It came complete with a Vixen Mini Porta Mount, and Dovetail bar, all I needed was 1.25 inch eyepieces. Sounded super simple at the time. Unfortunately I have mostly 2 inch eyepieces - so I immediately ordered some Meade 4000 series (26mm and 15mm) but must wait a month - they are all back ordered. I am furstrated that I clicked without realizing that fact. Now I need to get on the phone and release my credit card. (Funny how I don't enjoy confrontation.)

 

I have gone in two directions in the past week, the 250 mile drive to Kentucky to get the Lunt, and a Solar filter for my Celestron NexStar 11 inch GPS. They both arrived back at my house on the same day. For $294 (11 inch SCT Baader AstroSolar™ 18Ga. film Filter cell and a Baader Solar Continuum 2 inch Filter) I was able to turn my C-11 into a daytime solar observer. Until my 1.25 inch eyepieces arrive, I am actually really enjoying the views given by the C-11. The Sun is an amazing example of life's energy. An astronomer friend of mine, was complaining about the chaos going on in congress, and I told him compared to the sun that is just a walk in the park. I need to draw in the sun energy and get on the phone, and find a new source of eyepieces. I don't really want to wait 4 weeks to save $2. The Sun is my teacher.



#10 bsavoie

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:18 AM

Hi Eddgie,

    When I drove to Kentucky to pick up my Lunt, we (his name is Don) both talked about you and how you have influenced the both of us! Small world. I am hoping to be able to use my W.O. Binoviewer on the Lunt. Don pointed out that my two 20mm WO eyepieces were not as good as his cheap 20mm Meade. I was a bit shocked to agree when we swapped out the two eyepieces. I am not so sure about a dedicated Ha scope as being the only way. It seems to me that how you see something is more important than what you see. I want a communion with the sky, so see with my depths into its depths. To feel what is going on with the Sun. Next Week at our Huntsville Astronomy club we will have Mitzy Adams speaking on the sun. She works for NASA and is a Sun expert.

 

   Now I am left with the idea that I might really improve my W.O. Binoscope by swapping out their 20mm eyepieces for a pair of cheap Meade 20mm. It seems too strange to believe. Any way Eddgie, thanks for adding your voice. I am still working on my Binary Dobsonian, and hope to finish it by Oct 4, the Huntsville astronomy day party.



#11 crow

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 10:49 AM

Agreed on the Lunt LS60. I have the tilt tuned, mostly because there were no pressure tuned ones around for purchase.

Its light, I use it on a lightweight photo tripod and fluid video head, its a perfect combo. I like it so much I threw a moonlight focuser on it.

 

What I've found is with this set up I can get all 3 powers with the Denk Binotron using the standard OCS as supplied. I'm now just fine tuning it

so that it all fits together more securely with a couple of adapters. I also use the B600 blocker. At the moment everything fits in nicely so I'm

confused about the B1200 i.e. why I need it?

 

I use it almost everyday.

 

The quark sounds good for hi-res, it has to be said. But with warm up etc it wouldn't get the use of the lunt.



#12 Magnus Ahrling

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:52 AM

Hello!

For my budget Lunt 35Ha B600 DX is just perfect. Guess I don`t need to mentione it`s extremely easy to use and mount. I am also very suprised how much that tiny aperture can show. Ha details on surface are nice and prominencies very elegant. To me this Ha scope is all I need and I do not suffer from Ha solar aperture fever.

 

Magnus 57N.

________________________________________________


Edited by Magnus Ahrling, 06 August 2014 - 03:43 AM.


#13 WebFoot

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:38 PM

I thank you all for your input.  Both the better Coronado and the Lunt offerings look nice.  But I have difficulty figuring out why I would be better off paying for another scope, with optics inferior to my Taks.  Is it the case that daytime viewing does not favor excellent optics?



#14 bsavoie

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:27 PM

There is nothing like looking through a Ha spectrum tuned scope, nothing like the Sun. I can be comforted by seeing the distant stars, but the energy that powers my vegetables, that is immediate. Lettus has captured energy in its tasty leaves. How you want to enjoy vision is up to you, perfect optics is a wonder to behold. It is just what ever turns you on, cranks you up, and satisfies you. I did not know how much I loved the sun, until I looked through a small PST. Wow. Astronomy to me is the core of deep objective truth, equipment that is beautiful, cleaning that is impecable, computer supported open source programs, ongoing learning, but most of all, obvious. You see it.


Edited by bsavoie, 06 August 2014 - 02:57 PM.


#15 WebFoot

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:34 PM

There is nothing like looking through a Ha spectrum tuned scope, nothing like the Sun. I can be comforted by seeing the distant stars, but the energy that powers my vegetables, that is immediate. Lettus has captured energy in its tasty leaves. How you want to enjoy vision is up to you, perfect optics is a wonder to behold. It is just what ever turns you on, cranks you up, and satisfies you. I did not know how much I loved the sun, until I looked through a small PST. Wow. Astronomy to me is the core of deep objective truth, equipment that is beautiful, cleaning that is impecable, computer supported open source programs, ongoing learning, but most of all, obvious. You see it.

Very poetic, but I assume using an Ha filter with an apo refractor would give open up the same wonders.  Am I wrong?  

I'm not talking about the silvered-glass filters, which only show surface structure, but the filters which show solar prominences and corona.



#16 bill1234

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:23 PM

In the long run a dedicated scope is cheaper than purchasing a front mounted full aperture filter with an adapter and blocking filter. A Front mounted 60mm Lunt is $1500 and you still need a blocking filter $500 and an adapter $175.

There is no benefit  from using an APO scope because of the narrow band transmission of a H Alpha filter .But going this route will give good results.

Also a pressure tuned scope has a much larger sweet spot. :)



#17 bandazar

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:28 PM

Yeah, I agree with Bill.  If you're going to stick with small apertures, say 60mm or below, a dedicated lunt or used coronado scope makes more sense.  With the quark, you have maintenance issues, field of view, and warm up time going against you.  The level of detail is probably not going to be that much different than a lunt or coronado in this aperture range.  If you think you might get a medium to large refractor in the future or already have one, then a quark may or might not make sense, depending on various other factors (like field of view, for example).

Another danger of using a dual purpose scope, imo, is that you might accidentily take off the filter while the unit is still pointing at the sun (I did that briefly with my nexstar 5i scope with a white light filter, by mistake.  Nothing happened of course since it was a brief period of time, and I didn't look through the scope.)



#18 bsavoie

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:13 PM

For me, as I get older, I can see how silly most of what I do is. Most of what I do is about me, and comfort. But what is there beyond that? The stars and the nearest star the Sun. What is that? Can I let sun influence be. Can I be a small player in what the sun is doing? To me living is about adventure, and this is a transcendent adventure, about the sun. It isn't really about equipment, the picture is bigger. It isn't about my accomplishments, or again about 'me'. It is about what is, and how that works, and the natural flow that is already going. With the right equipment I can get out of the way. I could say 'it takes my breath away' but the iron molecules in my blood make that possible, again a supernova did that. It becomes the doorway to non-conceptual reality, just open and go in.



#19 BYoesle

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:28 PM

H alpha filter systems generally can be classified into three categories:

1. Front (objective mounted) etalons. These can be used with stand alone telescopes, and are generally the most expensive filter systems in larger apertures. Front etalons usually offer the most uniform image contrast for low power full-disc views. Tilting for tuning the filter related to changes in atmospheric pressure may rarely produce a slight “banding,” which is sometimes exacerbated by double stacking (external or internal) to enhance contrast (the second etalon usually requires some additional tilt to remove "ghost" reflections). This is subtle visually, but can sometimes become apparent with contrast enhancement in image processing. Front mounted etalons generally offer the best views for a given aperture, and of course usually the most expensive per aperture as well.  The practical aperture for these filters is limited to less than 150 mm.

These filters are made by Coronado (Meade), Lunt, and SolarScope. SolarScope also sells dedicated solar Ha telescopes with front etalon(s).

2. Internal etalons. Cost containment concerns resulted in placing the air-spaced etalon in collimating lens optical systems, and these generally perform almost as well as front mounted etalons as far as image contrast uniformity. Some brands / models are more subject to circular “sweet spots” with good contrast, while the contrast falls off outside the sweet spot. Some models which use tilting to tune the etalon will sometimes compound the sweet spot with banding. These issues become moot with high power views and narrow field imaging, as the whole view or image is generally within the sweet spot.

With the Lunt air pressure tuning systems (which eliminates tilting for tuning), most sweet spot / banding issues appear to have been better controlled, if not completely eliminated in some models. Coronado uses mechanical pressure “rich view” tuning to accomplish the equivalent tuning without tilting.

Coronado and Lunt produce these for their dedicated solar Ha telescopes.

3. Rear (focuser) mounted etalons. These solid type etalons generally require a native f30 optical system (using an aperture stop ERF) to perform optimally. The use of telecentric optics and ‘telecentric’ barlows can be used in faster systems, but unless the telecentric optics are specifically matched to the objective focal length, low power sweet spot issues may still occur. As with internal etalons, these are generally moot for close up views and imaging. The advantage of these systems is that very narrow bandpasses can be achieved more easily without double stacking. However, these narrower bandpasses will not perform as well as double stacked filters at eliminating continuum leakage.  Tuning of the etalon is usually achieved by heating, and thus these filters generally do not suffer from banding.

DayStar and Solar Spectrum make these filter systems.

Another issue that should be mentioned is the deterioration of the filter. The air-spaced hard-coated etalons used in the Coronado, Lunt, and SolarScope systems generally do not have deterioration issues, although the Coronado’s have experienced blocking filter issues with premature failure of the Induced Transmission Filter. Deterioration of the blocking filter’s trim filter has not (yet) become apparent for these systems.  SolarScope blockers are hard-coated and have not had any deterioration issues.

The solid spacer etalons used by DayStar and Solar Spectrum, which use soft-coated, are subject to deterioration of both the blocking and the trimmer filters, and will require replacement and/or rebuilding after about 10-15 + years.  Solar Spectrum has recently started hard-coating their blocking filters, and these should last much longer.

Lastly, for visual use, apertures over 150 mm generally will not increase resolution due to daytime atmospheric conditions (but will help image brightness for the rare moments of good image steadiness), and will be less portable the bigger the aperture and mount. For imaging, use of frame selection and stacking software can enable larger apertures to be of much greater benefit.

I would also suggest you review the following articles by Colin Kaminski:

Resonant Spaces Part 1 --

http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=1791

Resonant Spaces Part 2 --

http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=2015



#20 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:14 PM

I don't know if I agree with the dedicated scope vice filter on a nice apo discussion. I felt I had a pretty nice PST and I found that the SM40 on my TV60 is better. Maybe not better by a large amount, but better enough that I sold my PST in favor of the SM40.

 

I had the time to do a lot of comparisons between the two (needed some water after that session). I felt the PST was about 80-85% as good as the TV60 with the SM40 at low powers. I felt the PST was less good the more magnification was used.

So for the original poster I think it may be better with a filter on your TAK...depending on the setup you were to choose. But maybe for some of these scopes they are unique enough that using your scope to do the same thing wouldn't be as good or economical.

 

I'd say the only way to know is to find someone who's done the comparison or talk to the company you plan on buying from. In my case I would have kept the one SM40 to doublestack my PST and sold the other SM40 and diagonal. So I felt it was a low risk situation. But in the end I found I liked the TV60 the most. I do think the guy who got my PST will be happy.



#21 Eddgie

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:50 AM

I don't know if I agree with the dedicated scope vice filter on a nice apo discussion.

Well, this has already been mentioned.

 

If someone starts with an APO (which offers zero advantage to the single lens used in the Lunt 60 as an example), to match the resolution, one would have to buy a front mounted Etalon, and the Lunt 60mm with a 1.25" blocking filter is $1850.

 

For this price, one can get a complete new lunt 60 with change to spare.

 

If the OP wants to binoview or image, he will need the BF1200, and this will increase the price even more.

 

Not that putting a front mounted Etalon on an existing APO won't work, but by the time you equal the performance of the Lunt 60, you will have spent as much or more money.

 

I don't have any vested interest in what the OP buys, but solar is not cheap, and to me, the purchase of a dedicated Ha scope, as expensive as it was, was one of the best astronomy purchases I have made.  I needed the BF1200 becuase I wanted to binoview (OMG!), so my total price was around $1800.  

 

Used tilt tuned 60s sell for much less than I paid (and I am not so sure that the pressure tuner is all that much better than tilt tuning).

 

So, one can mount up and existing scope to match the performnce of the Lunt 60, but in many cases, they will spend more to do it than if they just buy a Lunt 60, and they won't get a better result.

 

Here is my Lunt 60.   Mine has a BF1200 and binoviewers, but if someone were going to mono-view, they could buy the Lunt 60 with a BF600 and a Ioptron mount for less than the price of a 60mm front mounted Etalon with blocking filter.

 

And I can carry my whole setup, complete with binoviwer and internal batteries out of the door in one trip.  Nothing to fall off, nothing to mount and fuss with, and (for me) binoviews of the sun in Ha.  

 

This is why I recommend a dedicated scope.  It just makes more sense than going to a front filter if you are talking 60mm and above.

The new 50mm is also attractive, but I don't think it will be binoviewer friendly.  And if somone has not seen the sun in Ha using binoviewers, they are missing a lot in my opinion.

Attached Files


Edited by Eddgie, 07 August 2014 - 08:58 AM.


#22 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

Yep...I'm not as versed on the more expensive setups. So that's good information to know.

 

I will probably look into one of the lunts sometime in the future.



#23 WebFoot

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:15 PM

 

I don't know if I agree with the dedicated scope vice filter on a nice apo discussion.

Well, this has already been mentioned.

 

If someone starts with an APO (which offers zero advantage to the single lens used in the Lunt 60 as an example), to match the resolution, one would have to buy a front mounted Etalon, and the Lunt 60mm with a 1.25" blocking filter is $1850.

 

For this price, one can get a complete new lunt 60 with change to spare.

 

If the OP wants to binoview or image, he will need the BF1200, and this will increase the price even more.

 

Not that putting a front mounted Etalon on an existing APO won't work, but by the time you equal the performance of the Lunt 60, you will have spent as much or more money.

 

I don't have any vested interest in what the OP buys, but solar is not cheap, and to me, the purchase of a dedicated Ha scope, as expensive as it was, was one of the best astronomy purchases I have made.  I needed the BF1200 becuase I wanted to binoview (OMG!), so my total price was around $1800.  

 

Used tilt tuned 60s sell for much less than I paid (and I am not so sure that the pressure tuner is all that much better than tilt tuning).

 

So, one can mount up and existing scope to match the performnce of the Lunt 60, but in many cases, they will spend more to do it than if they just buy a Lunt 60, and they won't get a better result.

 

Here is my Lunt 60.   Mine has a BF1200 and binoviewers, but if someone were going to mono-view, they could buy the Lunt 60 with a BF600 and a Ioptron mount for less than the price of a 60mm front mounted Etalon with blocking filter.

 

And I can carry my whole setup, complete with binoviwer and internal batteries out of the door in one trip.  Nothing to fall off, nothing to mount and fuss with, and (for me) binoviews of the sun in Ha.  

 

This is why I recommend a dedicated scope.  It just makes more sense than going to a front filter if you are talking 60mm and above.

The new 50mm is also attractive, but I don't think it will be binoviewer friendly.  And if somone has not seen the sun in Ha using binoviewers, they are missing a lot in my opinion.

 

Interesting!

 

So, if my interest is to be able to view (including both surface texture and prominences/corona) easily, and take photos (not with my CCD equipment, but with a full frame DSLR), what list of equipment would you recommend?  I already have an iOptron mount, but it's beefy (compared to your SmartEQ).



#24 Eddgie

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:12 PM

If you plan on using a full frame camera, then you are going to have to pick a blocking filter that is sized to the focal ratio of the scope.

 

Lunt has guidelines on their web page.

 

The Lunt has T2 threads on the top of the blocking filter.  The eyepiece holder unscrews, and this exposes the T2 threads (that is how I can mount my Maxbright binoviewer).  This could be used with the appropriate adapter to mate a camera.

 

I would recommend that you visit the Lunt page and spend some time reading their suggestions.


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#25 Ebbisham

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 06:28 AM

Eddgie, it seems your Lunt 60 has the stock crayford focuser. Is it up to the task with the Maxbright bino and light weight eps?

I was considering the Lunt 60 as well but thought it would have to be the feather touch version to deal with the binoviewer weight.

 

I picked up a good priced Lunt front filter 50mm /bf1200 combo that I planned to use on a Skywatcher 80ed. How would the 50mm front filter compare to a dedicated 60mm Lunt scope.








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