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First light with Daystar Quark combo

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#1 gnowellsct

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 04:38 PM

....If you can call getting roasted by the sun "first light."   

 

Anyhow I finally had everything together, the 2x powermate, the 4x powermate, the right little 12 v power plug, the right wire, the UVIR, it was all here.  

 

So I pulled out the G11 and put my Vixen dovetail adapter on it, and mounted the Vixen ED81S (which is 81mm f/7.7).

 

Bad stuff first.  

 

1.  My main mechanical complaint is that the 2" adapter to hold 2" eyepieces is very poorly made.  The eyepieces keep hanging up on the brass strip.  It might break in with time, but I haven't had this issue before and I've used my fair share of diagonals and 2" adapters.

 

2.  The instructional pamphlet insists that you need 32 to 40mm TV 1.25" plossls, which strikes me as a rather narrow recommendation.  The Pentaxes performed very well.  It is possible though that the pincushion etc. that you get from Pan Optics and Naglers might not blend well with the quark.  

 

3.  My ED81S does not have enough in-focus for all this stuff.  When I switched from the 4x to the 2x powermate, with the powermate positioned between diagonal and quark, I could not get to focus no matter what eyepiece I used.  Eventually my friend and I decided to put the 2x powermate, with the UVIR on it, *in front* of the diagonal.  I'm not sure this is a Daystar issue (the lack of in-focus) but it leaves me wondering how well this gear will do on my 102mm f/6.5.

 

4.  You put a 40mm eyepiece in the adapter which sits on the quark which sits in the barlow which is in the diagonal, you got a lot of torque.  The visual back of the refractor was tending to twist off, but I found that if I took the whole eyepiece barlow combination and did a complete clockwise rotation the whole assembly tightened up (the visual back was unscrewing out of the focus tube).  There was also the issue of tightening up the screws that held the diagonal to keep it from rotating inside the visual back and that took a bit of torque too.  But it all held. 

 

5.  It gets to be a little complicated moving the powermates around and making sure the UVIR is always first in the optical train.  It's not a very elegant solution.

 

That's it on the bad stuff--that's not so bad, was it?

 

Good stuff

 

1.  With the UVIR on the diagonal I was expecting the refractor to become an inferno.  It did not.  In fact, the white refractor was cooler to the touch than the black Losmandy mount.

 

2.  The views were stunning.  I really didn't expect them to be this good.  Well, I don't know what I was expecting.  But it was quite a treat to see several large prominences.  

 

3.  There was surface detail too.  Around the sunspots (there were four groups that I recall) I could see the grayish lines or filaments, one with a counter clockwise swirl to it.  It was quite entrancing.

 

4.  Now we put the 2x powermate on, as mentioned above, and with it between diagonal and quark there was insufficient in-focus.  When transposed, there was insufficient out-focus.  Fortunately it was easy to solve the problem by pulling the powermate out about 1/2 inch and locking it there.  The other advantage of this system is it pulls the powermate out of the high-torque position mentioned above and so now you have the quark in the diagonal and the eyepiece in the quark, which shortens everything up four or five inches and reduces the leverage.  So it has its advantages, even though it's not a recommended position for the power mate.

 

5.  My friends preferred the 2x powermate view with low-ish magnification.  They said it was easier to reach focus  with a daytime pupil.  You got a full disk view with prominences plainly visible.  If you looked carefully around the sunspots you could see some surrounding structure.  Nonetheless....

 

6.  Exactly as the Daystar people had said, the 4x powermate delivered the more contrasty views.  You don't get full disk but the prominence structure was outstanding.  And you could see a pattern of small dark lines all over the sun, a kind of crust, and the sun spots showed great detail with their network of filaments extending out.  There were, furthermore, the long irregular shapes that I have been told, in the past, are prominences seen from the top.  So I think the 4x powermate view with the 30mm Pentax XW is my preferred optical train. It just showed so much fine detail around the sunspots, and the prominences looked like they were sewn out of fine delicate lace (except for the one that looked like a nuclear bomb mushroom cloud).  

 

But my friends were of the opinion that for outreach it would be better to use the 4x Barlow and the 40mm XW, because it would be easier for novices to acquire the image.  So there you have it.  I guess it's the sort of thing where if you have a long line you go for the easy view, but if it's just a few people, you can coach them to the more detailed image.

 

All told this was a great experience.  One of my friends had trouble pulling in the finer detail and seemed convinced that the thing to do was put the whole assembly on the four inch.  Well, a chance to try that will come on down the line.  

 

Anyhow I never thought I'd be able to see prominences and H-alpha structure on the sun for less than about $5k of outlay, so the combo quark and its ability to work with the 2x and 4x powermates for $1800 (about $1200 goes to Daystar, $600 to TV for the powermates) is quite a bargain.  Furthermore, I was observing at 81mm and have the option to go up to 102mm (and even further if I want to buy large aperture ERFs) which strikes me as a very good deal given the number of people who seem to be using 40 and 50mm H-alpha scopes.  

 

I feel much better about all this outlay now that I know it works....and works really well!  

 

Greg N

 

p.s.  I think someone posted here that the combo quark chromosphere didn't show prominences.  That's not what they tell you at Daystar when you call, and I can now vouch for them: the chromosphere does a humdinger job on prominences.  Maybe photographers need the prominence version, but this is a terrific all around visual tool for surface detail and prominences.    I wonder if the 4" refractor will bring in even more details.  

 

 

 



#2 Jamey L Jenkins

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 07:40 PM

Hi Greg,

 

Figuring out a winning configuration can be a challenge, but sounds like you see what it takes. Congrats on your views!

 

I use a  Quark Chromosphere Combo on a 102mm f7 William Optics ED combined with a Lunt 100mm ERF and can confirm the observations you make.

 

Here is a link showing some of the images I've acquired and a few pics of the setup.

 

www.flickr.com/photos/jameyjenkins

 

Have fun!



#3 nickatnight

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 10:37 PM

That's a top notch report! Well done. I think you will like the Quark on your 102mm. I was using spicules on the Suns edge to focus my 115mm today. I can't do that with my Lunt 50, not that I'd do without its full disk views.

#4 gnowellsct

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 10:52 PM

Thank you for the kind words.  Well I'm trying to figure out a workaround on my f/6.5 102mm.  If I use 2x powermate it will only get to f/13.

 

That would leave me only partial disk views (not that those are bad) with the 4x.  

 

I guess the only thing to do is put the 2x *in front* of the diagonal (again) to get the magnification up to f/14 or so.  That's the only way that's going to work.  Either that or I have to sell the f/6.5 and get an f/7 which would be tragic.  I like my little f/6.5.

 

Jamey your pics are terrific, can't believe the quality of what gets put up on this group.   I'm posting this live link to your account, a lot of people won't cut and past a url these days.

 

Greg N



#5 nickatnight

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 11:03 PM

You could stop your 102mm front aperture down to 95mm, which would give you f7. 95mm is still very respectable.

#6 gnowellsct

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 11:15 PM

You could stop your 102mm front aperture down to 95mm, which would give you f7. 95mm is still very respectable.

 

Well you know, I had my dog neutered because I didn't want him "visiting" my guests' legs.  But neutering my aperture? well yes, I could do that.  I will think about it, and it certainly is an excellent suggestion, even if my first impulse is "no, never."  

 

At a minimum I should try it both ways: barlow in diagonal, with aperture mask, and barlow in front of diagonal, without.

 

Good idea there, thank you.

 

Greg N



#7 Bill Geertsen

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:57 PM

 Hi Greg, I was about to order a Quark(original) when I found your thread. Thank you for clarifying the use of the "Combo" with refractors.

I have a TMB 100/800 Classic which I use for white light viewing with a Herschel wedge. It sounds as though the "Combo"would give me great flexibility from full disk to high magnification. The full disk viewing would be mostly at outreach programs with many kids.

Do you think this would be a good, primarily visual, setup? I have several barlows but no Televues. Have you tried barlows other than Televues?

Bill G

 

 

If you buy the combo quark you should factor in two powermates, the 2x and the 4x.  This is pretty much not optional.  Your focal ratio must exceed f/15 (so your f/8 would require a 2x minimum, won't be much different than my f/7.7).    

 

Daystar wants the light coming in to the quark to be completely parallel.  Regular barlows, not even my AP Barcon, don't do that.  The word is "telecentric."  You need a telecentric barlow.  I think Agena makes one.  In any case the 2x Barlow will get you a full disk view.

 

However, as Daystar pointed out to me, the *best* view is with the 4x barlow which puts your f/8 at f/32.  Today I confirmed why.  There was just greater definition to the prominences and you could get, in the fine focus, features around the sun spots.    So the 4x Power mate does  a better job, but it is harder for the novice (and even experienced observers) to acquire the image.  But once you've got it, wow.

 

So you just have to figure if you're getting combo quark that the cost is about $1k for the quark and $150 (or something like that) for the UVIR and $50 for a two inch eyepiece adapter (if you want to do that).  IOW what you pay Daystar is about $1200.  Then there's the two powermates which will run something like $640 for both of them together.  It's roughly $1800 plus some odds and ends for the power supply.  Call it $1800 to $1900 total.   

 

You can buy the ordinary Daystar with an 80mm telescope it all works as a unit for full disk viewing.  That sells for $1500, but the barlow is built in to the quark, the choices are made for you.   So you save $640 buying the two powermates.    The nice thing about this system is that you take off the Daystar stuff you've got a perfectly good fast ED telescope.  I can't imagine it's tip top for the price, but it's no doubt good enough to do a lot of visual.    (Hmmm--if you buy the refractor could you sneak a 2x power mate into the optical train?  Maybe...but you likely would not get the very tight resolution of the 4x)

 

If you go for the combo quark you can port the system to other telescopes and the main thing is whether you can get an energy rejection filter aka ERF.  Daystar makes these up to about 5 inches and there are other manufacturers so you could even out fit an 8 inch SCT (for example).  I would be cautious about using these systems with an oil-spaced triplet like the TEC 140 or GT130.

 

In sum Daystar is pushing powermates and only power mates and they told me the 4x would be better than the 2x but the 2x would be good. They were right on both counts.

 

I think it would be a nice thing if you pasted your question and my answer in to the thread you mentioned because other people might find it useful.  best wishes,

Greg N



#8 HxPI

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 11:28 PM

Thank you for the kind words.  Well I'm trying to figure out a workaround on my f/6.5 102mm.  If I use 2x powermate it will only get to f/13.

 

That would leave me only partial disk views (not that those are bad) with the 4x.  

 

I guess the only thing to do is put the 2x *in front* of the diagonal (again) to get the magnification up to f/14 or so.  That's the only way that's going to work.  Either that or I have to sell the f/6.5 and get an f/7 which would be tragic.  I like my little f/6.5.

 

Jamey your pics are terrific, can't believe the quality of what gets put up on this group.   I'm posting this live link to your account, a lot of people won't cut and past a url these days.

 

Greg N

 

Nice report and thanks for the live link haha  :grin:

 

Ciao,

Mel



#9 bill1234

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 06:39 AM

Greg 

Thanks for report on your new combo. :)

Looks promising with the few issues you mentioned.

I can see more edge detail with my original Quark on a 100mm refractor than with  an 80mm Lunt, but full disk isn't an option.(maybe a focal reducer would get me full disk view?)

Good to know no added spacers were needed to reach focus.

I guess a robust focuser is needed to handle Quark combo + barlow + eyepiece.I tried my original quark on a cheap club scope but the  focuser drooped with the weight.

:waytogo:  



#10 44ye

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 02:02 PM

DayStar warns not to use a diagonal mounted ERF with oil-spaced triplet like the TEC 140 or GT130 because the energy goes back up the tube and damage WILL  HAPPEN . This was repeated several times at DayStar Solarfest last week

 

clear skies



#11 gnowellsct

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 12:23 PM

DayStar warns not to use a diagonal mounted ERF with oil-spaced triplet like the TEC 140 or GT130 because the energy goes back up the tube and damage WILL  HAPPEN . This was repeated several times at DayStar Solarfest last week

 

clear skies

 

I'm not anxious to do it any time soon, but apparently AP has been saying that the issue is cemented triplets.  I'd want to post on AP user group and get the full story before reaching any conclusions. Anyhow, I think it's probably a good idea to go with a full aperture ERF.  Greg N




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