Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Choosing between a Quark based refractor and a dedicated solar scope

  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#1 kwad

kwad

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted 09 March 2019 - 10:41 AM

Hello,

 

I have a PST and have used it for several years with satisfaction.  I also have a 60mm ED f/5.5 and a 70mm ED f/6 refractors.  I am considering using the 60mm and 70mm EDs with a Quark to get improved views of the sun over that of the PST.  I hesitate to purchase the Quark over a 60mm dedicated solar scope since I get the impression from reading discussions online that a dedicated solar 60mm solar scope "might" have a small visual and imaging edge over the Quark based refractors.

 

If I purchase the Quark, I can use it with the 70mm ED.  In principle, the extra 10mm of diameter should improve my visual and imaging objectives.  In practice, is 10mm significant for average seeing conditions?   What level of improvement should I expect to see with a Quark and the 60mm and 70mm refractors over that of the PST and a 60mm dedicated solar scope?  Does the added advantage of a Quark on a 70mm ED refractor outweigh the possible performance reduction of a 60mm dedicated solar scope?

 

I keep procrastinating on the choice between the Quark based 60mm and 70mm refractors and a dedicated 60mm solar scope.  I don't have access to any other hydrogen-alpha telescope systems to look through, so I am trying to make the best choice by reading reviews and comments on different forums.  I would like to make my decision on more than a flip of the coin which is where I've been struck for some time now.  Perhaps I am making a mountain out of a mole hill in trying to make the perfect choice under these conditions.

 

Any advice that anyone can provide me with to solve my choice dilemma will be greatly appreciated.

 

Carl



#2 DennisK

DennisK

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 72
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Willowick, OH

Posted 09 March 2019 - 10:47 AM

I went through this many years ago, ended up with a separate telescope - Televue TV-85, and a solar filter - DayStar Quantum SE.  With this, I can use the 'scope on its own for nighttime work, then throw on the solar filter if I want to do some daytime stuff.  For me, it was a question of having less equipment to deal with; we do a lot of camping, quite often in places with very good skies.  I can load all of the astro gear in the car, then I can observe whatever/whenever I want.

 

BTW, my mount is a Celestron A-VX.


  • crazyqban likes this

#3 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11702
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 09 March 2019 - 11:26 AM

The difference between the PST and a 70mm scope with a Quark Chromosphere is like the difference between a 60mm plastic lens refractor and the Hubble Space Telescope. 

 

Seriously.

 

Okay, so it's *slightly* exaggerated, but you get the idea. And I do speak from experience, having tried both, side by side. Even on a 40mm scope (same aperture as the PST), the image in the Quark is overwhelmingly more detailed and far, far brighter.  

 

I've also compared my 63mm Zeiss Telemator with an older 60mm Coronado solar scope, which was a complete and total victory for the Quark, the Coronado being far dimmer and lower contrast (yes, I tried to adjust it to the best possible image) The only solar scope I've tried that had the same brightness and contrast as my Quark was a Lunt, but I've only tried a 35mm, so I can't speak about all of them. It was vastly superior to the PST, despite being 5mm smaller. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark



#4 MalVeauX

MalVeauX

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5003
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 09 March 2019 - 01:06 PM

Hello,

 

I have a PST and have used it for several years with satisfaction.  I also have a 60mm ED f/5.5 and a 70mm ED f/6 refractors.  I am considering using the 60mm and 70mm EDs with a Quark to get improved views of the sun over that of the PST.  I hesitate to purchase the Quark over a 60mm dedicated solar scope since I get the impression from reading discussions online that a dedicated solar 60mm solar scope "might" have a small visual and imaging edge over the Quark based refractors.

 

If I purchase the Quark, I can use it with the 70mm ED.  In principle, the extra 10mm of diameter should improve my visual and imaging objectives.  In practice, is 10mm significant for average seeing conditions?   What level of improvement should I expect to see with a Quark and the 60mm and 70mm refractors over that of the PST and a 60mm dedicated solar scope?  Does the added advantage of a Quark on a 70mm ED refractor outweigh the possible performance reduction of a 60mm dedicated solar scope?

 

I keep procrastinating on the choice between the Quark based 60mm and 70mm refractors and a dedicated 60mm solar scope.  I don't have access to any other hydrogen-alpha telescope systems to look through, so I am trying to make the best choice by reading reviews and comments on different forums.  I would like to make my decision on more than a flip of the coin which is where I've been struck for some time now.  Perhaps I am making a mountain out of a mole hill in trying to make the perfect choice under these conditions.

 

Any advice that anyone can provide me with to solve my choice dilemma will be greatly appreciated.

 

Carl

Heya,

 

If we're talking visually and keeping it light and simple to setup, then I would just get the dedicated 60mm HA scope.

 

If you're more interested in larger apertures, visually (demanding a more heavy duty mount too), and/or interested in larger scale imaging, then I would say consider a Quark.

 

You will see more with a 60mm aperture. You will see even more, with a larger aperture, but subject to the quality of your local seeing.

 

I have a Quark & PST and I've compared both at 40mm aperture. I setup my Quark on my ST80 (400mm F5) and stopped it down to 40mm F10 to match the PST, also 40mm F10.

 

Visually, the Quark had higher contrast and was bright, but more uniform (for my copy at least) Visually the PST was much brighter and had a lot less contrast, which lead it to look brighter. I could see fibrils and spicules just fine on both and proms and stuff on broth. The Quark showed better surface detail, much better, due to the much tighter bandpass resulting in higher contrast of the features from the continuum. The PST was immediate with tuning so I could go in and out of band to see different features and how the worked. The PST also was ready to go without any time at all, instant views, and the sun finder built in is just so super convenient and practical. The Quark requires more setup time, is a lot more demanding on the focuser (it's heavy with a diagonal), requires power and is not fast to tune through values to find the best setting to be on band, but the extra work pays off with a higher quality more contrasty view. Both of course subject to copy variation of the etalon.

 

The benefit is you can put the Quark on a 60mm, 70mm, 80mm, 100mm, 120mm, 150mm, etc, and play around with different views as seeing allows if you're ok with a bit more fuss.

 

The in between? The 60mm options. The larger apertures in dedicate scopes immediately push into the seriously double and triple or more cost range of something like a Quark, so with a budget like that, I would consider a lot of other options.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 09 March 2019 - 01:27 PM.


#5 hopskipson

hopskipson

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1699
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Queens, New Yawk, Light pollution Headquarters!

Posted 09 March 2019 - 04:30 PM

Just my opinion, the Quark will give you more options than the dedicated scope.  You already have a 70mm scope.  You can pick up a cheap 100mm scope and really get some nice views and details with the increased aperature.  With the 60mm dedicated scope you will be limited.

 

Another advantage is you can double stack your PST using the Quark.

 

To me at this price range you can't match the capabilities and flexibility of the Quark.

 

Good luck with you decision.



#6 kwad

kwad

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted 09 March 2019 - 09:49 PM

Thanks to everyone for your inputs.  Your advice has been quite useful in directing me to take the path towards the purchase of the Quark over the dedicated solar scope.  I will be purchasing the Quark on Monday.

 

Carl 



#7 Nojus

Nojus

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 115
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Netherlands

Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:20 AM

I've read a lot of comments about it and decided to buy  Coronado ST 70/400 SolarMax III BF15 <0.5Å Double Stack OTA.

Yesterday had very short first light and I was amazed of those views.

I didn't choose quark because it is not very handy as it need to be heated up before using, this is time wasting as I need to have scope  for grab'n'go, sometimes for quick view.


  • Scott Beith and BinoGuy like this

#8 George9

George9

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Joined: 11 Dec 2004

Posted 10 March 2019 - 06:42 AM

Congratulations. You won't regret your decision. For others who read this thread in the future:

 

1. Go with the Quark if you are likely to want to trade up in size in the future (which is likely). And if tinkering and trying different things is part of the fun for you (e.g., trying different refractors, but you don't HAVE to tinker).

 

2. Go with the dedicated 60 if want to run out and observe. With this one you can trade up in contrast through double stack instead of trading up in size. Double stack will beat either the Quark or the single-stack 60 on the disk.

 

Over 20 years I have evolved to an LS80 DSII and a Quark on a 155mm refractor. If I had to pick one I would pick the LS80 because I would use it more and because the DS view is more pleasing, even though I could use the Quark on both the 155 and on a 70mm. But they complement each other so I hope I don't have to pick one.

 

Depending on finances, if you stay in H-alpha long term, you too may find yourself adding a dedicated solar scope to your Quark. But the Quarks are very fun, so it is a great next step.

 

George


  • BYoesle likes this

#9 BYoesle

BYoesle

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6428
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Washington USA

Posted 10 March 2019 - 02:01 PM

Hi Carl,

 

Yes indeed - the extra 10 mm of aperture from the 70 mm will be significant. But there are other issues besides resolution, most importantly contrast uniformity. Here the Quark may have issues, so don't be afraid to return the filter if this is the case.

 

The only thing I might add to George's comments are to consider double stacking the PST for your whole-disc views, which will substantially improve disc contrast.

 

The best views for full-disc and medium powers (used most often due to daytime seeing) will be front mounted double stacks, or front-internal double stacks.

 

For higher power and hi-res work the near focus mica filters are more affordable, but a bit harder to configure or double stack. For best results you'll need to consider the higher quality Solar Spectrum or DayStar SE/PE filters with true telecentric optical systems (Baader or BelOptik) instead of the Quark.

 

See here for information about etalons and double stacking, telecentrics, etc.



#10 BinoGuy

BinoGuy

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 551
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Michigan

Posted 10 March 2019 - 03:59 PM

Great points from all.  One last thing to consider, tho maybe not an issue in norther Va, is that the Quark does not perform well in the extreme cold.  I believe our friend from Denmark recently mentioned leaving the Quarks powered 24x7 and wool socks and shorter observing windows.  I have had to rule the Quarks out for this reason (it has been well below freezing for the past four months) and Winter is generally the time of year when we have the least moisture in the atmosphere so we have the steadiest seeing.



#11 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:22 AM

I've had the Daystar Quark since about six months before the solar eclipse (I decided to order before the inevitable rush).  I really enjoy it much more than white light observing.

 

I have used the Daystar Quark on my Vixen ED 81s f/7.7 and my Vixen ED102ss f/6.5.   I have both the 2x and 4x powermates.  I can say that the views in the 81mm are good, but the views in the 102 mm are better.  This is somewhat surprising since the f/7.7 is closer to the desired h-alpha focal ratio of f/7 to f/7.5.

 

I have had problems--manageable problems, but I've had to be careful--with the focusers.  My 102mm Moonlite focuser is somewhat at maximum with the power mate, the quark, the ERF, the eyepiece. In particular because I use either a 30 XW or 40 XW and these are heavy eyepieces.  There are heavier (Nagler 31, Pan 41), but they're heavy.  The Vixen ED81s focuser is OEM dual focus, as I say, I get them both to work but it isn't easy.    I have a 92 mm scope coming with a 3 inch FT focuser and I think that will pretty much put to rest the focuser issues.  

 

Anyhow:  102 really outperforms the 81.  I have looked through one or two PSTs and they are feeble in comparison.  I know it is favorable to say well it's daytime so the seeing is bad so get the smaller aperture but....every time I've done it the 102 outperforms.  Right now my limited evidence is that aperture is more important than focal ratio, but maybe the 92mm at f/6.9 will have enough aperture and be close enough to ideal focal ratio that it will be the sweet spot.

 

Greg N



#12 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:25 AM

Great points from all.  One last thing to consider, tho maybe not an issue in norther Va, is that the Quark does not perform well in the extreme cold.  I believe our friend from Denmark recently mentioned leaving the Quarks powered 24x7 and wool socks and shorter observing windows.  I have had to rule the Quarks out for this reason (it has been well below freezing for the past four months) and Winter is generally the time of year when we have the least moisture in the atmosphere so we have the steadiest seeing.

Never tried it in the cold so I couldn't say.  My comment is that as a long time user of SCTs I take dew seriously and have a heavy duty battery and kendrick heaters.  I put a kendrick heater under my Argo Navis computer in the cold, for example. 

 

If you had a Quark out in cold weather it seems to me that a dew heater strap around the body would likely keep it going.  I'm just not sure which party of the body should get the heat.

 

Greg N


  • BinoGuy likes this

#13 kwad

kwad

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted 11 March 2019 - 10:37 AM

Hello Everyone,

 

I just purchased the Quark Chromosphere Model from High Point Scientific.  I decided that I will probably be interested in a refractor larger than my 70mm ED f/6 as time goes on since my tracking mount will handle up to a 100mm refractor if seeing from my backyard in the suburbs of Washington, DC will permit the use of a larger aperture.   I cannot not envision myself putting out the money for a dedicated 100mm solar scope.  The quark will give me the flexibility to use a variety of refractors for varying seeing conditions without breaking the bank.  Warm up time for the Quark is not a major issue for me.  

 

Thanks again to everybody for all the input to help me make my decision. 

 

Carl



#14 MalVeauX

MalVeauX

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5003
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 11 March 2019 - 10:59 AM

You'll have a great time with that Quark. Full discs are great on an approximate 400mm focal length refractor with a 20~25mm eyepiece (depending on AFOV). You see the whole disc in the FOV with proms and you can get an idea of what features are out there. Then push the magnification in the areas of interest as you please. I use an ST80 (400mm F5 refractor) for this, masked to either 60mm (60mm F6.7) or 40mm (40mm F10) for different levels of contrast as this changes slightly the bandpass of the Quark based on the resulting focal-ratio from that telecentric amplifier. Go wider aperture (shorter focal-length) when you're interested in prominences mostly (wider bandpass). And go larger aperture and longer focal ratio when you want to see more surface subject matter with higher contrast (narrower bandpass).

 

Mean while, that same Quark can grow into larger scopes over time. Upwards of 150mm aperture on a refractor, though I don't recommend going beyond 120~127mm apertures without a full aperture front mounted ERF of some kind on those larger apertures of 150mm. And over 150mm, or with designs that are not refractors, you'll need a full aperture ERF anyways. But, the Quark lets you grow through several scopes and get different views from all kinds of apertures, showing you all kinds of things. And there's always something to see in HA!

 

I highly recommend a pair of binoviewers. The Quark was practically made for binoviewing visually! Such a 3D experience of RAW mother nature.

 

Here's some Quark visual setups ranging from 40mm to 200mm!

 

60mm_HA_Binoview_Visual_01282019.jpg

 

25397810627_e4d4920316_c.jpg

 

32728257036_4571d79fb9_c.jpg

 

Solar_150mm_Visual_Quark_Bino.jpg

 

BinoViewing_HA_C8Edge.jpg

 

Enjoy our star!

 

Very best,


  • Scott Beith, BYoesle, S1mas and 2 others like this

#15 dscarpa

dscarpa

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3596
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2008
  • Loc: San Diego Ca.

Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:54 PM

 I've got nighttime covered with current scopes and a empty Unistar-AP tripod.    I've watched good deals come and go on larger HA setups of both types than my Lunt 60 single tilt etalon. Given the somulent Sun I just can't bring myself to spring for one. David



#16 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 11 March 2019 - 07:32 PM

 I've got nighttime covered with current scopes and a empty Unistar-AP tripod.    I've watched good deals come and go on larger HA setups of both types than my Lunt 60 single tilt etalon. Given the somulent Sun I just can't bring myself to spring for one. David

If you're over 50 think again.  There aren't that many Mercury transits left.  There's one in Nov 2019 and another in 2032 and 2039.  So if you're over 50 think hard about getting h-alpha into your capability list, never mind the "somnolent sun."

 

Indeed, the sun is never somnolent.  There are always solar prominences.  It's nice to have sunspots but the solar prominences are terrific.

 

Greg N


  • donv and BGazing like this

#17 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 11 March 2019 - 07:33 PM

I see a bunch of Quark combos above (not all of them) without power supplies.  Am I missing something?  Mine has to be plugged in.

 

Greg N



#18 George9

George9

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Joined: 11 Dec 2004

Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:30 PM

Never tried it in the cold so I couldn't say.  My comment is that as a long time user of SCTs I take dew seriously and have a heavy duty battery and kendrick heaters.  I put a kendrick heater under my Argo Navis computer in the cold, for example. 

 

If you had a Quark out in cold weather it seems to me that a dew heater strap around the body would likely keep it going.  I'm just not sure which party of the body should get the heat.

 

Greg N

I use my Quark down to 20F without a problem.

 

George


  • gnowellsct likes this

#19 dscarpa

dscarpa

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3596
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2008
  • Loc: San Diego Ca.

Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:33 PM

Most of my HA observing is a bunch of mini sessions so don't know if the warm up needed for a Quark would work for me.  My Lunt 60 did a good job on the Venus transit ditto on proms given it's size, small surface detail not so much. I'm hoping Lunt makes their 100 which is a ED usable at night like their 150 which is not. This would make it a one  eclipse scope show as the filters could be removed for totality.  The Coronado 3s are all usable at night but are achros.  Not that there's anything wrong with achros but I do a lot of lunar-planetary. David 

 

David  


Edited by dscarpa, 11 March 2019 - 08:57 PM.


#20 Spikey131

Spikey131

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 632
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2017

Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:39 AM

It takes 10 minutes for the Quark to warm up.  It takes 12 minutes for me to carry out the gear, put on the white light filter, start the AZ Mount Pro and align it to the sun.  By the time I have the sun centered, the Quark is ready because I plugged it in before I did anything else.  I have had set the whole thing up, scanned the sun, observed the prominences and solar surface, and put it all away in 45 minutes.

 

I feel sorry for you guys who are in a bigger hurry than me.


  • spereira likes this

#21 dscarpa

dscarpa

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3596
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2008
  • Loc: San Diego Ca.

Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:55 AM

 My Lunt 60 is on a EZTouch  and is carried out as unit a feature I want with any bigger HA scope which will go on a Unistar-AP tripod. Most of the time when there's not a lot happening  I view for a few  minutes at a time a number of times during the day. If there's a lot going on I view longer but sadly that's not the case very often lately.  That said just took  the Lunt 60 out and there's a fair sized bright  complex prom today! David   


Edited by dscarpa, 12 March 2019 - 12:58 PM.


#22 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:33 AM

Not that there's anything wrong with achros but I do a lot of lunar-planetary. David

David


People who find plenty wrong with achros are a large and growing segment of the refractor market. It's ok not to want one.

#23 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15168
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:39 AM

It takes 10 minutes for the Quark to warm up. It takes 12 minutes for me to carry out the gear, put on the white light filter, start the AZ Mount Pro and align it to the sun. By the time I have the sun centered, the Quark is ready because I plugged it in before I did anything else. I have had set the whole thing up, scanned the sun, observed the prominences and solar surface, and put it all away in 45 minutes.

I feel sorry for you guys who are in a bigger hurry than me.


I agree time to warm up is pretty trivial. Being able to use three, four, five inch refractors at night and then have h alpha during the day is fantastic. I wold never go for a dedicated 40 or 60mm PST. But many people do...

#24 BYoesle

BYoesle

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6428
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Washington USA

Posted 15 March 2019 - 09:20 AM

 

People who find plenty wrong with achros are a large and growing segment of the refractor market. It's ok not to want one.

 

For narrow-band solar imaging (where longitudinal CA is not a factor), an achro will generally have less spherochromatinc aberration than a semi or full APO - especially the faster f ratio APO versions - and therefore perform better. As with most things you have to apply the right tool for the job to get the best performance.


Edited by BYoesle, 15 March 2019 - 12:30 PM.


#25 dscarpa

dscarpa

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3596
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2008
  • Loc: San Diego Ca.

Posted 15 March 2019 - 02:02 PM

 I wonder why Lunt went with EDs for their 80 and 100 scopes? David  


Edited by dscarpa, 15 March 2019 - 02:14 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics