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Quark + Zenithstar 61 for Solar Imaging?

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#1 Jireh

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:24 PM

I have been thinking about getting into solar imaging for a while now but it just seemed so expensive. I already have so much money tied up into DSO imaging I couldn't justify spending another small fortune. However, the Daystar Quark products seems very interesting. I had been considering selling my Zenithstar 61 (+flattener) but I'm wondering what you seasoned pros think of the Z61 and Quark prominence as a decent solar imaging setup? Any other recommended accessories, thoughts, advice?

#2 joelin

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:43 PM

I've tried it. It's a good way to get full disc views with an ASI1600 and any reducer screwed right next to the sensor. You might get full disc views with an APS-C sensor and no reducer. 

 

At f/6, surface detail will not be as visible as f/7-f/8 because the Quark operates optimally around f/30-35 (with the 4.2x barlow). You have the Quark prom, so I think that works well the lower focal ratio. 

 

You will need a 60mm extension tube to reach focus. A camera angle adjuster may be helpful to eliminate newton's rings due to the weight of the camera bending the optical train. If you upgraded the focuser, you might not need the tilter.

 

 

The hard thing is doing flats. I still don't know of a good way. Maybe with some kind of diffuser against the sun?


Edited by joelin, 13 January 2020 - 04:45 PM.

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#3 wrnchhead

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:08 PM

I am looking at getting into this also sometime in the future but for flats I have read you just defocus the sun
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#4 RickV

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:36 PM

Hi Jireh,

 

Z61 and Quark prominence?

I say the Z61 would be fine but I would opt for a Quark Chromosphere instead of the poorer (wider) bandwidth of the Prominence model... same price.

 

Your Zenithstar 61:

Aperture 61mm
Focal Ratio F/5.9
Focal Length 360 mm

 

My Zenithstar 66:

Aperture 66mm
Focal Ratio F/5.9
Focal Length 389 mm

I use my Zenithstar 66, aperture reduced to 32mm, for full disc images (with a 0.63X) reducer on the scope and a 0.45X reducer after my Quark Chromosphere to fit an image onto my ZWO ASI 178MM (small sensor).

 

I also use my Quark Chromosphere on my 120mm and 152mm scopes for close up imaging of prominences, sunspots and plages.  You could do the same with either your Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED or your Explore Scientific 127ED.

 

I hope that helps,

 

Best,

Rick


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#5 RickV

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:39 PM

The hard thing is doing flats. I still don't know of a good way. Maybe with some kind of diffuser against the sun?

I am looking at getting into this also sometime in the future but for flats I have read you just defocus the sun

Marty (Malveaux) uses a bag from a serial box (e.g. corn flakes, etc.) over the objective and reports good results.

 

Best,

Rick


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#6 joelin

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:53 PM

I am looking at getting into this also sometime in the future but for flats I have read you just defocus the sun

that only works if the sun completely covers the sensor

 

for a large sensor and Z61, you'll have full disk...the defocused flat will seriously ruin the image...i've tried it 


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#7 descott12

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:56 PM

Marty (Malveaux) uses a bag from a serial box (e.g. corn flakes, etc.) over the objective and reports good results.

 

 

When you add in the cost for the quark, this is getting pretty expensive!!


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#8 44ye

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:10 PM

The cheapest way to get into solar is using BAADER  solar film or a solar wedge in white light but the sun is at solar min.so not much to see now

film sheets starting $19.00 https://agenaastro.c...et-2459286.html

herschel wedge $475 https://www.baader-p...chel-prism.html

These are cheaper but they are white light  and again not much going  on in any wave length

Don


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#9 MalVeauX

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:38 PM

I have been thinking about getting into solar imaging for a while now but it just seemed so expensive. I already have so much money tied up into DSO imaging I couldn't justify spending another small fortune. However, the Daystar Quark products seems very interesting. I had been considering selling my Zenithstar 61 (+flattener) but I'm wondering what you seasoned pros think of the Z61 and Quark prominence as a decent solar imaging setup? Any other recommended accessories, thoughts, advice?

Hrm... selling your good Z61 and flattener, to get a Quark... well, same price, or similar, gets you a 60mm Lunt. I'm not sure of your seeing levels in the day time where you are, but I would argue for the 60mm Lunt unless you know your seeing can support a larger aperture. Quarks are great, if you get a good sample. Lunt's are great in general. The 60mm Lunt can be upgraded, double stacked, etc, as the maximum returns. The Daystar cannot. Depends on your goals, but if your overall budget is about $1200, I would say you have more options to consider, but it really depends on long term goals and utilization.

 

The hard thing is doing flats. I still don't know of a good way. Maybe with some kind of diffuser against the sun?

Flats are easy. Look at my images. For full FOV filling image scales, defocus method works very well. For non-full disc FOV, as in, partial disc views, you have to do something else (ie a diffuser, such as a plastic opaque bag acting as a diffuser, ie something that scatters light).

 

that only works if the sun completely covers the sensor

 

for a large sensor and Z61, you'll have full disk...the defocused flat will seriously ruin the image...i've tried it 

That is accurate with the defocus method. However, you can make perfect flats without defocusing, with a real diffuser (such as opaque plastic bags). You do not have to have the entire FOV filled with the sun to perform a diffuse based flat, such as with an opaque plastic material. The key is that the material used to be the diffuser is placed away from the aperture into the scope, and not snug to it. You do not defocus doing this method. Focus, then place the diffuser in front of the aperture, it will greatly lower transmission. Then increase exposure values until your histogram is filled to 65% approximately with as little gain as possible. Then create your flat calibration frame. It doesn't matter if your exposure is even 1 second here, it's out of focus and only the gradient matters. This will work with partial discs, even with the void of space showing. You can look at my recent full disc images which are mosaics made with this method with lots of partial disc shots.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 13 January 2020 - 09:40 PM.

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#10 Jireh

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:38 PM

Hi Jireh,

 

Z61 and Quark prominence?

I say the Z61 would be fine but I would opt for a Quark Chromosphere instead of the poorer (wider) bandwidth of the Prominence model... same price.

 

Your Zenithstar 61:

Aperture 61mm
Focal Ratio F/5.9
Focal Length 360 mm

 

My Zenithstar 66:

Aperture 66mm
Focal Ratio F/5.9
Focal Length 389 mm

I use my Zenithstar 66, aperture reduced to 32mm, for full disc images (with a 0.63X) reducer on the scope and a 0.45X reducer after my Quark Chromosphere to fit an image onto my ZWO ASI 178MM (small sensor).

 

I also use my Quark Chromosphere on my 120mm and 152mm scopes for close up imaging of prominences, sunspots and plages.  You could do the same with either your Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED or your Explore Scientific 127ED.

 

I hope that helps,

 

Best,

Rick

Thanks, Rick. This is all very new to me so I have many questions.

 

What is the reasoning for the Prominence version if I can do the same with the Chromosphere?

Do I need anything additional to image with my Esprit and ES127? Would I be in any danger of damaging them?

I understand having the reducer on the scope but why another after the Quark? Seems like you would have plenty of reduction to get a full disc with the 0.63x reducer.

 

Thanks!



#11 Jireh

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:39 PM

The cheapest way to get into solar is using BAADER  solar film or a solar wedge in white light but the sun is at solar min.so not much to see now

film sheets starting $19.00 https://agenaastro.c...et-2459286.html

herschel wedge $475 https://www.baader-p...chel-prism.html

These are cheaper but they are white light  and again not much going  on in any wave length

Don

Thanks, but I'm definitely interested in imaging prominence and/or surface texture.



#12 Jireh

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:45 PM

Hrm... selling your good Z61 and flattener, to get a Quark... well, same price, or similar, gets you a 60mm Lunt. I'm not sure of your seeing levels in the day time where you are, but I would argue for the 60mm Lunt unless you know your seeing can support a larger aperture. Quarks are great, if you get a good sample. Lunt's are great in general. The 60mm Lunt can be upgraded, double stacked, etc, as the maximum returns. The Daystar cannot. Depends on your goals, but if your overall budget is about $1200, I would say you have more options to consider, but it really depends on long term goals and utilization.

Actually, I was considering selling the Z61 until I thought it might be a good scope to go a long with a Quark. So I would be keeping it in this scenario.

 

I'm really not sure of my long-term goals. Like deep space imaging, I jumped in with the best scope and mount I could afford and grew into it. I don't get a lot of clear nights and solar images I've seen really piqued my interest. So I thought I would try to leverage my existing gear and stick my toe into the solar imaging pool. So you think the Lunt would maybe be a better option than the Z61/Quark combo?



#13 marktownley

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:36 AM

I use a 60mm/f6 with my quark, it works well for full disks and makes a nice portable setup.



#14 MalVeauX

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:48 AM

Actually, I was considering selling the Z61 until I thought it might be a good scope to go a long with a Quark. So I would be keeping it in this scenario.

 

I'm really not sure of my long-term goals. Like deep space imaging, I jumped in with the best scope and mount I could afford and grew into it. I don't get a lot of clear nights and solar images I've seen really piqued my interest. So I thought I would try to leverage my existing gear and stick my toe into the solar imaging pool. So you think the Lunt would maybe be a better option than the Z61/Quark combo?

A Quark on a refractor or a dedicated Lunt or Coronado are all good setups. It's just preference, mechanical differences and differences in imaging setups. It depends if you want the option to double-stack your system one day for higher contrast and removal of parasitic continuum leaking into the view/image. Gotta think long game on this one so that you're not stuck. The Quark is a great entry option, but you can't easily double-stack it and it's ideal operation is in the F30~40+ range, so for imaging, that means focal reducers and cameras with really big pixels to ideally sample. It's harder to do a full disc, easily, with a Quark because it's internal 4.3x telecentric amplifier is designed to feed a telecentric F30+ beam into the etalon. That said, imaging with larger apertures is the real allure to the Quark in my opinion, because it's a fast easy way to get into using apertures of 80mm, 102mm, 120mm, 127mm, and even 150mm with refractors without needing very expensive full aperture D-ERFs to handle the thermal load. So a Quark is a great way to get into higher resolution solar imaging of features, if your seeing supports these image scales and resolutions (lucky imaging). A dedicated scope like the Lunt or Coronado will make it a lot easier to do full disc imaging, they're fast focal-ratio systems so ideal cameras have smaller pixels to sample. No electronic boards, instant tuning, no waiting. And there's something to say about having Lunt's support if anything is not right. I have both kinds of systems. They all are used for similar and different things, so again, it's all about preference, what you want to do, where you want to go long term, etc.

 

I think if the goal was a 60mm aperture and the choice was Quark or Lunt or Coronado, I think I'd get the Lunt over all of them, at this aperture range, because you can future double-stack it and have Lunt's support long term, with the biggest blocking filter diameter you can get (don't settle for the 5~6mm range if you can help it, go 10mm or larger if you can). If your goal was high resolution solar imaging and your seeing supports it, I would get the Quark.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 14 January 2020 - 06:52 AM.


#15 RickV

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:59 AM

Thanks, Rick. This is all very new to me so I have many questions.

 

What is the reasoning for the Prominence version if I can do the same with the Chromosphere?

Do I need anything additional to image with my Esprit and ES127? Would I be in any danger of damaging them?

I understand having the reducer on the scope but why another after the Quark? Seems like you would have plenty of reduction to get a full disc with the 0.63x reducer.

 

Thanks!

The etalons (Ha interference filters) are manufactured in batches.  After process completion, they are sorted by quality and bandwidth.  The better ones go into the expensive Quantum series.  The mediocre ones go into Quark Chromospheres and the poorer ones (wider bandwidth) go into Quark Prominence units.  The Prominence unit may show proms a mite brighter but the unit will not show as much surface detail.  The Quark Chromosphere will excel at revealing surface details and do a great job on the proms as well.

 

You will need a dielectric UV/IR cut filter in front of the Quark.  e.g. Either a 48mm, which I use, or a 1.25".  On the smaller aperture 61mm, no UV/IR cut filter is needed.

 

Reduction.  Ah but the Quark contains an internal 4.2x Barlow.  Further, it depends upon the camera.  For full disc images with my Z66, I use a ZWO ASI178MM with 3096x2080 pixels of size 2.4µm.  Since the sun is round, the maximum images size I can record is 2080x2080 pixels.  2080 x 2.4µm = 4.99mm.  My maximum image size is limited by my camera's sensor to 5mm x 5mm.

It turns out that I need a focal length at the camera of about 450mm to have a full-solar disc cover most of the sensor.

The focal length of my Z66 is 389mm.  I use a 0.63 reducer before the Quark and the focal length becomes 389 x 0.63 = 245mm.  The Quark contains a 4.2x telecentric Barlow, so the focal length out of the Quark is 245mm x 4.2 = 1029mm.  I have to reduce that down to about 450mm, so I use a reducer of 450 / 1029 = 0.44X (just a 0.5x reducer spaced out from the camera).

 

Best,

Rick


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#16 MikeMiller

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:29 AM

When you add in the cost for the quark, this is getting pretty expensive!!

Yeah, but you can eat the cornflakes; so that offsets the cost.


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