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What do you think of the Meade Coronados?

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#1 daslolo

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:19 PM

I'm hesitating between two different worlds: The world of stars and planets far away, the world of the sun and its structure.

 

 

The Coronados off course look like piece of art from Captain Nemo so there is the aesthetic aspect which is attractive, seeing sun structure will be new as I only had a SCT from celestron before.

 

I was wondering if anyone of you has a solar telescope and what is your experience, with these ones in particular.

 



#2 Tyson M

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:25 PM

I really like mine, a Solarmax II 60  bf15.    Usable in cold temperatures unlike the lunt pressure tuned solar scopes.

 

I would give the slight edge to mechanical quality to the lunt, based on the stock focuser alone.  I solved this issue by replacing the helical focuser stock on the coronado and changing it to a moonlite, as seen here.

 

I'd only sell it to eventually get a larger solar scope.

 

20200105_141439.jpg


Edited by Tyson M, 18 January 2020 - 10:26 PM.

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#3 Myk Rian

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:59 PM

Be aware that Meade has filed for bankruptcy. Support may be nonexistent.



#4 SeattleScott

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 11:25 PM

Chapter 11 not 7. What kind of support are we talking about? One year warranty? Meade will be around that long. Then what? Spare parts? I get the whole caution on Meade if buying a GoTo SCT but what is going to break on a solar scope? Besides, if Meade does go under, Coronado could be sold off and continue operating.

I like my PST. Super convenient. Sun is a bit boring these days though. Sometimes I wish I had the 60mm to pack a little more punch, but it does well for an entry level H-alpha.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 18 January 2020 - 11:28 PM.

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#5 viewer

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 11:30 PM

I like my PST too. My guess is that Coronado will be transferred to some other company which continues support.



#6 james7ca

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 11:42 PM

I think the only temperature related problem with the Lunt pressure-tuned solar telescopes is with the blocking filter and even then it may not happen on all samples. However, to be safe and if you are working in cold temperatures (freezing?) then all you should have to do is warm the blocking filter (diagonal) using a dew heater strip. Some even find that a half hour in the sun will provide the necessary warmth.

 

That said, the pressure tuner is (obviously) sensitive to significant changes in air pressure and air temperature can affect the tuning but normally all that should be required to "fix" that problem is to unscrew/reset the pressure tuner cylinder itself (something that you may also have to do with large changes in altitude or after the scope has been stored for a long period of time). This is a pretty easy and quick procedure and one reset you should be good for hours/days/weeks or months depending upon your situation (i.e. you probably won't have to do this that often).

 

As for the focuser, the Lunt LS50 uses a helical unit and I decided to replace that with a Feathertouch since I use that scope mostly for imaging. The Lunt helical focuser isn't horrible, but a rack-and-pinion or Crayford style is better for most purposes.


Edited by james7ca, 18 January 2020 - 11:46 PM.

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#7 Paul Hyndman

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 12:00 AM

There are several manufacturers and many options available to provide a range from "mild" to "knock-your-socks-off" solar Ha. A good starting point might be to peruse the Solar Observing and Imaging section of the Observing forum here.

 

 

My own solar Ha nirvana comes from my 90/90/30 Coronado/AP Traveler (seen here at NEAF... I'm the geek in the Hawaiian shirt):

 

 

 

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#8 sunnyday

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:18 AM

I consider the helical unit to be the weak point of the 50mm lunt, that's the reason why I bought the 60mm, I also find that the image is brighter with the lunt than the coronado, my opinion

 

I think the only temperature related problem with the Lunt pressure-tuned solar telescopes is with the blocking filter and even then it may not happen on all samples. However, to be safe and if you are working in cold temperatures (freezing?) then all you should have to do is warm the blocking filter (diagonal) using a dew heater strip. Some even find that a half hour in the sun will provide the necessary warmth.

 

That said, the pressure tuner is (obviously) sensitive to significant changes in air pressure and air temperature can affect the tuning but normally all that should be required to "fix" that problem is to unscrew/reset the pressure tuner cylinder itself (something that you may also have to do with large changes in altitude or after the scope has been stored for a long period of time). This is a pretty easy and quick procedure and one reset you should be good for hours/days/weeks or months depending upon your situation (i.e. you probably won't have to do this that often).

 

As for the focuser, the Lunt LS50 uses a helical unit and I decided to replace that with a Feathertouch since I use that scope mostly for imaging. The Lunt helical focuser isn't horrible, but a rack-and-pinion or Crayford style is better for most purposes.

hi,

I consider the helical unit to be the weak point of the 50mm lunt, that's the reason why I bought the 60mm, I also find that the image is brighter with the lunt than the coronado, my opinion.



#9 daslolo

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 01:50 AM

Thank you all.

What prices are we talking about to have a good first solar viewing?

I perused the classified section and was surprised to see all solar scopes sold, popular or rare?

 

Sun is a bit boring these days though.

Boring? What's happening, no more magnetic storm taking out all satellites wink.gif



#10 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:39 AM

Boring because we are at solar minimum in the 11 year magnetic cycle. Also, the last maximum was one of the lowest maximums on record and there is speculation that we may be entering an extended period of very little magnetic activity on the sun like the Maunder Minimum. So very few sunspots or other detail on the surface of the sun. But there have been small prominences.

I have a 60mm tilt tuned Lunt that I picked up last year when they had an incredible sale on them. Something like 40% off. Well worth it at that price.

I am visual only and I've only had a chance to use it a few times. Lately not at all due to clouds but we had a happy surprise of clear weather for a few hours to watch the last half of the Mercury transit last November. Wow! That was cool. Mercury, the sun, several prominences and a pair of geese transited the sun while I was watching.

I have no complaints about the 60mm tilt tuned Lunt. Tuning is easy and performance is rather stunning. There haven't been any sun spots since I have had the scope but I've seen prominences every time I have looked at the sun with it, some of them very small.

Even very small prominences were easy to spot from the first time I set the scope up, which happened to be on a ball head camera tripod, since that was what I had convenient when the scope arrived. It's too heavy for regular use on a camera tripod but it "worked" for lower power views and I could easily make out prominences the first time I looked through the scope with an old cheapo 25mm plossel.

I have since purchased the Lunt zoom but it's been nothing but clouds and a couple sucker holes here for weeks.

Edited by Ihtegla Sar, 19 January 2020 - 04:41 AM.


#11 Alan French

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 09:10 AM

Our pressure tuned Lunt 80 came in November and showed essentially no detail. Lunt found the blocking filter was being pinched and quickly corrected the problem under warranty. We've been extremely happy with its performance since, less happy with the Sun's performance lately.

 

I suspect, once Lunt knew about the problem, they took measures to prevent it.

 

Clear skies, Alan



#12 MalVeauX

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 09:44 AM

Thank you all.

What prices are we talking about to have a good first solar viewing?

I perused the classified section and was surprised to see all solar scopes sold, popular or rare?

 

Boring? What's happening, no more magnetic storm taking out all satellites wink.gif

There's always something to see in HA. Even in the peak of the minimum. Always.

 

Any 40~60mm class HA scope will get you started. There's also Daystar Quarks to get you started with any current refractor you already have. Binoviewing is truly unreal with solar. I would look long and hard at Lunt 60mm with a 6mm blocking filter. Lots of upgrade and accessories pathways on that scope if you want dedicated. Solarmax scopes are good, but I would wait before buying a new one until the dust settles with their lawsuit stuff to see what's happening there. Lunt has excellent support for their instruments. Otherwise, a used Daystar Quark will get you going with a current scope and is binoviewer ready out of the box.

 

A Quark on an 80mm~100mm refractor with binoviewers is truly a marvel to browse the limb in HA. Affordable aperture in HA-land comes from rear-mounted etalon designs like Quarks. Dedicated scopes, like Lunt/Coronado/etc cost much, much more to get a large enough D-ERF and large etalon apertures for big aperture short focal length designs. So if you really want to explore higher resolution viewing, it's cheaper to do it with a Quark.

 

If you want to view the whole disc mostly at a time and have the ability to future double-stack and don't mind smaller aperture and lower power views, a Lunt 60 would be what I would start with.

 

A used PST is a great way to at least test the water too, but overall they're not something I would suggest for your primary solar instrument. But good for a taste and sharing.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 19 January 2020 - 09:48 AM.

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#13 johnpeter2

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 02:04 PM

Chapter 11 not 7. What kind of support are we talking about? One year warranty? Meade will be around that long. Then what? Spare parts? I get the whole caution on Meade if buying a GoTo SCT but what is going to break on a solar scope? Besides, if Meade does go under, Coronado could be sold off and continue operating.

Let's see.  I bought a SolarMax II 60 last year and Meade replaced it because of a stained blocking filter.  Then the replacement had a damaged draw tube, which Meade repaired.  That's twice last year I needed their customer support.  Then there was almost a third time when I was carrying my Orion refractor and the end of it whacked the SolarMax which was sitting innocently on a tripod, decapitating one of the nylon screws.  (This happened a couple days after Orion won the verdict against Meade, so I thought that was kind of ironic, symbolic, or something).  Fortunately a nylon screw was easy to replace, but if the impact had occurred a few millimeters lower I would have needed Meade's customer support again.

 

Now, I had some frustrations with their customer support (hard to reach by phone, unexplained delays, etc.), but that is so much better than having no support at all.  No scope (solar or otherwise) is immune to damage or being defective; if nothing else, it can be dropped.  Customer support is a very important consideration, and right now that is a very big question mark over Meade.

 

John



#14 johnpeter2

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 02:15 PM

I really like mine, a Solarmax II 60  bf15.    Usable in cold temperatures unlike the lunt pressure tuned solar scopes.

 

I would give the slight edge to mechanical quality to the lunt, based on the stock focuser alone.  I solved this issue by replacing the helical focuser stock on the coronado and changing it to a moonlite, as seen here.

Did you have any difficulty in unscrewing the internal lens?  I am interested in replacing the helical focuser with a Moonlite, but I can't unscrew that internal lens (step 2 in the instructions that Moonlite provide on their website) no matter how hard I try.  Until I can successfully unscrew it I'm not ordering a new focuser.

 

John



#15 BeltofOrion

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:25 PM

I purchased a Coronado double stacked 70mm Solar Max III with a 15mm blocking filter late last summer and I love it. There is one problem with it, however ... it doesn't come with a guarantee that the sun will shine. lol.gif  Up this way, around this time of the year, blue skies with the sun shining is a rare occurance ... extremely rare! I don't mind the solar minimum, though ... because, as Marty said up above, there is always something to see in Ha. And besides, the anticipation of what moving into solar maximum will provide is enough to keep me trying to hone my skill on what I can manage to capture now ... on those rare occasions when the sun does cooperate, that is.



#16 daslolo

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:57 PM

I would give the slight edge to mechanical quality to the lunt, based on the stock focuser alone.  I solved this issue by replacing the helical focuser stock on the coronado and changing it to a moonlite, as seen here.

attachicon.gif20200105_141439.jpg

This is gorgeous. What's involved in such mod and how do you avoid letting dust in?

 

 there is always something to see in Ha.

Such as?

My understand of HA is it happens during hydrogen transition into a plasma, stars do that, what else?

 

 

 

Any 40~60mm class HA scope will get you started. There's also Daystar Quarks to get you started with any current refractor you already have. Binoviewing is truly unreal with solar. I would look long and hard at Lunt 60mm with a 6mm blocking filter. Lots of upgrade and accessories pathways on that scope if you want dedicated. Solarmax scopes are good, but I would wait before buying a new one until the dust settles with their lawsuit stuff to see what's happening there. Lunt has excellent support for their instruments. Otherwise, a used Daystar Quark will get you going with a current scope and is binoviewer ready out of the box.

 

A Quark on an 80mm~100mm refractor with binoviewers is truly a marvel to browse the limb in HA. Affordable aperture in HA-land comes from rear-mounted etalon designs like Quarks. Dedicated scopes, like Lunt/Coronado/etc cost much, much more to get a large enough D-ERF and large etalon apertures for big aperture short focal length designs. So if you really want to explore higher resolution viewing, it's cheaper to do it with a Quark.

 

If you want to view the whole disc mostly at a time and have the ability to future double-stack and don't mind smaller aperture and lower power views, a Lunt 60 would be what I would start with.

There is a lot to digest here so let me bring back my good friend the bullet list.

  1. I read that quark HA have two models depending one viewing target (prominence or chromo), and are $1000 a pop, what's your experience with that? do the lunt and solarmax have a continuous tune to either target?
  2. I love your idea of the binoviewer. These cut 1" in aperture I read, which isn't a problem with solar viewing :D what do you recommend?
  3. doesn't pointing a scope to the sun risk damaging the inside because it's black? or warp the mirror? Or perhapse there is a primary filter that you put at the entrance of the scope that prevents overheating... or maybe that's why you mentioned a refractor and not a Mak
  4. what's the difference in viewing between a quark and a dedicated?

Overall I'm super tempted to hack a white light scope into solar with a quark, I just like the idea of being active in the construction of the tool and don't mind the learning curve as I've truly enjoyed learning to build and fly acro (for the quad folks out there waytogo.gif)



#17 bigdob24

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:53 PM

“I read that quark HA have two models depending one viewing target (prominence or chromo), and are $1000 a pop, what's your experience with that? do the lunt and solarmax have a continuous tune to either target?”

 

I bought a Quark Chromo from Jen at DayStar. She was at HOASP set up selling quarks.

Her recommendation was to get the Chromo for best results in observing both surface and proms. I believe it was the right choice as I enjoyed it on my WO 132mm .

You don’t seem many Prom Quarks for sale on the used market as Chromo.

Good choice if you have a refractor .

 

“I love your idea of the binoviewer. These cut 1" in aperture I read, which isn't a problem with solar viewing laugh.gif what do you recommend?”

 

Ive never heard that Binos cut an inch in aperture?

I do know that bino viewing with my Lunt 100 greatly increases the contrast so it helps with seeing details. I don’t observe with out them, big difference.

 

‘doesn't pointing a scope to the sun risk damaging the inside because it's black? or warp the mirror? Or perhapse there is a primary filter that you put at the entrance of the scope that prevents overheating... or maybe that's why you mentioned a refractor and not a Mak
what's the difference in viewing between a quark and a dedicated?”

 

I believe with knowledge and proper filtration refractors are safe , never had any need to try a dob. I’d guess that maybe an aperture reducing mask they could work well, someone else may have some experience here.

A Quark has to be installed on a refractor of an acceptable F ratio to work, Mine took 6 min to come on band after an adjustment. I sold mine to get a dedicated solar scope for easier setup, my Quark and the WO132 did not provide a full disk view , amazing detail but no full disk.

Thats another reason for the move to a Lunt 100, full disk and lots of detail. Just got a DS but have not used it yet, that will provide even more surface detail, contrast.

Just my experience from a visual observer

BD 


Edited by bigdob24, 20 January 2020 - 07:55 PM.


#18 daslolo

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 04:59 AM

“I read that quark HA have two models depending one viewing target (prominence or chromo), and are $1000 a pop, what's your experience with that? do the lunt and solarmax have a continuous tune to either target?”

 

I bought a Quark Chromo from Jen at DayStar. She was at HOASP set up selling quarks.

Her recommendation was to get the Chromo for best results in observing both surface and proms. I believe it was the right choice as I enjoyed it on my WO 132mm .

You don’t seem many Prom Quarks for sale on the used market as Chromo.

Good choice if you have a refractor .

 

“I love your idea of the binoviewer. These cut 1" in aperture I read, which isn't a problem with solar viewing laugh.gif what do you recommend?”

 

Thats another reason for the move to a Lunt 100, full disk and lots of detail. Just got a DS but have not used it yet, that will provide even more surface detail, contrast.

Just my experience from a visual observer

BD 

Have you ever taken photos through the WO and the Lunt? I'd like to see the difference in detail and color between a quark and a solar scope.



#19 bigdob24

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 09:58 AM

Have you ever taken photos through the WO and the Lunt? I'd like to see the difference in detail and color between a quark and a solar scope.

No photos

I will commit on a visual comparison . The Quark on the WO 132mm as I remember has shown me more detail than my Lunt 100 so far.
In the Lunts defense I’ve not had it very long and have not had an excellent day for seeing to pump up the mag.

BD


Edited by bigdob24, 21 January 2020 - 09:58 AM.


#20 Volvonium

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 07:17 PM

I had the unique opportunity to own a Coronado 60mm BF5 (5mm blocking filter) and Lunt 60 Pressure Tuned B1800 (18mm blocking filter) at the same time.   

 

They are both very good scopes when working as intended and have no underlying issues. I felt that my Coronado, which I recently sold, displayed better, slightly higher contrast surface details when monoviewing than the Lunt, but the Lunt edged it out when it came to the appearance of proms.  I thought that both scopes were exceptional and highly enjoyable to use.

 

Even with the helical focuser on the Coronado, I had no issues reaching ultrasharp focus after sliding out the diagonal for rough focus.  The Lunt operates in a similar way, where you back out the blocking filter a bit, to get within the range of the focuser controls.  When it came time to get on band, the odd thing with my pressure tuned Lunt is that I am just a full turn away from being fully unscrewed to be on band for proms, and then require some travel to hone in on surface details.  It's a very different feel that I haven't totally gotten used to.   With the Coronado, the tilt knob provided a more traditional "snap" like a focuser when getting on band.  The Coronado's tilt adjustment knob feels a little loose with some image shift like an SCT, but I never had any issues of it falling out of setting.  Neither telescope had trouble staying on band.

 

The primary reason I kept the Lunt was because I got a screaming deal on it and it came with a large 18mm blocking filter, which is suitable for binoviewer use.  I have yet to try my binoviewers on my Lunt.  Coronado sells larger blocking filters, but with the turmoil and uncertainty at Meade, I would be concerned about receiving proper technical support if I ever needed it, so Lunt it was for me.  



#21 daslolo

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:15 PM

The Coronado's tilt adjustment knob feels a little loose with some image shift like an SCT,

Can you explain what you mean?

 

The Quark on the WO 132mm as I remember has shown me more detail than my Lunt 100 so far.

The WO is the high end from what I'm reading. Why do you get more detail on the Quark? they both have 0.5A bandwidth. 

The power cord is to keep the double mirror at temperature?

I read on Fabry-Perot etalon and it is quite interesting, it's a very simple mechanism but I bet it is much harder to guaranty the distance between the mirrors when they're large, it seems easy to miniaturize though.

What's the difference between compound and original Quark? They both seem to work with a mak with energy filter at the opening.

 

I'm looking at photos of aH and other frequencies and I'm wondering if sodium or magnesium would be more beautiful and active. 

Can either be used for observing other astral bodies revealing details not seen in white light?


Edited by daslolo, 21 January 2020 - 11:31 PM.


#22 BYoesle

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 01:48 AM

HI daslolo,

 

It seems like you really could benefit from a bit more research and get up to speed on solar and narrow band filters in order to make an informed decision. I would suggest reviewing this thread and the links therein.

 

You should also consider getting this book - currently the overall best available introduction on solar observation and instruments. waytogo.gif


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#23 daslolo

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 03:23 AM

HI daslolo,

 

It seems like you really could benefit from a bit more research and get up to speed on solar and narrow band filters in order to make an informed decision. I would suggest reviewing this thread and the links therein.

 

You should also consider getting this book - currently the overall best available introduction on solar observation and instruments. waytogo.gif

Thanks Bob! book ordered and I just finished reading the thread and learned a lot - especially about the blackout with higher magnification.



#24 bigdob24

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 09:41 AM

“The WO is the high end from what I'm reading. Why do you get more detail on the Quark? they both have 0.5A bandwidth.”

Some will question that my WO is high end , but it is a very nice scope for the price

It gave more detail because of the aperture and the resolution I was able to get on a good day.

 

 

Bob “Observing The Sun” is a very good read , I go back and page through it all the time.

BD



#25 BYoesle

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 12:44 PM

You're welcome daslolo wink.gif

 

BTW, in my opinion sodium and magnesium aren't worth it. The best wavelengths for solar observation and imaging are 540 nm using the Baader Continuum for the photosphere, along with H alpha at 656 nm and CaK at 394 nm for the chromosphere. Everything else is a bit redundant to what these filters can provide. Most people start with continuum and H alpha before moving to CaK - which due to yellowing of the eye's lens as we age becomes less of a visual and more of an imaging wavelength.

 

Hi bigdob24

 

Jamey Jenkins knows his stuff!

 

I'm really looking forward to the English translation of Solar Astronomy compiled by Christian Viladrich due out later this year. It will have additional material, and looks like it's the new definitive amateur solar reference for equipment and observing. It will likely replace the Solar Astronomy Handbook, which is a little dated now after a couple of decades. However, this was the comprehensive reference which got me interested in the Herschel wedge, and led to my enclosed/vented design, which now has become the standard for refractor continuum observation.


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