Greetings to all - I apologize for the length, but this is a really important decision for me and kind of an intro
I have been lurking, reading posts and looking at the fantastic pictures you all have been posting with great envy! I have been into night astronomy for 25 years and have dabbed a toe into solar observing a few times with your typical "normal" solar filters on my CPC 1100. As big and magnified as the sun looks, I have always been disappointed with the lack of detail besides seeing a few sunspots during high solar activity. A few years ago, I finally learned about Ha filtering but saw the cost and was very discouraged.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself getting really interested in trying solar observing again. I have a pretty big gift card from Amazon and was going to take advantage of the current Meade PST sale but was discouraged by the many posts I see referring to lack of detail, imaging issues, small aperture, inconsistent build, etc.
I then found out about Lunt telescopes. Although I don't have a ton to spend right now due to reduced hours, I figured that the 50mm B600 scope would be a big step up from the PST and that I could add the double stack later on when finances allow. It seems to be much better built, bigger aperture, able to be upgraded, and will perform better with my ZWO camera - with some spacers, etc. To add to that, the customer service seems stellar at Lunt, which is a big deal.
Then, I fell down the hole of too much research and found this Daystar Quark device being raved about. I originally thought "Wow, that would be great on my 6SE or 11, and quickly realized I would need a very expensive ERF and it would negate the aperture gain anyway.
I then started researching refractors, a telescope type I have never owned (only SCTs.) Achromatic vs apo, 80 vs 100 vs 120, and my head started to hurt. The one thing I did seem to learn is that for only solar viewing, achromat's issues don't seem to matter all that much, which could potentially save me some $.
So, I am left with the decision - the Lunt 50mm B600 (which I can mount on my Nexstar 6SE setup easily, eliminating the cost of another mount), or a Quark/refractor. If I go the Quark/refractor route, I will need to pick out both a refractor and a new mount, since I would not think a refractor over 80 mm would work with my existing mount.
Lunt - $900 USD
Quark - $1200
Refractor - $300 -
Mount - $100 - ??
I would rather not have to buy multiple times, so I am ok with spending a little more now to not have to upgrade later.
Thanks very much for your patience and time reading this and I appreciate any help/advice you could give.