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What is your favorite solar observing eyepiece?

accessories observing optics refractor solar eyepieces equipment
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#1 chemman

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 04:23 PM

So I am finding myself spending lots of time behind the eyepiece staring at the sun.  What is your most comfortable and enjoyable eyepiece to use?

 

 



#2 Hank Molesky

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 04:46 PM

I use the Astromonia 9mm 58 degree with my 102mm PS DS with very good images. I used the same eyepiece when I Had my 60mm DS. I also use the same brand in an 8mm for higher power. Not that the 9mm is low power, it’s just the way I like to look at the sun visually. For low power almost any Plossl 15mm on up is good. This is my preference.

Best......Hank


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#3 bigdob24

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:09 PM

If you have a Bino or access to a pair give them a try and you will be pleasantly surprised . 
It’s more comfortable viewing with two eyes and the Binos introduce more contrast and that means more detail.

I have a set of 24Pans a set of 15APMs and 10APMs. 
‘They do a good job , I’m still looking for more power on occasions 


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#4 CarlDD

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:09 PM

I choose the comfort of bino viewing,  usually a pair of Zeiss 25mm Aspheric Orthos in a TV BinoVue or any of my Tak Pairs ( 24mm LE's, 28mm Erfles, 30mm LE's & 32mm Abbe's ) always with winged eye guards.

I like to see the full disk and use lowish magnification of between x 30 and x50.

Best Regards

Carl


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#5 cptbobrfh

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:47 PM

With your Lunt 100mm,I have one word:

 

BINOVIEWER!

 

I have a William Optics Binoviewer. Very nice and it comes with (2)20mm Plossls AND a OCD corrector lens if you need it.

 

Once again,BINOVIEWER! 10mm-25mm Plossls(paired,same brand) will work nicely.

 

If you only want to use one eyepiece for NOW, the Lunt Zoom is a GREAT eyepiece to use for your Lunt 100mm.

 

Bob


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#6 MalVeauX

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:55 PM

Heya,

 

Binoviewer hands down. It's more comfortable, there's plenty of light, the stereo image is more 3D. It's so much easier than squinting for long periods of time. I prefer to do it at lower power in general. To increase magnification, I simply use a bigger, longer scope. I often use 32mm Plossls, 20mm 72 degree Garretts, 15mm 66 degree Expanses. For non-binoviewing, I'm most often just using a Lunt 7~21 zoom or Sybony 7~21 zoom (seems to be basically the same thing). I would love to have dual Baader Zooms!

 

49953599283_689959d9ff_c.jpg

 

BinoViewing_HA_C8Edge.jpg

 

Very best,


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#7 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 06:15 PM

I'm in the minority in that I hated binoviewing the sun. Most used eyepieces are 17.5mm Morpheus and 

Leica ASPH zoom, but I'm also fond of the 24mm Takahashi LE and Tak 18mm Abbe. 



#8 bobhen

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 07:46 PM

I’m also one of those people that don’t like to (or can't) use bino-viewers on anything.

 

I have a LUNT 100 SS and use a LUNT 7-21.5 zoom to test the seeing and see if there is anything happening of the sun. If there is some interesting activity and the seeing is decent out come the Delites. The Delites are sharper than the zoom, have a better-corrected field, a lot more ER and are "very comfortable" to use.

 

Bob

 

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#9 chemman

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 08:13 PM

With your Lunt 100mm,I have one word:

 

BINOVIEWER!

 

I have a William Optics Binoviewer. Very nice and it comes with (2)20mm Plossls AND a OCD corrector lens if you need it.

 

Once again,BINOVIEWER! 10mm-25mm Plossls(paired,same brand) will work nicely.

 

If you only want to use one eyepiece for NOW, the Lunt Zoom is a GREAT eyepiece to use for your Lunt 100mm.

 

Bob

So it sounds like most commenting here are behind binoviewers. 

 

Bob, why are Alpine Astronomical Baader twice as expensive as the William Optic and then the  Tele Vue even more expensive? What does the extra expense buy a bino?   And will I need a Glasspath corrector and if so which one?  Would a 2" nose piece be better than a 1-1/4"?


Edited by chemman, 12 July 2020 - 08:17 PM.


#10 chemman

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 11:19 PM

Heya,

 

Binoviewer hands down. It's more comfortable, there's plenty of light, the stereo image is more 3D. It's so much easier than squinting for long periods of time. I prefer to do it at lower power in general. To increase magnification, I simply use a bigger, longer scope. I often use 32mm Plossls, 20mm 72 degree Garretts, 15mm 66 degree Expanses. For non-binoviewing, I'm most often just using a Lunt 7~21 zoom or Sybony 7~21 zoom (seems to be basically the same thing). I would love to have dual Baader Zooms...

Marty, The William Optics binos are $270 with 20mm eyepieces and a 1.6x barlow.  Alpine Astronomical 2.6x Glasspath corrector with 2XBaader Hyperion zoom barlow is $1500.  So which binos are you using Marty?  

 

Chuck



#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 05:20 AM

Marty, The William Optics binos are $270 with 20mm eyepieces and a 1.6x barlow.  Alpine Astronomical 2.6x Glasspath corrector with 2XBaader Hyperion zoom barlow is $1500.  So which binos are you using Marty?  

 

Chuck

Hi Chuck,

 

Inexpensive Arcturus Binos:

 

https://www.cameraco...0mm-plossl.html

 

Same basic build as a W.O., but the key difference is the eyepiece holders are twist lock compression rather than thumb screws, no marring of your eyepieces, centers up on its own. Comes with 1.85x GPC and a standard nose and two 30mm eyepieces. Fantastic deal and they're solid binos, not plastic junk.

 

Very best,



#12 cptbobrfh

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 06:05 AM

So it sounds like most commenting here are behind binoviewers. 

 

Bob, why are Alpine Astronomical Baader twice as expensive as the William Optic and then the  Tele Vue even more expensive? What does the extra expense buy a bino?   And will I need a Glasspath corrector and if so which one?  Would a 2" nose piece be better than a 1-1/4"?

Hi,Chuck

 

Get either the Arcturus or the WO Binoviewer. You can't go wrong with either.

 

Bob



#13 sunnyday

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:08 AM

i use a lunt zoom and i like it .



#14 bigdob24

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:29 AM

I’ve got a pair of Denk II with a power switch that I’ve had forever and there great for solar and I can do night time dob or refractor observing.

The power switch gives me 3 mags from one set of eyepieces, nice



#15 Keith NC

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 11:43 AM

For sunspots the TV Nagler 3-6mm zoom.  Really let’s you crank the mag when the seeing steadies.
 

anxiously awaiting their return.  They have been away to long


Edited by Keith NC, 13 July 2020 - 11:46 AM.

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#16 Hank Molesky

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:46 PM

Hi Chuck,

 

Inexpensive Arcturus Binos:

 

https://www.cameraco...0mm-plossl.html

 

Same basic build as a W.O., but the key difference is the eyepiece holders are twist lock compression rather than thumb screws, no marring of your eyepieces, centers up on its own. Comes with 1.85x GPC and a standard nose and two 30mm eyepieces. Fantastic deal and they're solid binos, not plastic junk.

 

Very best,

These Arcturus Binos look awesome! I've had some TeleVue's in the past and I'm sure the TeleVues are better but I went ahead and ordered a set for my 102mm DS. I need some more excitement in my life and these are priced right so I thought I'd give them a try. Thanks Marty.

Hank


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#17 chemman

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:49 PM

These Arcturus Binos look awesome! I've had some TeleVue's in the past and I'm sure the TeleVues are better but I went ahead and ordered a set for my 102mm DS. I need some more excitement in my life and these are priced right so I thought I'd give them a try. Thanks Marty.

Hank

So I of course had to kick it up a notch and took Marty's next piece of advice and picked up two Baader 8-24mm zoom eyepieces complete with 2X2.25 Barlows.  

 

Thanks Marty.  


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#18 briansalomon1

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 10:56 PM

I've just been using TV plossls. It might just be inexperience, but I find eye positioning for H-alpha is so critical it seems like it would be so difficult to get everything lined up right in a bino viewer.

 

Don't you find positioning problematic with a binoviewer?



#19 Clearskyguy

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 09:20 AM

Like Skylab I use the Lunt 7 to 21mm zoom to see if anything really interesting is happening. When there is something of great interest I switch to Tak MC LE eyepieces with 5mm, 7.5mm, 12.5, and 18mm focal lengths. They are very sharp and bright. The 18mm is impressive for a full disk view. The 5mm needs a very steady sky, which I get more often that I expected. I found plossls work well but the Taks worked better. 

 

Joe



#20 Highburymark

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 05:38 PM

For cyclops: Pentax XF 6.5-19.5mm zoom is the best solar eyepiece. A step up from the Lunt zoom (which Is a rebranded Chinese eyepiece on sale under other brands for half the price). Should also mention the Leica asph zoom which is also excellent though expensive.
Otherwise, you can’t beat TV Plossls. Super sharp, excellent transmission. I also get very good views from 25mm Fujiyama orthos with AP barlow. Also Delite 18.2 work well in a binoviewer

#21 Eddgie

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 03:49 PM

There are very good reasons to go with the Baader and I will explain them to you.

 

First, for your scope, some form of amplification will become essential or you will not reach focus with the scope working at full aperture if you are using the BF1800. 

 

The BF1800 only fully illuminates about a 7mm circle which is fine because in the 100mm f/7, the sun is only about 6.5mm at the focal plane.  This means the full disk is illuminated along with some space around it for large dim prominences. 

 

Now if you use a 2x Barlow, you will shorten the light path of the BV by about half, but this still means that you have the eyepiece holder in the way, so the amount of inward focuser travel necessary will mean that the full disk of the sun will not be fully illuminated.  The BF only allows 42mm of inward travel before you start to loose edge of disk illumination, and at f/7, for every 7 millimeters you have to rack in the focuser to reach focus, you make your fully illuminated circle 1mm smaller.  This means that if you have to rack in 60mm to reach focus (18mm more than the BF1800 allows,) your fully illuminated disk goes from about  7mm to about 4mm.  If you have to rack in more than that, again, loose some illumination.

 

 

Ok, so why spend the extra money on the Maxbright.  Several good reasons.

 

The first is that the prisms are bigger and this means less vignetting when using faster scopes and if you want to get a full disk view, the larger prism will ensure that you get as big a field as possible.

 

Second, by using the T2 interface, you can remove the eyepiece holder from the top of the BF, and attach the BV directly to the top of the T2 threads on the BF-1800. This saves all of the light path of the eyepiece holder since it has been removed (22mm).  This mean that you will save 3mm of illuminated circle right there.

 

Next, Binovewers induce spherohromatism.  Now in normal visual use, this is not really much of an issue but spherchromatism is spherical aberration by wavelength, and if you are only using red, then you are getting whatever spherical aberration the prisms in your view.   The Baader has a special amplifier called a "Glass Path Corrector."  This is both an amplifier and a corrector for spherochromatism.

 

If you use the Baader 1.7x GPC, you will get the correction for spherochromatism and you will get lower power, so you get a wider true field of view.  While it is sold as 1.7x, it is common knowledge that the Baader GPC actually delivers more like 1.55x than 1.7x, so far lower power than you would get with a 2x Barlow.

 

Because the binoviewer will take 53mm of inward focus (if using the 1.7x GPC, but more than that using a 2x Barlow because you have the light path length of the eyepiece holder) you will not get a fully illuminted disk, but the fully illuminated disk you do get will be larger than the one you would get with the 2x Barlow which again, requires more inward focuser travel.

 

Now there is another device that will correct for spherochromatism.  That is the Televue Bino Vue 2x Amplifier. This will give you a fully illuminated image circle but it will also make the view 2x, but even with this, you can still get a full disk view of the sun but the lower power of the 1.7x GPC (again much more like 1.5x than 1.7x) would allow a nice field around the sun. In fact, with a pair of Hyperion zooms, you should still be able to get a full disk view of the sun! ( You need to do the math to double check on that.  Hyperion zoom is 20.1mm field stop at 24mm).

 

 

 

And there is more.  The eyepiece holder on the Baader Maxbright II uses a centering system while the inexpensive units use brass compression rings.  These rings can cause issues with eyepieces having safety undercuts.

 

The Baader eyepiece focus collets do not rotate when you use a zoom eyepiece.   With standard binoviewers, when you rotate the zoom, you have to hold the diopter to keep it from turning, or you have to screw the diopters down tight and focus for one zoom, the slip focus for the other.

 

And why so much emphasis on zooms?  Well, because if you are a solar or planetary observing (but especially true for solar) seeing is constantly changing and if you are having to change eyepieces a lot, you miss the moments of best seeing.  

If you decide not to use zooms, the Baader collet design makes changing eyepieces far quicker because rather than back off a compression band a few turns and risk moving the diopter, the Baader twist grips are like the Baader Qucklock.. They release the eyepiece with just a fraction of a turn and they turn in opposite direction, which seems counter-intuitive, but once you have used it, it is like "twist wrists in" or "twist wrists out" to swap eyepeices.  Since the micro-dipters don't turn during an eyepiece change, as soon as your new pair is in, you are already in focus and ready to observe rather than touch up focusing. 

 

Now I am going to show you a picture of my own setup and while I don't use the Baaders, I still recommend them because they are waaaay more friendly to use if you are changing eyepieces or if you are using zooms, but in my case, this binoviewer is dedicated to this application and I only use zooms so my eyepieces are permanently mounted and focused. The purpose of showing you this is to show you how the binoviewer can directly attach to the top of the BF-1800 saving a lot of light path.  Now mine has custom GPC install (nothing fancy, did it on my 3D printer) to save 3mm of light path but mine does not allow the GPC to be mounted inside the binoviewer the way the Maxbright does.

 

thumbnail_20191002_111615.jpg

 

And last but not least, the Baader has the big prisms that allow a wider field of view than most entry level BVs. If you want to use them in other scopes (and you may indeed want to use them for planetary observing) you can get a wider true field without the hard vignetting that occurs with smaller aperture devices.  

 

So, expensive as it is, the Baader will produce a lower power and wider field than the entry level BVs and in your scope, because you are starting with a disk that is 1.25mm or so disk than I get with my 80, it will illuminate more of that disk 100% than an entry level unit with the supplied non SA correcting barlow lens. 

 

The Televue 2x is also an excellent way to go, but if you do this with an entry level pair of BVs, you will spend much more on the Televue Bino Vue 2x than on the Baader GPC.  

 

If you decide to go with the entry level BVs, they can be converted to T2 use (as shown in my picture) but you would also have to buy some adapters to configure as shown in my picture.

 

To be very fair, the entry level BVs are generally excellent performers. I doubt that you would easily see much contrast difference between the Arcturus or similar BVs and the Baader, but the Baader is way superior in a almost every other way. 

 

The big question is "If you like them so much, why aren't you using them?"  I put my setup together before the Baaders came out and have since optimized it.  I don't change eyepieces so that means that I don't have to mess around with that. 

 

I have a second dedicated pair of binoviewers for planetary observing. It is also an Entry level and for that I use the Televue 2x.   But I have been binoviewing for a decade so I have all of the adapters and stuff and have a an extensive range of experience with binoviewer configuration on a variety of telescopes using an array of binoviewers from entry level to Mark V and BinoTron. 

 

In my opinion, if buying new, and in particular, if buying for solar work, spend the money on the Max II and the 1.7x GPC.  You get a far better binoviewer and a much lower "low" power with a nice full disk view. 

 

Remember.. Past 42mm of inward focuser travel, and the proms are loosing brightness.  Is it much? Well, that depends on how far past 42mm you go. 

 

(And I know that it sounds like I am compulsive but when you are paying $50 per millimeter of aperture, one would think that one would desire every square micrometer of the sun's already dim surface to be as bright and as contrast as possible.  While the difference these things (illumination level and Spherochromatism) make might be small, to me, it is important that I get as good a view as I can.)

 

A good binoviewer and a pair of zooms should be in everyone's visual solar system observing kit. 


Edited by Eddgie, 15 July 2020 - 03:50 PM.

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#22 Eddgie

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 03:55 PM

And I would emphasis again that the Baader GPC can be used with the entry level BVs by using a T2 converter from RAF Camera. To mount the GPC with this unit, you need to put a small T2 extension on the top of the BF which eats up 7mm.  With the Maxbright, the GPC mounts inside of the BV, but the light path is 10mm longer, so it is a wash and both units will take about 53mm or so of inward focuser travel. 

 

And here is the Televue Bino Vue 2x on a T2 converted entry level BV.  As I recall, this takes 30mm of inward travel but again, like the Baader GPC, it too fully corrects for spherochromatism (which would be just Spherical aberration in a single wavelength).  The Televue Bino Vue 2x comes with a T2 interface adatper right in the box. The BV still has to have the female thread or adapter unless it is a Televue, where is screws right on).

 

BV with TV.jpg

 

The other good thing about the TV is that almost all scopes will reach focus with it, including dobs.  I use it exclusively for planetary work along with a pair of Nikon zooms.  

 

 


Edited by Eddgie, 15 July 2020 - 04:00 PM.


#23 briansalomon1

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 08:40 AM

There are very good reasons to go with the Baader and I will explain them to you.

 

 

Second, by using the T2 interface, you can remove the eyepiece holder from the top of the BF, and attach the BV directly to the top of the T2 threads on the BF-1800. This saves all of the light path of the eyepiece holder since it has been removed (22mm).  This mean that you will save 3mm of illuminated circle right there.

 

 

 

OK, I'm ready to buy a Maxbright II. The specs say it comes with a "T2 cap nut connector" but it still isn't quite clear to me if this is the adapter I need to mate it directly to my Lunt BF.

 

Is this all I need?



#24 LDW47

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 09:03 AM

An 8-24 zoom ep with a variable polarizer filter set to just darken the views down a wee bit all on my new PST. To my eyes it it bumps up the contrast remarkably well.



#25 mwwk

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 02:07 PM

I like 24mm Panoptics in my Binotron with Power Switch




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