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Hydrogen Alpha Newbie - Chromosphere vs Prominence

beginner solar
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#1 aeromarmot

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 04:04 PM

Newbie to Hydrogen Alpha.  Planning on telescope for visual and imaging.  Interested in both chromosphere and prominence, but do not want to buy two scopes.

 

Is it better to buy a chromosphere telescope and have compromised prominence viewing or buy prominence telescope and have compromised chromosphere viewing?  Looking for best bang for the buck.


Edited by aeromarmot, 15 August 2020 - 04:05 PM.

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#2 PETER DREW

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 04:56 PM

I don't think the telescope normally dictates whether the observation is based on the chromosphere or prominences, it's more the Ha additional components that are responsible.  Refractors are the most convenient telescope to adopt for solar viewing and for Ha you could buy either a chromosphere or prominence optimised Quark for instance.  From what I've seen, the chromosphere quark gives the best overall performance.  If you buy a dedicated solar telescope it will be possible to use it for prominences or double stacked to enhance the surface details.


Edited by PETER DREW, 16 August 2020 - 04:45 AM.

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#3 statfreak

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 07:05 PM

The only company that distinguishes between prominence and chromosphere versions is the Quark. It is generally accepted here on CN that the prominence version is made with the lesser quality etalons that come off the line. Virtually everyone here gets the chromosphere version. It will show prominences just as well or better.

 

I see that you have an Orion 80 F10 refractor. I believe that that will pair well with a Quark if that is the path that you were looking to take but others here can be more specific about that than I can. You didn't specify a budget. There are also dedicated/modular scopes like the Coronados and the Lunts. The board is generally recommending the Lunt over the Coronado because Meade is in bankruptcy and because their customer service is non-existent whereas Lunt provides top notch customer service and is made in the US. I have a Lunt LS80 double stack and am very happy with it.

 

If you're just looking to dip your toe in the water, a PST might be an option, but even then, the new Lunt 40 or the Lunt 50 would be better options as they are better built but are more expensive. The Quark is more affordable than the larger dedicated scopes but requires power to heat it and cannot be double stacked.

 

We have some other members here who will be able to help you in more depth than I can.


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#4 briansalomon1

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 08:27 PM

I had the same question several months ago when I was deciding which Quark to buy. I decided to go with what most everyone suggested and got the chromosphere and I'd agree of the Daystar units it's what I'd recommend for a first "economy" H-alpha system.

 

I think Quark prominence unit would be more a luxury item and not a first choice for someone starting out.

 

If you're ever down near my neck of the woods and want to take a look through mine drop me a line.


Edited by briansalomon1, 15 August 2020 - 08:28 PM.


#5 PETER DREW

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 04:42 AM

Correction to my post!  I meant to say chromosphere instead of prominence.  Apologies if I mislead the OP.



#6 philmor56

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 07:32 AM

Hi there:

 

I would have to say, IMHO, that you would be far better off to save your pennies up and go for the minimum of a 60mm Lunt with a pressure  tuned etalon (which I think is the standard now), with the goal of double stacking in the future. (I patiently kept an eye on the various classifieds out there and found my package used from an estate sale, in CDN$ !) 

The tuning characteristics of the pressure tuner allows you to pass (slightly) on either side of band, and then you can tune visually to bring out surface detail,  or to bring out prominences, or ideally, a combination of both.

Then with imaging you can expose for surface and prominences separately. The following images (from the same session) are captured with the same tuning of surface and prominences visually, (my preference) and then optimised with different camera settings.

 

Over-exposed for prominence detail:

 

prom06-21-02-clr-jpg.jpg

 

Regular exposure settings for surface. Note still visible capture of the prominence.

 

pt-sf-crp-clr.jpg

 

This is not to say that smaller aperture Ha scopes are inferior, but it seems that most people suffer from aperture envy and eventually trade up. I've had two PST's over the years and I just was not satisfied with what I was able to see. (The new Lunt 40mm has gotten good reviews so far but I haven't seen any images from it yet.)

The Lunt's are superbly built and will last a lifetime.

In the meantime, and as an addition, invest in a good quality Herschel wedge to go along with your 80mm scope. There is going to be future activity and you have good aperture for white light.

 

White light with my 72mm apo.

 

wdg-zm-ps-mon.jpg

 

There are a lot of Quark users here who will have there own take, and I have seen some remarkable images from them as well.

In Solar observing and imaging, again in my opinion, it seems that, unfortunately, you will get what you pay for.

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by philmor56, 16 August 2020 - 07:40 AM.

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#7 BYoesle

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 08:31 AM

The Sun's chromosphere (and to a lesser degree photosphere) is an unbelievably dynamic thing to behold compared to almost any other celestial object or phenomena. A proper filter(s) and/or telescope(s) should be considered a lifetime investment, and therefore significant funds could/should be allocated to get the best possible views of our nearest star.

 

The tuning characteristics of the pressure tuner allows you to pass (slightly) on either side of band, and then you can tune visually to bring out surface detail,  or to bring out prominences, or ideally, a combination of both. Then with imaging you can expose for surface and prominences separately. The following images (from the same session) are captured with the same tuning of surface and prominences visually, (my preference) and then optimised with different camera settings.

 

Double stacking of narrow-band filters is highly desirable to reduce/eliminate parasitic continuum from the photosphere - and generally offers the best possible view in H alpha.

 

double stacking normalized.jpg

Click for larger.

 

It is not so much the narrower band-pass that improves the view with double stacking. It rather is the suppression of the transmission "wings" or "tails" that accomplishes this improvement. It also makes imaging both the chromosphere disc and prominences at the same time much easier, as well as aesthetically pleasing and scientifically accurate:

 

Prominence parade.jpg

Proms and disc.jpg

Click for larger.


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#8 SloMoe

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 11:18 AM

aeromarmot, here's a link to a thread in the refractors forum that's pretty good.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ctor-for-solar/



#9 astroflak88

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 02:37 PM

You can buy the quark gemini (has both chromosphere and prominence modes) and an st80 Orion f/5 refractor. The prominence mode will allow you to pick up very faint haze's that the chromosphere will not see. Will cost you about $2500

Edited by astroflak88, 16 August 2020 - 02:39 PM.


#10 briansalomon1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 10:09 PM

Hi there:

 

I would have to say, IMHO, that you would be far better off to save your pennies up and go for the minimum of a 60mm Lunt with a pressure  tuned etalon (which I think is the standard now), with the goal of double stacking in the future. (I patiently kept an eye on the various classifieds out there and found my package used from an estate sale, in CDN$ !) 

The tuning characteristics of the pressure tuner allows you to pass (slightly) on either side of band, and then you can tune visually to bring out surface detail,  or to bring out prominences, or ideally, a combination of both.

Then with imaging you can expose for surface and prominences separately. The following images (from the same session) are captured with the same tuning of surface and prominences visually, (my preference) and then optimised with different camera settings.

 

Over-exposed for prominence detail:

 

attachicon.gifprom06-21-02-clr-jpg.jpg

 

Regular exposure settings for surface. Note still visible capture of the prominence.

 

attachicon.gifpt-sf-crp-clr.jpg

 

This is not to say that smaller aperture Ha scopes are inferior, but it seems that most people suffer from aperture envy and eventually trade up. I've had two PST's over the years and I just was not satisfied with what I was able to see. (The new Lunt 40mm has gotten good reviews so far but I haven't seen any images from it yet.)

The Lunt's are superbly built and will last a lifetime.

In the meantime, and as an addition, invest in a good quality Herschel wedge to go along with your 80mm scope. There is going to be future activity and you have good aperture for white light.

 

White light with my 72mm apo.

 

attachicon.gifwdg-zm-ps-mon.jpg

 

There are a lot of Quark users here who will have there own take, and I have seen some remarkable images from them as well.

In Solar observing and imaging, again in my opinion, it seems that, unfortunately, you will get what you pay for.

 

Hope this helps.

I recall similar posts by the more experienced observers mentioning that essentially, the more I looked the more I would see in H-alpha and I agree with it. Part of it may be that I've gone to a larger blocking filter but I'm seeing quite a bit more detail and contrast with the Lunt 60mm system than I see with Quark (at 80mm) where just a few months ago they seemed about the same to me.

 

If you can verify it works before you buy, a used unit at the right price makes a lot of sense.


Edited by briansalomon1, 16 August 2020 - 10:10 PM.


#11 Eddgie

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 12:46 PM

 

 

If you can verify it works before you buy, a used unit at the right price makes a lot of sense.

Yes. I had a great deal of frustration with the Quark I bought and I bought it new, and only through persistance was I able to get my money back..  I had sent it back to Daystar and they returned it and while they did reduce the streaking in the view, I still was unable to get it to tune on a day where temps were over 85 degrees.  Now to be fair, Daystar in a roundabout way, Daystar says they may not tune properly when it is hot, so technically that would be a "Unit performs as stated in opreator's Guide" kind of thing, but in my own case, it was worthless at temps over about 85 degrees and since 85 degrees is a mid morning thing for me in summer, and very typical in spring and fall, the Quark was a total failure for me.

 

Now since Daystar said that it was within their quality range, I guess I could have sold it, but my conscience would not allow that.  

 

Many others say their Quarks work well, and we have images that support those claims, but I have also read many cases where people had issues with the Quark so I would want a high level of assurance that if there was an uneveness in the display and it would still tune at temps I would normally view in. 

 

No I had a Lunt 60 years ago and it was marvelous and that is also perhaps why the Quark was a bitter disappointment to me.  The Lunt 60 produced beautiful smooth on band images across the disk and Doppler tuning was (as someone above metioned, quite fast and excellent, where as the Quark could take several minutes to change band (the hotter, the slower, and at 85, it just stopped tuning at all).

 

After the experience with the Quark, I went running back to Lunt, this time picking up an 80mm.  I considered a 100, but the weight and the fact that seeing often just does not allow one to exploit the extra aperture made me corral in my aperture lust and go with the 80.  Lately though, I have been considering upgrading to one of the new 100s so I could do white light with the wedge sometimes but my gut keeps telling me that I got it right by getting the 80. 

 

Buying a used Quark though is a good suggestion, but briansalomon1 has given solid advice hereAsk if the field is all in the same tune with no streaks and ensure that it will tune at temps that you typically observe in a lot


Edited by Eddgie, 18 August 2020 - 12:46 PM.

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