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Getting started in h-alpha solar. Limited options & questions

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#1 wxcloud

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 11:48 PM

Ideally I'd like a double stack system but those are basically non existent right now or outrageously expensive so looks like single stack might be the way to go right now. Seems like 3 options are available. I would like to image and probably look through the thing and that makes me ask if my current regular night sky eye pieces will be safe to use, say a nagler 13mm or 24mm panoptic or will I need specialized oculars for visual?

Off hand for photography I got a asi533 and asi1600mm and asi290mm mini. I know, not the best type of camera for imaging planetary or solar or lunar. An asi174 might be on the books...

Anyway looks like my options for a solar scope are:

Meade PST
Lunt 50mm b400 (ls50tha) (the b600 back ordered)
Daystar solar scout 60mm either bundled or unbundled

All about the same price (bundle a bit more)

I am not sure on the b400 vs b600 blocking filter, I'm assuming the 600 is a little more narrow? Also not sure on tuning, like pressure tuned which the lunt seems to feature.

I think the meade PST is pretty much off the table unless a double stack pops up when I gather up the order. It's basically between the lunt and daystar. The daystar looks like it needs powered?! Kind of leaning towards the small lunt.

Thoughts?

#2 Tapio

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:09 AM

Of those Lunt. And B600 blocking filter is better for imaging. Larger hot spot.

There's also Lunt 40mm but I'm not sure if that's available.

https://luntsolarsys...olar-telescope/

50mm would be safer buy.


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#3 LarryAlvarez

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 05:01 AM

Tough choices.  I'd go for the one built more like the scopes you are used to.  The PST is a great starter scope but has a funky way of focusing and is built more for visual use which it excels at.  Good images can be obtained from though but it lacks in aperture for my tastes and would not be a good match for your massive 1600 camera.  I don't know too many folks using a Scout so I can't say much about that except that getting it would add the need to have a power outlet so you could connect the heater in the filter and the scope is at F15 as opposed to the F7 of the Lunt.  I've seen some pretty rock'n images from 50's and they are really close to the 60's resolution.  Once doubled they become even better too.  For imaging with it you'd probably want to go with the B600 as Tapio suggests.  The Lunt 40 is nice but I'm not sure they make a double stack filter for it yet.  I agree with Tapio, the Lunt 50/B600 would be the best choice of the bunch listed.


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#4 briansalomon1

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 06:35 AM

+1 Lunt 50/B600.


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#5 cptbobrfh

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:58 AM

Another thing to think about. The new Lunt 40mm solar scope,which is coming out very soon(I pre-ordered one), has a Lunt stated bandpass of <0.65A, whereas the Lunt 50mm solar scope has a Lunt stated bandpass of <0.75A. I had the Lunt 50mm and liked it,but I like the tilt tune slightly better than pressure tuning. The 40mm is tilt tuned.


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#6 Napp

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:33 AM

No need to buy special eyepieces.  Looks like you have quality eyepieces.  I have a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm.  I bought the ‘special’ eyepieces.  They just sit in the case.  I mostly used a Baader Hyperion Mark IV zoom for outreach.  My favorite eyepiece for the Coronado is my Explore Scientific 11mm 82°.  11mm to 12mm seems to be the sweet spot for the scope in terms of the best view.  That sweet spot is what you will want to determine for the scope you buy.


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#7 wxcloud

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:49 PM

Thanks for the input. Kind of looking like I'll have to just back burner the idea for now as the b600 lunt is backordered. Has been since I've been looking.

#8 Stickman

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 07:54 PM

Keep a watch in the Refractor and Solar classifieds here and other sites.  Used Lunt’s pop up occasionally.



#9 Great Attractor

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 07:41 AM

And B600 blocking filter is better for imaging. Larger hot spot.


Small correction: blocking filter size doesn't affect the etalon "sweet spot" size (i.e., how much of FOV is on-band), but the size of FOV itself. B600 is indeed good to have, anything smaller would be vignetting on a typical 1/3" camera sensor.



#10 MalVeauX

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 09:17 AM

Ideally I'd like a double stack system but those are basically non existent right now or outrageously expensive so looks like single stack might be the way to go right now. Seems like 3 options are available. I would like to image and probably look through the thing and that makes me ask if my current regular night sky eye pieces will be safe to use, say a nagler 13mm or 24mm panoptic or will I need specialized oculars for visual?

Off hand for photography I got a asi533 and asi1600mm and asi290mm mini. I know, not the best type of camera for imaging planetary or solar or lunar. An asi174 might be on the books...

Anyway looks like my options for a solar scope are:

Meade PST
Lunt 50mm b400 (ls50tha) (the b600 back ordered)
Daystar solar scout 60mm either bundled or unbundled

All about the same price (bundle a bit more)

I am not sure on the b400 vs b600 blocking filter, I'm assuming the 600 is a little more narrow? Also not sure on tuning, like pressure tuned which the lunt seems to feature.

I think the meade PST is pretty much off the table unless a double stack pops up when I gather up the order. It's basically between the lunt and daystar. The daystar looks like it needs powered?! Kind of leaning towards the small lunt.

Thoughts?

Heya,

 

I would avoid a new PST like the plague completely at this point. No support. Don't buy it new. If you get one, only get it if it's used at a great price with a good quality ITF. If this doesn't make sense, then avoid it completely because this will be a reality eventually. Just avoid.

 

The Daystar solar scout is something I would avoid too, completely. It's a long effective focal length, requires electricity, and cannot be double stacked. Just a bad design in general. It's a Quark jammed into a really small achromat with a helical focuser. Avoid this completely if you care about double stacking, high contrast, good uniformity and full disc imaging. The marketing lies they use with "double stack performance" are literal lies, it's so embarrassing for them to market it this way with how completely false this is.

 

The Lunt 50mm is the only choice I would suggest in this range. Or Lunt's upcoming 40mm. The Lunt 50 has an upgrade pathway over time so that you can put a crayford focuser on there eventually to replace the bad helical focuser eventually (moonlite) and you can double stack it. Pressure tuned is the way to go. You can get the base model with the largest blocking filter you can get (I would aim for 12mm for imaging and binoviewer use as a minimum). You can always upgrade the focuser, upgrade to double stack and upgrade the blocking filter over time later on. And Lunt will support this product right here with good support and service.

 

The next chance you get, get the Lunt. When the solar max returns, you'll find you cannot get a solar scope anywhere and they will stay sold out and the used market will command higher prices.

 

Very best,


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#11 wxcloud

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 12:28 AM

So, I might have a lead on something! But got a couple options, one costs more than the other...

1) the LUNT LS50THA 50MM, 6mm blocking filter. (I think this is the b600)?

2) LUNT LS60MT MODULAR which is b600. But this is double the price of the above. Its also modular and I'm unsure about this, seems like more stuff to add on and keep track of. Has a rack and pinion or crayford focuser.

Kind of leaning towards the smaller one even though it's got the helical focuser and only 1.25" that's if I go for it. Seems solar astronomy and photography might go along with my work schedule and the weather a little better. Probably mount it to tripod and star adventurer.

I see there is an (unavailable) double stack module for the little scope. A rather pricy accessory at that costing as much as the scope and bringing the price up to that of the ls60.

Is the single stack going to show much? If I can't get the double stack module is single going to be any good either visually or with a camera (probably an asi290mm mini for now)?

Edited by wxcloud, 13 April 2021 - 12:49 AM.


#12 wxcloud

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 08:17 PM

Still doing a little bit more research but managed to find a double stack setup for the 50mm b600. Seems like it's just the 50mm and helical focuser in single stack or double stack for double the price :o

Did find a feather touch set up (basically backordered however) 50mm for a little more. If I want something a bit larger or a focuser that's a bit more robust, looks like lunt moved to the modular system. How bad is the helical focuser?

Edit, since it seems pricing and options keep going up and I keep going in the rabbit hole, let's say I got around 2k (USD) to put towards a solar scope. Not a hard limit but really getting kind of pricy...

A b1200 might be in the realm of possibility, could single stack for now and perhaps get the double stack module later on.

Also forgot to mention, while I noted I got a star adventurer and tripod, I realize this would probably only be best for visual, I got an AVX I could use also.

Edited by wxcloud, 13 April 2021 - 09:28 PM.


#13 hopskipson

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Posted Yesterday, 06:08 AM

Still doing a little bit more research but managed to find a double stack setup for the 50mm b600. Seems like it's just the 50mm and helical focuser in single stack or double stack for double the price :o

Did find a feather touch set up (basically backordered however) 50mm for a little more. If I want something a bit larger or a focuser that's a bit more robust, looks like lunt moved to the modular system. How bad is the helical focuser?

Edit, since it seems pricing and options keep going up and I keep going in the rabbit hole, let's say I got around 2k (USD) to put towards a solar scope. Not a hard limit but really getting kind of pricy...

A b1200 might be in the realm of possibility, could single stack for now and perhaps get the double stack module later on.

Also forgot to mention, while I noted I got a star adventurer and tripod, I realize this would probably only be best for visual, I got an AVX I could use also.

From my understanding a 1200 blocking filter would be overkill for a 50mm scope.  You would be better off putting the extra money towards a DS unit.


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#14 Highburymark

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Posted Yesterday, 06:42 AM

I’d definitely go for the LS50 double stack with the B600 if you can. That was my entry to solar Ha 6 years ago too. Double stacking significantly improves surface detail. The helical focuser is pretty nasty, but just about ok for getting used to the telescope. You’ll want to spend some time mastering visual before you progress to imaging - you could look for a replacement Moonlite or FT then. Both are excellent. The LS50 is in a different league to the other scopes you mentioned - particularly with a decent focuser.
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#15 wxcloud

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Posted Yesterday, 10:59 PM

Ok, sounding like the 50mm b600 double stack is the way to go. Looks like (at least the last I checked) the rig was available direct from lunt. Not sure on ordering direct from them through their website. I found a single stack b600 available from a regular vendor. The thing with this idea is who knows when, or at this point even if, the double stack module will actually be available again.

Did I read correctly that the focuser could be upgraded? Where would I even look into that should I be inclined to do so?

#16 Gregory Gross

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Posted Today, 12:54 AM

If I were in your shoes -- and given my own experience with the 50mm Lunt -- this is what would be in my shopping cart:
 
50mm Lunt with 6mm blocking filter ($849).
50mm DS module (on sale for $779 [$70 off the full price], backordered though only for a few weeks when I checked) -- I know it may seem painful, but DS'ing is really, really worth it. Seriously.
Case ($69) -- who wants to store their nice and shiny new solar scope in a cardboard box?
Dovetail bar ($35) -- Lunt does not include a dovetail bar with the scope. I found the 4" one sufficient when I had my 50mm Lunt.
TOTAL: $1732.
 
I'd play around with the helical focuser at first. You can always order a 1.25" Feather Touch focuser upgrade ($250) later (a worthwhile upgrade). Adding that on would bring you right up to the ceiling of your approximate $2K budget.

 

If you go the Lunt route rather than a PST or Quark, I would recommend ordering straight from the manufacturer no matter how you configure it. No middle man involved, and you establish a record with the manufacturer as a customer in case you need service or warranty work. And its nice to support a small business by giving them all the profit from the sale rather than a middle man taking a cut. I think Lunt deserves it -- they do really great work, and their service is first rate.


Edited by Gregory Gross, Today, 12:56 AM.



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