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Opinions regarding Lunt LS80MT and LS60MT?

Imaging Solar Equipment
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#1 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:01 PM

Seeing some of the amazing close-up images and prom animations shared by members here has led me to give serious thought to investing in a larger aperture H-alpha scope in the not-too-distant future. I currently own a double-stacked Lunt LS50 and I've been very pleased with its performance -- I just want a little more aperture to resolve finer details in proms and surface features. I mainly intend to use the new scope for imaging, although I also enjoy observing from time to time.

 

I'm leaning toward the Lunt LS80MT or possibly the LS60MT. Based on local seeing conditions and my budget (~$5,000 - $6,000 USD), I don't foresee getting anything larger than 80mm, although I might be tempted into a 100mm if the price is right. I like the idea of a modular telescope as it would give me the option of removing the H-alpha modules and imaging in white light (granules!) or CaK down the road.

 

The double-stack configuration of my LS50 consists of an internal pressure-tuned etalon combined with an external front-mounted etalon. I've been pretty happy with this design as far as image quality is concerned. My understanding is that the LS60 uses essentially the same design, so I assume that image quality will be similar. My only concern is whether I will notice enough of a difference going from the LS50 to the LS60 to justify the cost.

 

When it comes to double-stacking the LS80, the only option at present is to use an internal double-stack module -- Lunt does not offer a front-mounted etalon for the LS80. As I was researching this issue, I came across the following thread in which a number of members noted that the LS80 produces an unwanted glow/halo effect when used in double-stack mode due to the internal etalon + internal etalon design: https://www.cloudyni...l-front-filter/. Apparently no such problems arise when the LS80 is used in single-stack mode.

 

I would love to hear from some of the more experienced folks in this forum, especially those familiar with the LS60MT and LS80MT. Specifically:

  • Is the LS60 a substantial step up from the LS50 in terms of resolution and overall image quality? Or should I expect more of a marginal improvement?
  • What has your experience been like using the LS80 in double-stack mode? (It would be great if someone is able to share a photo that illustrates the glow/halo issue described in the thread I linked above.)
  • Is the LS80's glow/halo issue likely to be more or less of a problem given that I will mainly use the scope for imaging?
  • What are the pros/cons of getting a double-stacked LS60 vs. a single-stacked LS80?
  • Are there any other issues I should be thinking about when it comes to choosing a new H-alpha scope?

Any advice you can provide is appreciated!

 



#2 rigel123

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:21 PM

Hi Scott, check with PhotonJohn on this forum.   He has been posting pictures with his brand new LS80 DS and the images look great.  He could give you a good report on it.  I have the LS60T DS so really can't give you a comparison since mine is a Tilt Tune model.  One plus I can see from the dual internal pressure tuners on the LS80 is they are easy to reach when you are looking through the eyepiece and I would think that the step up to 80mm would be quite the jump from the 50 if you can afford it and your seeing supports it.


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#3 sctchun

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:31 PM

Hi Scott,

 

You may also want to contact Lunt and see if they will take your existing equipment for trade.  I had LS50 DS filters and I traded them in for the last of the LS80THa last year.  Love the extra aperture, yes there is a red glow especially when single stacked.  I also took advantage of Agena's closeout specials and got the DS module for my LS80THa.

 

I haven't had a chance to image through it, though I eventually will do so.  I already have the Hinode Solar Guider, so I'll be set once I get the recommended camera for it.

 

**Edit**  After re-reading your post, I believe some suggested that you rotate the DS module 180 degrees to cancel out the effect.  I currently have mine at about 120 to 150 degrees, since I'm use the scope primarily on my Zero Mount.  If I had it mounted on my Sphinx, I would be able to mount it 180 degrees.

 

Steven


Edited by sctchun, 08 April 2021 - 02:35 PM.

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#4 Stickman

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:15 PM

Scott,

 

    Regarding the glow/halo concern you mentioned, Lunt does offer HRG filters to reduce the background glow.  It replaces an existing filter (ERF I believe) on the second ethalon.  I installed one on my 100mm and it made a significant difference.  I will mention, it did have an effect on the overall image brightness, but the tradeoff was worth it to me.  The proms are much more defined and not lost in the glow than without the HRG.  If you are considering a new scope, I would verify with Lunt whether you will need to need add the HRG on the 80mm.  I believe I read somewhere Lunt is installing it as a standard option on that model now.

    I agree with Warren, if you afford it, make the jump to the 80mm.  If you don't, you'll likely regret it later.

 

Rick


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#5 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:52 PM

Hi Scott, check with PhotonJohn on this forum.   He has been posting pictures with his brand new LS80 DS and the images look great.  He could give you a good report on it.  I have the LS60T DS so really can't give you a comparison since mine is a Tilt Tune model.  One plus I can see from the dual internal pressure tuners on the LS80 is they are easy to reach when you are looking through the eyepiece and I would think that the step up to 80mm would be quite the jump from the 50 if you can afford it and your seeing supports it.

Thanks, Warren -- you and PhotoJohn are two of the imagers here whose work I've been admiring. smile.gif I knew you had a 60mm Lunt but didn't realize it was the tilt-tune model. Good point about the ease of accessibility of the dual pressure tuner knobs.


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#6 PhotonJohn

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:00 PM

First off, I am not an expert on anything solar, just learning and practicing things like most people on this forum. I had a LS60Thad B/1200 tilt tuned 60/50mm combo. I loved it and found it sufficient for imaging and observing. It was a big improvement over my old PST 40mm. I traded my LS60 with the trade up program for a LS80MT. Lunt gave me a good deal on the trade and I did not need to worry about selling my LS60. As far as the upgrade from the 50mm to the 60mm, it would be ok but not much of an improvement IMO. I have had my LS80MT for two months and I'm still learning this scope and so far it is superior to the LS60. Like Rick says, if you have the bucks go for the LS80. Just my two cents.

Probably my best image from my LS60Thad in 60/50mm double stack mode.

S112520aip (5)sjpgcnf.jpg
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#7 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:04 PM

Hi Scott,

 

You may also want to contact Lunt and see if they will take your existing equipment for trade.  I had LS50 DS filters and I traded them in for the last of the LS80THa last year.  Love the extra aperture, yes there is a red glow especially when single stacked.  I also took advantage of Agena's closeout specials and got the DS module for my LS80THa.

 

I haven't had a chance to image through it, though I eventually will do so.  I already have the Hinode Solar Guider, so I'll be set once I get the recommended camera for it.

 

**Edit**  After re-reading your post, I believe some suggested that you rotate the DS module 180 degrees to cancel out the effect.  I currently have mine at about 120 to 150 degrees, since I'm use the scope primarily on my Zero Mount.  If I had it mounted on my Sphinx, I would be able to mount it 180 degrees.

 

Steven

 

Thanks for the input, Steven. I'm curious about your comment that the red glow was more pronounced when your scope was single stacked. Based on the earlier thread, I was under the impression that the glow was noticeable only when the internal double-stack filter was installed. I take it that wasn't the case with your scope?

 

I'm planning to use a Celestron AVX mount, so hopefully putting the pressure tuners at 180 degrees won't be a problem.



#8 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:05 PM

Scott,

 

    Regarding the glow/halo concern you mentioned, Lunt does offer HRG filters to reduce the background glow.  It replaces an existing filter (ERF I believe) on the second ethalon.  I installed one on my 100mm and it made a significant difference.  I will mention, it did have an effect on the overall image brightness, but the tradeoff was worth it to me.  The proms are much more defined and not lost in the glow than without the HRG.  If you are considering a new scope, I would verify with Lunt whether you will need to need add the HRG on the 80mm.  I believe I read somewhere Lunt is installing it as a standard option on that model now.

    I agree with Warren, if you afford it, make the jump to the 80mm.  If you don't, you'll likely regret it later.

 

Rick

Thanks, Rick -- this is very helpful.



#9 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:19 PM

First off, I am not an expert on anything solar, just learning and practicing things like most people on this forum. I had a LS60Thad B/1200 tilt tuned 60/50mm combo. I loved it and found it sufficient for imaging and observing. It was a big improvement over my old PST 40mm. I traded my LS60 with the trade up program for a LS80MT. Lunt gave me a good deal on the trade and I did not need to worry about selling my LS60. As far as the upgrade from the 50mm to the 60mm, it would be ok but not much of an improvement IMO. I have had my LS80MT for two months and I'm still learning this scope and so far it is superior to the LS60. Like Rick says, if you have the bucks go for the LS80. Just my two cents.

Probably my best image from my LS60Thad in 60/50mm double stack mode.

attachicon.gifS112520aip (5)sjpgcnf.jpg

Thanks for your input, John, and great image -- I hope to get there someday!

 

Since you've had your LS80, have you experienced any issues with the glow/halo effect mentioned above?


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#10 PhotonJohn

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:45 PM

I noticed the glow in my last session using double stack mode. My etalons are stacked 180 degrees opposite each other. Have not tried it in single stack mode. Observing in double stack it was not an issue image wise. While imaging there was a slight glow in the portion of the image farthest from photosphere, but that was cropped out. Below are images from my second LS80MT session. Don't know if there will be an issue in the future, only time and practice will tell. Most of the time you will find a work-around for everything.

Attached Thumbnails

  • S32321aip (5)jpgcn.jpg

Edited by PhotonJohn, 08 April 2021 - 04:52 PM.

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#11 PhotonJohn

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:46 PM

S32321airp (4)jpgcn.jpg
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#12 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 05:11 PM

I noticed the glow in my last session using double stack mode. My etalons are stacked 180 degrees opposite each other. Have not tried it in single stack mode. Observing in double stack it was not an issue image wise. While imaging there was a slight glow in the portion of the image farthest from photosphere, but that was cropped out. Below are images from my second LS80MT session. Don't know if there will be an issue in the future, only time and practice will tell. Most of the time you will find a work-around for everything.

Really love the detail in these images -- that's exactly what I'm looking for.


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#13 hopskipson

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 06:47 PM

Not sure if you're interested, but there's a used 100mm Lunt in the classifieds in your budget.

 

https://www.cloudyni...unt-ls100-dsii/


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#14 ATL Gator

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 07:22 PM

Not sure if you're interested, but there's a used 100mm Lunt in the classifieds in your budget.

 

https://www.cloudyni...unt-ls100-dsii/

Thanks, James. I'm probably being overly cautious, but at this price point I think I'd rather buy directly from Lunt, all things considered.



#15 BinoGuy

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 09:40 PM

So, I don't see the Quark mentioned yet.  I use my Quark on tubes from 60 up to 152mm.  Since you said you want to image, the power and cabling requirements of the Quark shouldn't be an issue.  I get images similar to Mal and PhotonJohn with my Quark (but my post processing is rubbish).  You won't get full disk of course, but if you want more details you'd be zooming in anyway.

 

My 2 centavos, keep your Lunt 50 for opportunistic viewing, get a Quark for imaging and use any old tube since you don't need an Acro or APO because the light is already only a single wavelength; I've even seen nice images with ST80s and ST100s.  Mal will also show up to mention that seeing conditions are usually the limiting factor anyway when searching for finer details so bigger isn't always necessarily better.  

 

 

Clear skies  BG  °¿°


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#16 philmor56

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:07 AM

Thanks for your input, John, and great image -- I hope to get there someday!

 

Since you've had your LS80, have you experienced any issues with the glow/halo effect mentioned above?

Hi Scott:

I just noticed this thread during my Saturday morning browsing session ( seeing is too crappy to image this morning as well frown.gif )

Just like PhotonJohn had previously, I own the LS60T with a LS50F d/s,  and a BF1200.

I have had great success with this combo over the last couple of years that I have been learning to do solar imaging.

 

03-20-blw-mon-hgh-brdr - Copy.jpg

 

08-30-prm-stk-imp-zm-crp-cl.jpg

 

08-30-crp-inv-crp-mon.jpg

 

The biggest difference you will notice is that the LS60 is a much better built scope and the focal length is increased to 500 mm.

The front mount 50 mm etalon is a cost effective way to double stack ( $1000 vs $1600 USD) as well ( My package was bought used and I understand now why the previous owner did it this way).

 

outreach1 - Edited.jpg

 

Now, essentially with this set up I am still running a 50mm aperture double stack (~.4 A),  however at the 500 mm f/l it would produce a F10 ratio.

I'm not sure if this helps my imaging, but from what I've seen from other threads,  with the small 2.8 pixel pitch of my Skyris 236M, and with Ha critically sampling at F12, , it would seem that I am fairly close to this ideal.

I am under sampling as opposed to over, which gives me a a bit of leeway to increase my sensitivity without cooking my pixels.

 

This may be a consideration, although I'm not sure what the result would be with your camera though.

An incremental step up from your 50mm D/S to a better base scope with some savings to boot may be a consideration. (= more accessories! grin.gif  ).

 

I'm planning on upgrading to a 60mm D/S some time in the next year (going to F8.3) but the above equation kind of makes me want to keep my 50mm D/S around just to see if there would be a difference.

Always lots to chew on.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers


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#17 ATL Gator

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:11 AM

So, I don't see the Quark mentioned yet.  I use my Quark on tubes from 60 up to 152mm.  Since you said you want to image, the power and cabling requirements of the Quark shouldn't be an issue.  I get images similar to Mal and PhotonJohn with my Quark (but my post processing is rubbish).  You won't get full disk of course, but if you want more details you'd be zooming in anyway.

 

My 2 centavos, keep your Lunt 50 for opportunistic viewing, get a Quark for imaging and use any old tube since you don't need an Acro or APO because the light is already only a single wavelength; I've even seen nice images with ST80s and ST100s.  Mal will also show up to mention that seeing conditions are usually the limiting factor anyway when searching for finer details so bigger isn't always necessarily better.  

 

 

Clear skies  BG  °¿°

Intriguing idea. I like the idea of keeping my LS50, which becomes much more feasible if I go the Quark route. And I have seen some really impressive images with the Quark. I guess I have more research to do!


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#18 cimar

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:35 AM

Hi,

I loved my former small LS35T and upgraded later to an LS60T. Last year I aimed for a further upgrade and decided between two options: Buying a DS filter for my LS60T or move on to an LS80T. I received more recommendations for adding a DS filter to my existing LS60T, but I decided to trade it and go for an LS80T. I immediately liked the LS80T a lot and don't regret this step. It has a really good single stack image with tight band pass, a very homogeneous image and more resolution. The only downside is that double stacking is more tricky.


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#19 ATL Gator

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:36 AM

Hi Scott:

I just noticed this thread during my Saturday morning browsing session ( seeing is too crappy to image this morning as well frown.gif )

Just like PhotonJohn had previously, I own the LS60T with a LS50F d/s,  and a BF1200.

I have had great success with this combo over the last couple of years that I have been learning to do solar imaging.

 

attachicon.gif03-20-blw-mon-hgh-brdr - Copy.jpg

 

attachicon.gif08-30-prm-stk-imp-zm-crp-cl.jpg

 

attachicon.gif08-30-crp-inv-crp-mon.jpg

 

The biggest difference you will notice is that the LS60 is a much better built scope and the focal length is increased to 500 mm.

The front mount 50 mm etalon is a cost effective way to double stack ( $1000 vs $1600 USD) as well ( My package was bought used and I understand now why the previous owner did it this way).

 

attachicon.gifoutreach1 - Edited.jpg

 

Now, essentially with this set up I am still running a 50mm aperture double stack (~.4 A),  however at the 500 mm f/l it would produce a F10 ratio.

I'm not sure if this helps my imaging, but from what I've seen from other threads,  with the small 2.8 pixel pitch of my Skyris 236M, and with Ha critically sampling at F12, , it would seem that I am fairly close to this ideal.

I am under sampling as opposed to over, which gives me a a bit of leeway to increase my sensitivity without cooking my pixels.

 

This may be a consideration, although I'm not sure what the result would be with your camera though.

An incremental step up from your 50mm D/S to a better base scope with some savings to boot may be a consideration. (= more accessories! grin.gif  ).

 

I'm planning on upgrading to a 60mm D/S some time in the next year (going to F8.3) but the above equation kind of makes me want to keep my 50mm D/S around just to see if there would be a difference.

Always lots to chew on.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Cheers

Thanks, Phil. Wonderful images.

 

By the way, how much would you say your LS60 weighs? Lunt's website lists the weight as 25 lbs. not including the double-stack filter. That seems really high given that the LS50 weighs no more than 10 lbs. with the double-stack filter attached.  


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#20 ATL Gator

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:45 AM

Hi,

I loved my former small LS35T and upgraded later to an LS60T. Last year I aimed for a further upgrade and decided between two options: Buying a DS filter for my LS60T or move on to an LS80T. I received more recommendations for adding a DS filter to my existing LS60T, but I decided to trade it and go for an LS80T. I immediately liked the LS80T a lot and don't regret this step. It has a really good single stack image with tight band pass, a very homogeneous image and more resolution. The only downside is that double stacking is more tricky.

Thanks for the insight. From what I understand, the LS80 gives excellent views in single-stack mode. I do have some reservations about the internal double-stack module. I read somewhere that it's possible to attach a Coronado SolarMax II front etalon to the LS80, but of course that's even more money. This is not an inexpensive hobby!


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#21 philmor56

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 11:56 AM

Thanks, Phil. Wonderful images.

 

By the way, how much would you say your LS60 weighs? Lunt's website lists the weight as 25 lbs. not including the double-stack filter. That seems really high given that the LS50 weighs no more than 10 lbs. with the double-stack filter attached.  

I'd have to say 15 lbs. minimum to be safe.

I run it on my ES Twilight mount with no problem.

 

Cheers


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#22 dhkaiser

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 12:26 PM

By the way, how much would you say your LS60 weighs? Lunt's website lists the weight as 25 lbs. not including the double-stack filter. That seems really high given that the LS50 weighs no more than 10 lbs. with the double-stack filter attached.  

My LS60mmTHa with 60mm DS and BF heater weights 9lbs 9.7oz without lens cap and with the Lunt zoom eyepiece.

 

Note this is not the modular model which probably different.


Edited by dhkaiser, 10 April 2021 - 12:32 PM.

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#23 Tom M

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 06:38 PM

By the way, how much would you say your LS60 weighs? Lunt's website lists the weight as 25 lbs. not including the double-stack filter. That seems really high given that the LS50 weighs no more than 10 lbs. with the double-stack filter attached.  

 

I just weighed my LS60MT with the stock Crayford focuser  & 6" dovetail + B1200 diagonal + LS60FHa and it came in just under 9 lb 14 oz w/o the lens cap or eyepiece. The LS60FHa alone is a shade over 2 lbs.

 

I'm pretty sure the weight they list is the shipping weight, which include the case, as the LS60FHa has a shipping weight nearly quadruple the actual weight.
 


Edited by Tom M, 10 April 2021 - 06:39 PM.

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