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!