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Just what’s needed to get started in serious solar imaging?

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#1 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 08:51 AM

I have experience with deep sky but I’m a bit unsure where to start with solar.

So I’m wondering just what kind of equipment and $ is needed to get the kind of high resolution detailed solar images I would be looking for.

Do I need a dedicated solar scope? They get pricey and don’t seem like very big aperture which would limit resolution with many around 40-60mm.

Is the h alpha filter and having a double stack more important?

What about converting my current refractor and what would be needed to do it safely? I have a stellarvue svx102t with phenomenal optics and better aperture than any solar scope I could afford, but I don’t want to damage it with solar so not sure what a safe route is and what I can add.
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#2 chemman

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 09:26 AM

You need to buy some good seeing conditions for high resolution Solar.  Last I checked prices were astronomical.   Lol...

 

But seriously a Lunt 80 or 100 modular double stacked pressure tuned works pretty good for me and others here.  Won't be cheap but if you want high resolution consider it an expensive hobby like boating or dirt bikes/Razor.  

 

It is a cylinder filled with glass and increasing amounts  of cash you point at the sun...

 

Lol

Chuck


Edited by chemman, 24 November 2021 - 09:30 AM.

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#3 newlife

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 09:27 AM

Think about a Daystar Quark in either the Chromosphere (surface) or Prominence models. You would be able to use them with a 2" IR cut filter which would work as an energy rejection filter for your aperture scope. This is how I started and I got good images as well as good viewing. You need a mono camera. The drawbacks to this method are two: I don't believe you can get the full solar disc and secondly the tuning. The Quark uses an internal, variable heater which allows you to change the bandpass from .7 to <.5 Angstrom. Each change you make requires a waiting period of 5 minutes for the filter to reset.

 

That being said, to be able to get a "double stack" bandpass < .5 A for the price is fantastic because you can use your scope that you are familiar with. I see them occasionally used for under $1000 and the IR cut filter is about $100. I now have a Coronado DS 90 which is also difficult to tune and is heavy and expensive. It is very easy to drop big $$$s with solar, so start out simple and see how it works for you. Should you decide to upgrade there's always a market for your gear.

 

Sal


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#4 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 09:42 AM

But seriously a Lunt 80 or 100 modular double stacked pressure tuned works pretty good for me and others here. Won't be cheap but if you want high resolution consider it an expensive hobby like boating or dirt bikes/Razor.

It is a cylinder filled with glass and increasing amounts of cash you point at the sun...

Lol
Chuck

Which filters are you referring to specifically- can you send product links? I’m a bit confused by the product listings and what will work with my setup and I would all need. They list some internal double stack modules but I’m guessing thats combined with something else, and it’s unclear what’s universal or for lunt scopes. They also have front mount filters but the 100mm is like 6k and it’s unclear the benefit of that

As for seeing- I have no experience with solar obviously but I would think I could find some decent conditions in Florida in the morning. We get good regular seeing and my intuition is there could be good opportunities looking over the atlantic in the morning without any ground heating,

Edited by xonefs, 24 November 2021 - 09:44 AM.


#5 rigel123

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 09:59 AM

When you mention that you would like to take high resolution, detailed images do you have an example of just how detailed you are looking for?  This is an image taken with a double stacked 60mm Lunt in decent seeing conditions.  You can get higher resolution with a larger scope but just trying to determine what might satisfy your expectations.

 

Large-Filament-11-23-2021.jpg

 

Same shot just inverted in processing

 

Large-Filament-11-23-2021-Inverted.jpg

 

I have seen great high resolution images taken with a Chromosphere Quark used with scopes of your aperture, but it is a purchase that you want to be able to return if you happen to get one where the quality is lacking from other discussions on this forum.  


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#6 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 10:11 AM

When you mention that you would like to take high resolution, detailed images do you have an example of just how detailed you are looking for? This is an image taken with a double stacked 60mm Lunt in decent seeing conditions. You can get higher resolution with a larger scope but just trying to determine what might satisfy your expectations.

Large-Filament-11-23-2021.jpg

Same shot just inverted in processing

Large-Filament-11-23-2021-Inverted.jpg

I have seen great high resolution images taken with a Chromosphere Quark used with scopes of your aperture, but it is a purchase that you want to be able to return if you happen to get one where the quality is lacking from other discussions on this forum.


Just stuff like this: https://www.instagra...edium=copy_link

Hard to tell from instagram resolution but that or a bit more detailed and sampled enough to make some prints. Looks like he used a quark there


I have a mono cam already (2600mm) but might need even smaller pixels or faster framerate

I really dont know anything about solar

#7 gustavo_sanchez

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 10:22 AM

I really dont know anything about solar

This thread is perfect for you: https://www.cloudyni...eads-and-links/


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#8 MalVeauX

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 10:25 AM

I have experience with deep sky but I’m a bit unsure where to start with solar.

So I’m wondering just what kind of equipment and $ is needed to get the kind of high resolution detailed solar images I would be looking for.

Do I need a dedicated solar scope? They get pricey and don’t seem like very big aperture which would limit resolution with many around 40-60mm.

Is the h alpha filter and having a double stack more important?

What about converting my current refractor and what would be needed to do it safely? I have a stellarvue svx102t with phenomenal optics and better aperture than any solar scope I could afford, but I don’t want to damage it with solar so not sure what a safe route is and what I can add.

Hello,

 

#1 - Good seeing.

 

Everything else is secondary. You can have all the best gear in the world, best quality etalons, best camera, best of everything and all the time in the world to do it. But it won't matter at all if your seeing conditions are 2.5~3 arc-seconds and you're stuck at 60mm effective resolution at 656nm. So keep this readily in mind. I stress this because without knowing your daytime seeing conditions and patterns, you can gamble on larger apertures (relative to solar) and end up not appreciating it, imaging-wise, if your seeing cannot support critical sampling of 656nm at your intended aperture's potential. So if you want to be serious about solar imaging and since you said high resolution solar imaging, again, I stress this because trying to max out a 102mm aperture in 656nm requires around 1.5 arc-second seeing, which is asking a lot of most people's daytime seeing conditions. And this is especially a challenge if your try to image at shorter wavelengths like continuum (540nm) and calcium-k (393nm) where the short wavelength is effective heavily by seeing conditions and is greatly, greatly limited. To go beyond 102mm aperture in solar, it gets very expensive, but also requires extraordinary seeing conditions to benefit it from an imaging standpoint if your are trying to image high resolution (ie, at critical sampling). You can of course under-sample as a means to deal with bad seeing, but then you're throwing away a lot of money for larger aperture instruments that you're not benefiting as linearly anymore.

 

#2 - Good quality HA etalon(s) or filters in general.

 

It's all too easy to get cheap filtration and the results are obvious on a camera when the sweet spot is small and/or the etalon has poor uniformity. In general, I suggest you read the stickies and best threads and learn as much as you can about solar structure and the wavelengths and also about solar filtration in general so that you know what you're looking at. Solar filters are ultra-ultra narrowband (sub-angstrom) unlike planetary or nighttime narrowband. 3nm is too wide (30A). You'll be mostly looking at around 0.7A (0.07nm) for HA and between 1A to 2.4A for Calcium (0.1nm to 0.24nm). Photosphere is where you can be loose with 7~10nm or wider filtration (and significantly even wider). But on the note of bandpass and stuff, most of it is irrelevant when shopping for a filter. Check the stickies, there's an excellent thread there by Bob Y regarding how bandpass and transmission graphs work with respect to the results you see and that bandpass is not important (well, to an extent, being below 1A in HA is important, but after that it's really not, the transmission graph is far more important to show the wings of the graph being reduced to increase contrast on the centered wavelength). And this directly walks into why double stacking is important for increased contrast (at the cost of total transmission). I would argue that importance order in selection would be 1) filter quality, 2) aperture (resolution), 3) double stacking as conventional wisdom. For visual, I would argue double stacking over aperture. For imaging, I would argue aperture over double stacking with intent to eventually double stack.

 

Focus on good quality filters based on best chance to have highest quality uniformity of the sweet spot (jacquinot spot), highest contrast, that comes on band with the least tilt and/or pressure to avoid interference problems. The hard part is that this is not advertised and instead there's just nothing to go off except essentially a few very hard to find transmission plots (which are unique to a particular filter, sample variation exists so there's no universal means to label them all) by users of the filters (like Christian Viladrich), and word of mouth. That said, I'll go ahead and just point you towards Lunt for dedicated HA filters and Calcium filters for air spaced etalon and filter use for the best potential chance at high quality filters and very good service & support. And if you go mica-spaced, I would point you towards Solar Spectrum filters for best chance at a good etalon for that type. I would frankly avoid Daystar and Coronado/Meade at this time simply because of quality being a total gamble (even for the pricey versions). Again refer to the stickies and best threads to know what air spaced and mica-spaced and all that means and entails. Best to be informed about what you're shopping.

 

Myth busting:

 

You do not need ED/APO optics for narrowband imaging, there's no benefit, in fact, the best optics from a refractor for this purpose are actually long focal-ratio achromatic doublets. Solar does not damage refractor optics; the lenses transmit all the energy. There's no danger to your optics. You simply need to be mindful of things at the end of the imaging train where the image is focused, so you can manage energy at the front or end of the scope. Mirror based optics need front mounted energy rejection no matter what. The #1 parameter that matters for resolution is seeing conditions. Your seeing will virtually never be good enough to ever worry about a low quality optic being a problem. Cheap glass filters are to be avoided, anything that isn't 1/4th wave on the front of your aperture is bad, so just avoid it, solar film is cheap, high quality glass filters are not cheap (and hard to find, custom frankly). If you haven't heard it enough yet, one more time: seeing is the most important factor in high res solar imaging.

 

So TL;DR for serious solar imaging and resolution in mind: (1) excellent seeing conditions, must know your seeing, must target this seeing and image when seeing is best, not just random in the mid-day or something; (2) quality of filters matters a lot; (3) everything else.

 

I highly recommend you look at Christian's solar primer if you're totally new to solar and solar system imaging:

http://solar-astronomy-book.com/

 

Things we need to know:

 

A) Where are you in the world (you can use Meteoblue to look at common seeing predictions in your area at various times, this is critical to know)

B) Your max all-in budget for the solar equipment

C) What you already have that you can currently use, or if you need to buy everything

D) What your expectations are (several examples helps)

E) Your availability (assuming your best seeing is in the morning, I saw you mention Florida, Florida seeing is best between 8am and 11am typically and again at 3pm to 6pm Eastern time).

F) Do you have access to a club and/or any friends with solar equipment?

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 24 November 2021 - 10:44 AM.

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#9 rigel123

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:02 AM

Just stuff like this: https://www.instagra...edium=copy_link

Hard to tell from instagram resolution but that or a bit more detailed and sampled enough to make some prints. Looks like he used a quark there


I have a mono cam already (2600mm) but might need even smaller pixels or faster framerate

I really dont know anything about solar

Looking at your images on your Instagram site it looks like you might be interested in wider views than a Quark will typically give you. (beautiful DSO shots BTW!) If you are interested in full disk images of the sun then a 60mm Lunt scope with a camera such as the ASI174MM would do well for you.



#10 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:10 AM

Looking at your images on your Instagram site it looks like you might be interested in wider views than a Quark will typically give you. (beautiful DSO shots BTW!) If you are interested in full disk images of the sun then a 60mm Lunt scope with a camera such as the ASI174MM would do well for you.


Thanks. Full disk would be cool but I don’t really need full disk, and would be happy with the field of view in the example provided or narrower.

I’m also confused by the two models of quark for chrominance and prominence, and which would be better all around if I went that route.

#11 BYoesle

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 11:59 AM

Since you're just starting out into solar, you indeed want to start with full disc views and low to moderate powers to get adjusted to what your daytime seeing will allow and what the various filters systems will show. Solar observing and imaging is more complex than with nighttime filtering, and the constraints imposed on the filter tolerances, the optical system, and the atmosphere are not easily accomplished or mitigated...

 

Don’t bother with the Quark Prominence version; you want the narrower band-pass of the Chromosphere model. But just remember the quality of the Quarks varies greatly, and it is generally an entry level filter system. I highly recommend avoiding attempting imaging for several months to a year while you hone your solar observing skills. Christian Viladrich’s book is very comprehensive and excellent, but it might overwhelm a beginner. I also highly recommend Jamey Jenkins’ book for beginners.

 

Details for solar observing and imaging filters:

 

There are two layers of the sun that can be observed outside of a total solar eclipse; the photosphere (sphere of light) and chromosphere (sphere of color). The photosphere is 100,000 times brighter than the chromosphere. The blindingly bright photosphere can made safe to observe or image with relatively simple (hence inexpensive) broad-band “continuum” reflective and/or absorptive filters. This allows one to observe sun spots, granulation, and faculae.

 

For the photosphere, it’s best to use a front mounted optical or film substrate filter for reflectors. Baader Astrosolar material is excellent and inexpensive, and easily replaced if need. For refractors, a Herschel wedge will give marginally better performance and never deteriorate. The use for the Baader Continuum filter is highly recommended for all refractors for optimization of spectral performance (lateral and spherochromatic aberrations). More importantly, its transmission narrowness is ideal for reducing atmospheric dispersion issues, which is especially needed for when the Sun lies below 45 degrees in altitude, and/or the best seeing occurs earlier in the morning after sunrise or late afternoon before sunset.

 

Within the bright continuous spectrum of the photosphere there are specific absorption lines from various elements. Identical wavelength but narrower emission lines originate higher above the photosphere in the chromosphere. Therefore, observation of the much dimmer chromosphere and its features requires the use of very narrow-band filters in order to look at specific emission lines contained within the underlying photosphere absorption line, while at the same time not allowing any adjoining continuum from the photosphere through.

 

The most common and interesting emission lines of the solar chromosphere are the Hydrogen alpha (H-alpha) emission and the Calcium K-line (CaK) emission. These filter systems allow one to observe and image prominences, flares, filaments, plage, and other dynamic features. These filters are system generally are made of a complex “stew” of interference filters and absorption filters, and hence are much more expensive compared to simple continuum filters.

 

Both continuum and chromosphere filters need to have very good blocking (OD5+) of ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths to be safe for visual use.

 

Below is seen the best wavelengths in the photosphere and chromosphere to be used for viewing and/or imaging:

 

Wavelength compare CaK Cont H alpha.jpg

Click for larger. Images taken via an ED100/900 refractor, and monochromatic, colorized to show their true appearance.

Left - chromosphere CaK (394 nm) (DIY CaK filter module), Middle - photosphere continuum (540 nm) HW & Continuum filter, Right - H-alpha chromosphere (656 nm) Tucson Coronado double stack. See My Gallery for additional images.

 

Note that while photosphere detail is sparse (sunspot minimum conditions), the chromosphere is quite active. This is what can make solar H alpha so addictive, but the filters are expensive, and at $1500 you're at the "entry level." However, this is far better than when I started out in solar H alpha. Get as much aperture as you can afford, then double stack. A high-quality front ERF is usually better than an internal if you can afford it - make sure it has an IR blocking coating (Lunt, Badder, BelOptik).

Here's my guide for those just starting out into the world of solar H alpha - H alpha filter systems generally can be classified into three categories. With good overall quality* and most all etalon parameters being equal here’s my preferences in order:

 

Etalon filter systems.jpg

 

* Commercial consumer grade etalons can vary so greatly in quality that specific recommendations have now become difficult, with variation between identical etalons from the same provider proving to almost being the norm. Therefore purchasing from a reputable provider with a sterling customer service and support record is essential. Buying used is also fraught with possibilities of poor performance, and an absolute return ability after purchase is highly recommended.

1. Front (objective mounted) etalons.  These can be used with standalone telescopes, and are generally the most expensive filter systems in larger apertures. Front etalons usually offer the most uniform image contrast for low to medium power and full-disc views, and especially imaging. These etalons are generally tilt-tuned. However, if the etalon requires too much tilt, “banding” contrast non-uniformity may result.

Double stacking two filters can be used to enhance contrast (the second etalon usually requires some additional tilt to remove "ghost" reflections).

 

These filter systems are made by Coronado (Meade), Lunt, and SolarScope. Coronado and SolarScope also sell dedicated solar Ha telescopes with front etalon(s).

2. Internal etalons. Cost concerns resulted in placing a relatively smaller air-spaced etalon in collimating lens optical system within a larger aperture telescope, and these can perform almost as well as front mounted etalons as far as image contrast uniformity. Some models are more subject to circular “sweet spots” with good contrast, while the contrast falls off outside the sweet spot. These issues become moot with higher power views and narrow field imaging, as the whole view or image is generally within the sweet spot.

With the Lunt pressure tuning systems (which eliminates tilting for tuning), banding issues due to tilt were eliminated. Air pressure tuning is the equivalent of changing the temperature in the DayStar and Solar Spectrum filters.  Coronado introduced “RichView” tuning, which involves mechanical pressure to avoid the disadvantages of tilt tuning. However, in my experience “RichView” mechanical pressure tuning (alos used in their objective mounted etalons), is inferior to air pressure tuning.

 

Double stacking is best accomplished with a front etalon.

Coronado and Lunt produced these internal etalon designs for their dedicated solar Ha telescopes.

3. Rear (focuser) mounted etalons. These systems are the most complex to implement etalon systems, where even smaller etalons generally require a native f30 optical system or greater (using an aperture stop Energy Rejection Filter) to perform optimally. The use of telecentric optics can be used in faster optical systems (and are built in with the DayStar Quark filters). However, when regular Barlow lenses are used to reach f30 low power sweet spot issues may occur depending on the particular telescope used. As with internal etalons, these are generally moot for close up views and imaging. Tuning of the etalon is usually achieved by heating, and thus these filters generally do not suffer from banding.

 

Double stacking can be more difficult, and again is best accomplished with a front mounted etalon.

DayStar and Solar Spectrum make these filter systems.  DayStar also markets complete telescopes designed around their filter systems.

Another issue that should be mentioned is the deterioration of the filter. The air-spaced hard-coated etalons used in the Coronado, Lunt, and SolarScope systems generally do not have deterioration issues, although the Coronado’s have experienced their blocking filters to have issues with premature failure of the Induced Transmission Filter, and the Lunt BG element has had some cloudiness issues as well, although these are now AR coated and have less susceptibility to clouding up. Deterioration of the blocking filter’s narrow trim filter has not (yet) become apparent for these systems.

The solid spacer etalons used by DayStar and Solar Spectrum are subject to deterioration of the blocker and trimmer filters, and may require replacement and/or rebuilding after about 15 + years. However, Solar Spectrum has recently begun to use hard-coated blocking filters in their more expensive models which promise longer longevity. The importance of reducing humidity and providing stable temperatures when stored cannot be over emphasized.

Most all single filter systems will allow some parasitic light from the photosphere to leak through, which decreases surface contrast.  Double stacking two filters in series will eliminate most if not all of this parasitic continuum. Prominences generally will not be affected by the narrower bandpass, but overall image brightness is decreased due to the overall reduced filter system transmission.

Lastly, for visual use apertures over 100 mm generally will not increase resolution much due to daytime atmospheric conditions (but will help image brightness for the rare moments of good image steadiness). For imaging, use of frame selection and stacking software can enable larger apertures to be of significantly greater benefit.

My personal recommendation is that for full disk views and imaging, a front mounted double stacked etalon system is the best for its superior contrast uniformity.  For close up views and imaging, a large aperture scope with an internal or rear mounted system is best and more cost effective.  Double stacking should be high on a list of priorities for both visual and imaging performance.

Hope this is of some help.


Edited by BYoesle, 24 November 2021 - 12:50 PM.

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#12 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:13 PM

^thank you for the very detailed writeup

So… this still brings me back to the question of how would you spend ~$1,500 on an etalon if you already owned a 102mm refractor?

#13 MalVeauX

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:35 PM

^thank you for the very detailed writeup

So… this still brings me back to the question of how would you spend ~$1,500 on an etalon if you already owned a 102mm refractor?

With that budget, there's a few approaches I would suggest.

 

1) Lunt 60mm, save up a little more and get a Lunt 60mm dedicated HA scope for HA. Double stack it later when you can. Take a look at Warren's work (rigel123) as almost all of his work is from a 60mm Lunt (HA at least) and is a good example of things that can be done with it from full disc to partial disc finer image scales)

 

2) Get Baader solar film for the 4" frac for photosphere imaging and later if you can and interest is there, consider a solar wedge and have both scopes together.

 

You could get a front mounted 40mm to 60mm etalon for your 102mm refractor with an adapter to mount it and a blocking filter diagonal. But honestly I wouldn't, I'd just suggest the dedicated 60mm HA scope instead.

 

I would not bother with a Quark on your 102mm. While it's a fast track to "larger aperture" it's not a fast track to high res without the seeing conditions needed and you can't easily double stack this and maintain aperture and it will be low quality in general with questionable uniformity unless you get very very lucky with your copy variation. It requires electronics just to operate. It's possible to get a good copy, but it will have lower contrast in general and requires significant post processing to see the "high contrast" images people post from their Quark setups; that's not at all how it looks natively from the camera, so be mindful that the display image from a Quark is not at all accurate to the actual data, it's just highly processed. So to get good results from this, generally, requires significant processing. Good results can happen of course, but starting out, this is not something I would suggest over a Lunt etalon.

 

Your budget however will get you a very good quality Lunt 60mm with a little more added to your current budget.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 24 November 2021 - 04:26 PM.

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#14 BYoesle

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:29 PM

Hi Jason.

 

For $1500 you are basically limited to the Quark. As Marty states, that's not a great choice IMHO unless you're pretty lucky. Or consider the Lunt 50 mm dedicated scope; to which you can later add a 50 mm double stacking etalon (LS50C). Use the SV 102 for white light.

 

However, for roughly the same cost as the Lunt 60 mm universal (day/night APO) telescope (likely redundant since you have the excellent Stellarvue 102) you might consider a Lunt 60 mm front etalon, and add a B1200 blocking filter. Depending on the choice of focuser and BF, that will perhaps end up costing a bit more, but has the advantages of using your current OTA and can also be double stacked with a second 60 mm etalon later if so desired. If you go this route be sure to contact Lunt directly and order the etalon filter specifically as a single stack front etalon - that hopefully will optimize it for less tilt to get on-band.

 

Add a high-quality white light filter (Baader Astrosolar, or almost any Herschel wedge) for use with your Stellarvue 102, and you'd be set for the upcoming cycle 25 activity.

 

As an alternative to the Quark for use the SV102, but more expensive (you generally get what you pay for), consider the Solar Spectrum Suna. You'll also need a front-mounted Baader DERF for the SV102, either a 90 or 110 mm and cell. You'd also need to couple the filter to a TeleVue 4 x PowerMate (OK), or the Baader 4x Telecentric (better). You'll also need some good long focal length eyepieces, as just with the Quark (4.2 x built in telecentric) your EFL will be quite large, and why the other alternatives are generally better.

 

On the other hand, if you have a mount that can handle two telescopes side-by-side, a dedicated H alpha scope next to your SV102 for white light Herschel wedge & Continuum use would be ideal. Since you don't need another nighttime scope, consider shopping for a used dedicated Lunt 60 H alpha scope, which turn up fairly regularly on the CN Classifieds and Astromart - with the caveat previously given. If you get a Lunt, they are usually excellent with any issues that might arise even if you were not the original purchaser.


Edited by BYoesle, 24 November 2021 - 01:50 PM.

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#15 C0rs4ir_

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:55 PM

the most important question is if you want more to image or if you want more to look at it visually.

 

-for imaging with the best resolutions and details you want rear mounted etalons. there is the quark chromosphere and the baader sundancer 2 as a entry level equipment. the limit here is contrast for visual and wide field action.

 

-for visual front-mounted etalons (basically complete solar telescopes) provide much more contrasty views. the limit here is price per aperture.

 

 

the quark chromosphere i cant recomment though im using it. the reason is that uniformity of the etalon is a gamble. they will all work but i´ve seen terrible things..

im now using one that has a very good uniformity.. its a used one from earlyer times i guess.

 

used with a 100mm f/7 ed (in those times not much was going on on the surface):

 

3
 
12
 
visually you can use the quark too, but it will never be as contrasty as a lunt or other front mounted etalon solution

Edited by C0rs4ir_, 24 November 2021 - 02:18 PM.

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#16 chemman

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:21 PM

ignoring the 1.5K price tag I would say with your svx102t a couple 100mm front mounted etalons from Lunt and a B1800 blocking filter would do the trick very nicely (Bob Y's Category #1).  Another option would be to adapt a Lunt Pressure Tuned double stack and B1800 on the back end of your svx102t in front of the focuser(Bob Y's Category #2). I have a LS100MT double stack from Lunt with an Triplet ED APO Lens (FPL53).  Takes about 2 minutes and 3 thumb screws to go from Solar to Night viewing.  

 

Bob H (CN handle hamers) has a Takahashi 120 with a double stack Lunt LS100FHa on it.   

https://www.cloudyni...pha-nov-6-2021/

 

 

 

Attached is a picture of my Solar Filter Stack, Left to right= Energy Rejection Filter, Pressure Tuned Etalon #1, PT Etalon #2, Blocking Filter BF3400, Feather Touch Focuser with a PrimaluceLab Robotic Focuser.  If your focuser attachment is the same, BOOM you have a High Resolution Solar Imaging rig. Lol

 

Chuck 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Lunt PT DS Filter Stack.jpg


#17 xonefs

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:30 PM

I could not care less about visual, I don’t even own an eyepiece.

So it’s not clear how much I would really need to spend but probably too much to bother with as I would rather invest that kind of money more into night stuff. This would be more of a side quest which I can’t really justify $2k+ let alone $6k+ on.

The quark chromosphere is in the right price range… but what would the field of view look like on on my setup and what would I need to look out for to know if I got a bad one that should go back?

Edited by xonefs, 24 November 2021 - 04:35 PM.


#18 hopskipson

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:03 PM

You have gotten some great advice in every aspect. I started out with solar about 4 years ago after thinking about it for a few years. I had gone to a few NEAF solar parties and was captivated by the dynamic views. When I checked out the prices for the dedicated scopes I was a bit taken back. I had a 102 mm refractor and asked for some advice on this forum and got some conflicting advice but at least I felt better informed.
I got a new Quark Chromosphere at NEAF and I think only paid $900. I also got a deal on an ASI 174 m. I have to say I was impressed with how well and easy it worked. Maybe it was just luck but for the money spent it was worth it. I was able to hone my imaging and find out what works best. Most people use the Quark at F/30, but by going to F/35-40 narrows the the filter thereby increasing contrast of surface features. I have moved on to dedicated solar scopes and adding an external etalon to the 102, but I still like the Quark. It’s very portable and you can use a cell phone battery pack to eliminate the power cord. I could probably sell it for about what I paid but I don’t see that happening.

If you do get a Quark also get a 0.5x reducer for your camera (ASI174 or similar) to get critical sampling of Ha wavelength. Good luck with whatever you decide and welcome to the “bright side “ of astronomy 😁
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#19 C0rs4ir_

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:05 PM

I could not care less about visual, I don’t even own an eyepiece.

So it’s not clear how much I would really need to spend but probably too much to bother with as I would rather invest that kind of money more into night stuff. This would be more of a side quest which I can’t really justify $2k+ let alone $6k+ on.

ok. depends on the aperture you want to use. you need a achromatic refractor at around f/7 - f8, no ed or apo needed. then you need the quark chromosphere and you need a baader d-erf filter for the aperture (from 100mm aperture upwards). thats the minimum.

 

solar h-alpha is not cheap, actually the quark is a revolution. before and in earlyer days you had to expect around 10k $ for that pleasure.


Edited by C0rs4ir_, 24 November 2021 - 05:08 PM.


#20 hopskipson

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:53 PM

Just to give you an idea of what to expect.  I captured the following a few months after purchasing my Quark.  I did use it visually for a while and I was able to play with the tuning.  This is with the 102 mm, Quark + a 2" UV/IR filter, 0.5x GSO reducer in front of an ASI174M.  I cropped the image to eliminate the aberration from the focal reducer. Stacked in AS3!, Processed in ImPPG and some level adjustment and Shadows and Highlights in Photoshop.  I'm not the best imager on this forum but I think it looks okay.  I remember when Marty (MalveauX) was using a Quark and his images inspired many of us.  I know he's since moved on but his images led me to get a Quark.

 

Image04-13-2019.jpg


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#21 descott12

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:06 PM

Here are some examples of what I get with my double-stacked Lunt 50 mm

 

https://www.cloudyni...n-up-there-now/

 

The Lunt scopes are really great and customer service can't be beat. If I had to do it again, I would probably save a little extra cash and go for an 80 mm but that is a significantly larger investment, especially double-stacked.

 

All around, the Lunt 50 is an excellent scope and the price is hard to beat when compared to some of the other options.


Edited by descott12, 24 November 2021 - 07:32 PM.

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#22 MalVeauX

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:27 PM



.  I remember when Marty (MalveauX) was using a Quark and his images inspired many of us.  I know he's since moved on but his images led me to get a Quark.

Looking back, my Quark (which I bought used!) was an excellent sample by pure chance, it's uniformity was quite good and it was high contrast, definitely an outlier as far as Quark's go. But that said, it's hard to recommend it now, with how the copy variation is. Visually it can be easy to miss, but via camera it's painfully obvious how poor the contrast uniformity is on most Quark's that have really bright and dark banding all over. Expecting the uniformity it had is just not realistic. I had lots of offers from others to buy it because of its uniformity and contrast for what it was, and ultimately sold it because I was tired of mica-spaced work with the limited function of fine image scale and inability to do good full discs without lots of compromise, so I moved on from it. But again, most Quarks simply do not perform with high contrast and high uniformity.

 

For the sake of argument and comparison, I realize I've put forth a lot of "against Quarks" advice, I will share some of my better examples from my specific Quark from a 120mm, 150mm and 200mm aperture under sub-arc-second Florida seeing conditions to show it's performance at F40+ as a single stack and again this is not an example of what to expect from any average Quark at all. And despite this, I would still not recommend a Quark for someone wanting serious results without luck (gamble) on the etalon quality. I again frankly was super lucky to by chance land one of those exceptional Quark copies, but most are just underwhelming in quality.

 

200mm:

 

 

47541357752_6621f2ee46_b.jpg

 

47541357422_ac33768835_b.jpg

 

47578505422_1272c18e7f_b.jpg

 

47578504142_c034d9da2d_b.jpg

 

 

150mm:

 

 

31789961837_e9045951dc_b.jpg

 

 

120mm:

 

 

35361198672_f9db92771d_b.jpg

 

 

80mm:

 

 

47774303732_55c507ab7b_b.jpg

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 24 November 2021 - 06:39 PM.

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#23 hopskipson

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 07:02 PM

Once again Marty, lovely images! Of course the Quark has its faults and if you get a bad one I would return it right away but for the OP’s budget and goals we’d have to agree the Quark fits his needs.
The only other option would be to look at the Solar Chat forum for information not permitted here.
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#24 C0rs4ir_

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 04:43 AM

my next project will be a skywatcher 150mm f/8 achromat (got it used for around 500€) + Quark Chromosphere (good one used for around 1000€) + machined filterholder (300€) for the Baader D-ERF 160mm (980€, but have to wait until march next year for it to arrive). i didnt count in the camera and reducer that you want to use with this configuration.

 

so you see apart of a minimum of investments you also need another thing in solar h-alpha: a ton of patience.

you wont get the results shown directly, but you have to get used to the imaging techniques and the postprocessing which is very different from deep sky or planetary ap. you will have to make flats and deal with other specific technical issues like newton ring patterns etc.

 

but thats how it is with all new things.

 

 

to keep the budget minimal i would start out with the quark and a small achro refractor at around f/7 (higher is better for the etalon but also more difficult to handle). staying below 100mm aperture you dont need the expensive d-erf, but you can use a 2" uv/ir cut filter etc in front of the diagonal/quark.


Edited by C0rs4ir_, 25 November 2021 - 05:03 AM.

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#25 BYoesle

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 11:22 AM

I’m wondering just what kind of equipment and $ is needed to get the kind of high resolution detailed solar images I would be looking for. So… this still brings me back to the question of how would you spend ~$1,500 on an etalon if you already owned a 102mm refractor? I could not care less about visual, I don’t even own an eyepiece. So it’s not clear how much I would really need to spend but probably too much to bother with as I would rather invest that kind of money more into night stuff. This would be more of a side quest which I can’t really justify $2k+ let alone $6k+ on.

 

Wow!

 

Perhaps I have a different notion of what the word “serious” means. But honestly, to me these statements are not those of someone interested in “getting started in serious solar imaging.” It’s like stating “I want to get started into serious auto racing, but I only want to drive something like a cheap Yugo. If I have to get a Civic CRX, I’ll just stick to much cheaper bicycle racing.”

 

The Sun is one of the most detailed, and indeed is the most dynamic and awesome object one can actually see in the heavens. It is an amazing world of daytime astronomy unto itself and is IMHO deserving of as much if not more than nighttime investments, especially given the complexity and requirements of the narrow band filters involved. But since you don’t seem to actually observe anything, how would you know?

 

The solar forums on Cloudy Nights and Solar Chat seem to encourage this, as they have become mostly social media sites for posting solar images (very little on actual observing, etc.), and many of these are mediocre at best. The medium has become the message. Heck, many haven’t observed the Sun long enough to even figure out how their equipment works or know they’re not on-band, etc. It’s become the Facebook equivalent of "hey look at the cool pictures of my kids picking their nose." These pictures encourage everyone with a camera and a telescope to show off the fact that they haven't a clue about what they're doing – or why they're doing it – or to really know anything about the amazing star which is responsible for us all being here in the first place.

 

So ditching the term "serious;" just get a Quark and call it a day. You’ll at least get something good enough to post pictures with on CN and Solar Chat. waytogo.gif

 


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