Quark First Light

Use this section to discuss "standard" Baader/Coronado/ Lunt SolarView/ Daystar, etc… filters, cameras and scopes. No mods, just questions/ answers and reviews.
Post Reply
eliot
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:41 pm

Quark First Light

Post by eliot » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:42 pm

I’ve taken the plunge and bought a Quark Chromosphere after reading about the good experiences there. After a long wait it finally got first light today. :D

A friend has lent me a William Optics 70ED refactor so I could see the full disc with my 32mm eyepiece. The WO only had a 1.25” focuser and I have a 2” diagonal, therefore I had to look straight through the scope. Second problem is without a diagonal the WO does not have enough back focus. I had to remove the lens from an old Barlow to use as an extension tube.

To be completely honest I wasn’t overly impressed with the view. However this is probably because I wasn’t at the best viewing angle (being on my hands and knees), and I don’t think that the quark was completely square. Tried to adjust the tuning but didn’t really make much difference as I could only really see prominences.

Moving over to my Equinox 120 (with a 35nm Ha filter as an ERF). Again not brilliant. Admittedly the seeing wasn’t great (but when is it in the UK). Dark lines/bands in a chevron pattern could be seen across the whole field of view. When I concentrated on the prominences (some of the best I have ever seen) I could make out some subtle surface details, but I felt as if I was looking through the bands in order to see them. The bands had more contrast than the surface details. Playing about with the tuning didn’t appear to make any difference to contrast on the surface details, but could improve the prominences.

I dropped in a QHY5L-II-M to start imaging. I had a great deal of trouble getting good focus, and the SER files came back with Newton’s Rings.

Finally the clouds and work put an end to a short and frustrating session.

I am positive that most if not all of my issues are down to user error, and with a few more sunny days I’ll sort them out.

I’ve ordered a new diagonal to use with the 70ED. How much difference does getting the quark square make and how can I measure and correct any angle?

I need to rotate the quark to see if the bands move. However there was mention somewhere else on the forum about dark bands. If it a fault with the quark or is there something I can do?

Stupid question, but how do people tune their quarks? :oops: I found it very hard to remember if the previous setting was better or worse after waiting for the temperature to settle. If I could improve the contrast I’m sure that most of my issues would be resolved.

User avatar
grimble_cornet
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 3496
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:10 pm
Location: UK West Midlands

Re: Quark First Light

Post by grimble_cornet » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:17 pm

Welcome to the Quark owners club UK :seesaw

A few thoughts based on my experiences (which include frustration, joy and despair in almost equal quantities)

Firstly, I am almost entirely an imager and was equally underwhelmed by my first look through a Quark. Others have said it was a WOW moment but not for me. However, after a few minutes with a dark cloth over my head I started to see quite a bit of detail on the disk and in proms - unless you are an experienced solar visual observer I think it just takes time and patience.

Secondly - one of the key requirements is for the Quark to be mounted square to the optical axis. Data produced by Daystar, and backed up by the experience of users, suggest that many focusers have enough 'slop' to degrade performance - even half a degree will throw the Quark seriously off band and widen the bandpass. I can certainly confirm this and wouldn't use the 1.25" mount or expect too much from a 'cheapo' 2" focuser.

Thirdly, there has been lots of discussion about the best scopes for the Quark and you can research this if you like being confused :lol:
The simple (or is that simplistic?) conclusion is that you want a final f ratio of about f30 so scopes in the f7-f10 range will probably work well.
My Equinox 80 (f6.250 works OK but the Equinox 120 (f7.5) is excellent. I was surprised how well my Tal 100 (f10) worked but it was let down by the focuser which has now been replaced by a superb MoonLite - watch this space :o

Fourthly, tuning is a bit of a sore point with me - my Quark has just come back from a holiday in the USA where Daystar have been reprogramming the tuner set point. Excellent service by the way. Daystar seem to suggest on their website that the tuning is more about compensating for slop in focusers than matching Doppler shift but............. in any case, the changes are fairly small. Set it to the middle position and only worry about 'fine-tuning' once you have it working reasonably well. Most people find that once they find the correct setting for their Quark-scope combination, they rarely need to change it from day to day.

Other points............
Are you using an erf with your Equinox 120?
I use a 2" UV/IR-Cut filter which is probably the absolute minimum protection for that aperture - I also use it with smaller scopes as I track the sun for quite long periods.
The Quark is great for imaging but it is probably more difficult than imaging with 'normal' Ha scopes.
Remember that it has a built-in x4.3 magnification which means that it quite sensitive to poor seeing (how often can you use a x4 Barlow?).
Many people use a x0.5 reducer screwed into the camera nosepiece to reduce the magnification. This one works reasonably well and is cheap as chips: http://www.telescopehouse.com/acatalog/ ... 1.25-.html
You may find that you need to experiment with nosepiece length - some people find that a shorter one (15mm) works better but it depends on where the sensor is in your camera (the Grasshopper sensor is deep inside and a 30mm nosepiece puts the reducer too far away giving too much reduction and distorted results).

Newton's rings can be a real pain when imaging in Ha - they drove me to distraction until I upgraded to a PG Grasshopper since when I haven't seen a ring :seesaw
If you search on here you will find lots of discussion about causes, coping strategies and solutions which work for some... but not for others :roll:

Finally, my repaired Quark arrived just in time for me to give it a Quick test this afternoon.
I used my Lunt 60mm f8 refractor (which is OK but nothing scpecial when used with the Quark) to grab a few images in pretty poor seeing (heart of the jetstream passing overhead at the time).
This might give you an idea of what to expect in mediocre conditions with a poorly matched scope and x0.5 reducer (although the Grasshopper camera really makes a difference):
Lunt60 Quark-2 Grasshopper 2015 0403 1416 ut.jpg
Hope some of this helps :lol: :roll: :lol:
.

.



.


Mike Garbett

Selection of Solar and Deep Sky images on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikegarbett/

User avatar
swisswalter
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 17951
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:28 am
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Quark First Light

Post by swisswalter » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:30 am

Hi Eliot

welcome to that wonderful site. Have fun in the sun. Take your time practicing
Only stardust in the wind, some fine and some less fine scopes, filters and adapters as well. Switzerland 47 N, 9 E, in the heart of EUROPE :)

from 7 am - 7 pm http://www.nanosys.ch

from 7.01 pm - 6.59 am http://www.wastronomiko.com some times vice versa ;)

User avatar
marktownley
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 24536
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:27 pm
Location: Brierley Hills, UK
Contact:

Re: Quark First Light

Post by marktownley » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:06 am

Hi there. Welcome to the club! Like said already, the quark needs to be square to the optical axis else the band pass widens and the contrast drops. I used a 70mm f6 scope for a while, but the results I get through my 80mm f7.5mm blow it away. Not sure what is going on with the bands you're talking about, sounds very unusual... Also, sadly, the QHY is a far from ideal solution for solar, they are prone to newtons rings...
Image
http://brierleyhillsolar.blogspot.co.uk/
Solar images, a collection of all the most up to date live solar data on the web, imaging & processing tutorials - please take a look!

eliot
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:41 pm

Re: Quark First Light

Post by eliot » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:39 am

Thanks for all the comments I’ve a lot to take on board. Upgrading kit is always troublesome, but part of the fun of astronomy is working out how to get the maximum out of your equipment. In some ways it reminds me of moving from DSLR to Cooled CCD for after dark astronomy.

It’s good to hear that others find it difficult visually as well. I am predominantly an imager as well, but she who must be obeyed quite like to look at the sun from time to time so the PST I was hoping to sell will have to stay.

I used a Baader 35nm Ha filter as an ERF on the equinox (forgot at first and it was a bit bright). For imaging I also used the 0.5x reducer. One of the troubles with the QHY is that the nosepiece is long and is a non astronomy standard thread so I’m limited to a high reduction ratio.

I assume it is better to image straight through as there is one less optical element to introduce tilt and other aberrations?

User avatar
grimble_cornet
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 3496
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:10 pm
Location: UK West Midlands

Re: Quark First Light

Post by grimble_cornet » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:00 pm

Good comparison; DSLR to CCD was a similar learning curve for me too.
All my Quark imaging so far has been with a 2" diagonal but now I have the MoonLite focuser I will move over to straight through to make maximum use of its accuracy.
I'm not sure if the Baader 35nm Ha filter will 'do the job' of protecting the filter/you/the camera - I went with the 2" UV/IR Cut following DayStar's recommendations - I'm sure that the 'modders' will know.
.

.



.


Mike Garbett

Selection of Solar and Deep Sky images on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikegarbett/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests