LS60 upgrade options

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Dano
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LS60 upgrade options

Post by Dano » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:58 pm

Hello all;

First time to SolarChat, enjoy the site so far! Have a few questions about going with a larger aperture scope.
So I have a tilt tune LS60/B1200 that I've owned for about 3 years and really love the views and grab and go .
Saved my pennies and purchased a new LS50 etalon so now double stacked. After a bit of tweaking and tuning
out the reflections I see a nice difference in promps and detail and get a more 3d view although darker and
a little more susceptible to good seeing conditions.

I have now been contemplating going up in aperture for deeper views, would probably sell the LS60DD to put
towards a new Solar scope. Would love to get feedback from the group on upgrade options, for example a
90MM Solarmax II or Daystar quark or LS80SS pros and cons?

btw; leaning toward a Solarmax II 90mm

Cheers
Dan

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by marktownley » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:32 pm

Have you got another refractor?
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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Dano » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:44 pm

Not currently, But was considering picking up a used Explore Scientific AR102 if going the quark route.

Thanks

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Montana » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:03 am

Are you interested in imaging or visual?

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Dano » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:24 pm

Mostly visual, but would like to have the option for imaging... I've done some imaging with the LS60SS and enjoyed it.

Thanks

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by george9 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:43 am

I have the LS80DSII and the Quark.

I use the LS80 most of the time. Nice views, pretty portable, great full disk and proms. On the other hand, it will be the least different from what you have now. And mine is DS, which really adds to the disk view in my opinion.

The Solarmax is pretty heavy. Between it and its mount, it will not be nearly as portable as your LS60. In theory it will be a little more improved over your current LS60, but in practice, I see little difference between the LS80 and the SM90.

The Quark is fun. More do it yourself. Can use it on any refractor you want. For full disk views, you will need also a short-focus refractor. As portable as your refractor, but you do have to wait for it to warm up every time. I use mine mainly on a 155mm refractor. And I now also doublestack that one (with my DSII unit intended for my LS80).

George

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Dano » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:29 pm

Greetings George;

Thanks for the response, appreciate your feedback on the different scopes and quark you own. I wonder if it would be even worth
considering an LS80SS for an upgrade at this point (extra 20mm be a noticeable improvement)? then DS later.

Also I am willing to sacrifice some portability for larger aperture though.

I do find the Quark interesting, wonder how it would hold up for imaging, also how long is the settle down time between adjustments?

Dan

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by MalVeauX » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:33 pm

Dano wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:58 pm
Hello all;

First time to SolarChat, enjoy the site so far! Have a few questions about going with a larger aperture scope.
So I have a tilt tune LS60/B1200 that I've owned for about 3 years and really love the views and grab and go .
Saved my pennies and purchased a new LS50 etalon so now double stacked. After a bit of tweaking and tuning
out the reflections I see a nice difference in promps and detail and get a more 3d view although darker and
a little more susceptible to good seeing conditions.

I have now been contemplating going up in aperture for deeper views, would probably sell the LS60DD to put
towards a new Solar scope. Would love to get feedback from the group on upgrade options, for example a
90MM Solarmax II or Daystar quark or LS80SS pros and cons?

btw; leaning toward a Solarmax II 90mm

Cheers
Dan
Heya,

More aperture will net you more details resolved. The 50mm double stack you currently have is actually quite good. I wouldn't be in a rush to let it go just to go up in aperture. I think this is a case where I would suggest keeping your 50mm double stack and instead, just add a Quark to the mix and a pair of binoviewers and a larger aperture achromatic doublet, such as a 120mm or 127mm F6~F8 achromatic doublet refractor. Like an Ex Scientific 127mm F6.5 with a 2" Baader UV/IR block filter. And again, stressing the point on binoviewers to really take advantage of that brighter view with a large aperture. You may also enjoy a binoviewer with your double stack 50mm if it's not too dim.

A 90mm Solarmax II would be awesome. But, it's also very expensive and still will not resolve what a 127mm aperture would. So I guess it's about priorities and where you want to go with this. We're firmly in a solar minimum, so rarely surface stuff to see unless you're at very high resolution, and the prominences are the main show right now, when there are any, and they're lesser than what you'll see in a maximum too.

$4k for a 90mm Solarmax with a 15mm blocking filter is a big chunk. Would be nice, especially double stacked! But why stop at 90mm?

Mean while, for about $1k you can get a Quark and for another $250 or so get a W.O. binoviewer and if you have a larger refractor, you're set, otherwise, an AR127 F6.5 would be awesome with it.

I image with a Quark with both a 120mm & 150mm aperture refractor. See my Astrobin for examples. I don't adjust it. You tune it once and leave it. It takes 5~7 minutes.

Very best,

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by george9 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:06 am

Dan, I think for the price, the LS80SS won't feel better enough than your LS60SS. For that matter, neither will the SolarMax SS, in my opinion. In part because the LS60 is a really nice scope.

FYI, for a day in and day out portable solar scope, I have yet to beat the LS80 DSII (but with a brighter blocking filter that I obtained, and with a circular polarizing filter between the etalons). That's $5000. With a binoviewer, as Marty points out. A pair of front-mounted 90mm Coronado filters on a portable scope would also be good, but I find some sweet spot issues with a binoviewer, and also harder to swing up and down band for shifted phenomena, so I prefer the LS80 DSII. But again, a high price and not that much better than your current.

But to add the most fun, I also agree with Marty here and think the Quark will bring the most bang for the buck. You'll probably put it on different refractors, but a big one is the main purpose. Might get by with in internal ERF for now, like the Baader UV-IR cut filter.

The Quark does not give a great full disk view, in my opinion, even with a 0.3A Quark I once saw. So keep your LS60-50 DS. And it's 10-20 minutes to change temps.

If money were unlimited, I would own the LS80 DSII that I currently own plus a SolarSpectrum 0.3A filter for large refractors (to replace the Quark).

George

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Montana » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:11 pm

Do remember that getting a good Quark like Marty's is a very rare event, it is a lottery, they are cheap and cheerful for a reason. So don't take Marty's images as a gold standard, this is very rare and exceptional. (I don't want you to get disappointed).

Alexandra

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by pedro » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:31 pm

I agree with Alexandra, I bought a Quark chromosphere recently and it has to be replaced unfortunately

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Montana » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:09 am

Oh dear Pedro :lol: you were warned :)

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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by Bob Yoesle » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:42 pm

Hi Dano,

If at all possible, for whatever you decide to buy, make sure you can return it if you are not pleased with the performance. Even the very most highly regarded manufacturers can have a lemon slip through, and with commercial production pressures, overall quality has seemed to slip from what it was a few years back.

As Alexandra notes, the Quarks are Quite variable. These are the filters that didn't quite make the cut for the SE/PE grade filters. That being said, sometimes production outstrips demand, and something special comes through. I recently acquired a virtually new 2016 0.6 Quantum PE that originally sold as an SE, for an amazingly low price. But I still insisted in meeting up with the seller to verify the performance before purchase. Short of that, I would have insisted I could return the filter with no questions asked if it didn't pan out.

Seeing where you currently are (50 mm DS), mostly visual, and depending on your budget, the best improvement in having just one scope/filter system would be 90 to 100 mm double stacked. While larger apertures do well for imaging (like Marty does in Florida - probably with generally above average seeing), moderate apertures will be more useful visually 80% or more of the time due to daytime seeing limitations. With good seeing, higher magnification and imaging will still be pretty darn good.

Front mounted filters usually perform better than internal or near the focal plane filters by virtue that the field angles are at their minimum, giving the most uniform contrast possible across a full solar disc. They can be used with any scope you have lying around, even a relatively inexpensive achro refractor at f8 or longer would be fine.

The Solar Scope filters are great, but out of most peoples price range. The SF100 filter does need a Baader DERF 110 for better thermal stability due to the lack of a central spacer (patent held by Coronado).

Lunt has the LS100FHa filter (patented "root 3" spacer system), and it can be double stacked externally with a second filter, or internally via the LS100THa telescope. Still a bit on the spendy side.

Coronado has the SM90III filters, which also can be double stacked via a second external filter, or the older SM90II external/internal combination. I have done the majority of my H alpha work with original (pre-Meade) SM90 double stacked filters from Coronado Tucson - if you can find these on the used market, get them ;-)
SM90 DS full disc mosaic.jpg
SM90 DS full disc mosaic.jpg (490.03 KiB) Viewed 243 times
Full disc and higher resolution views are readily attainable with 90-100 mm of aperture. See https://www.cloudynights.com/gallery/me ... 2-byoesle/.

I have limited experience with the commercial internally double stacked telescopes, but they haven't seemed to offer as good an image compared to their external filter counterparts (LS152 does offer better resolution, however). The exception seems to be the Lunt LS80THa, by virtue of a relatively large internal etalon, field angle magnification is very well controlled. However, double stacking internal etalons seems to be more problematic, as the secondary retro-reflections between the two internal etalons appear more difficult to remove than with double stacked external etalons, and as opposed to front double stacked filter system, diffuse background glow seems to be enhanced, not reduced. The best solution is adding a B+W Kaesemann circular polarizing filter between the internal etalons, as George has done. If you can manage that - and it requires some MacGyvering to accomplish - then the LS80THa DS might be the sweet spot of aperture, portability, and contrast performance.

The near the focal plane filters (Daystar and Solar Spectrum) seem to me to be a more specialized filter and best suited for longer focal length close-up views and imaging. These require good telecentric optics (Baader or BelOptik) to get to focal ratios above f30 (f50 would be ideal to reach the specified bandpass), and double stacking is considerably more difficult. Non-double stacked filters of this type require a bandpass of 0.3 A or less to get near the contrast performance of a double stacked system, and therefore are also quite expensive...
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Re: LS60 upgrade options

Post by TheSkyBurner » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:51 am

I jumped in here to mention that even the "highest graded" commercial etalon systems are not immune to performance problems. Jean Piearre-Brahic, a world renowned hydrogen alpha imager that is by every means professional and published numerous times. Has proven with out a doubt several times now that Daystar PE filters can infact be complete trash. The same can be true for solar spectrum filters.

So you could plunk down the $15,000 to $25,000 for the "research grade" etalon which has "A+ grade mica" built by actual scientists, and this device likely will still not perform to the proven ability of nearly 80% of all the modified coronado pst put together by the dirty unskilled hands of amateurs.

It would appear that daystar has also lost some of their manufacturing quality assurance credibility like lunt, or the PST filter is just intentionally designed as a wolf in sheeps clothing. Certain models seem to exhibit university grade optics, and I am stating to believe this is not a fluke but a precisely controlled circumstance designed to raise the average inspection ratio.

The majority of PST optics are bad but this A+ insertion ratio increases the overall acceptability parameter of a particular shipment, the company knows "X" amount is going to be returned as serviceable and "Z" amount is going to be kept with its desired intended ability)


So imagine paying $15,000 for a university grade optic that would initially be reserved and sent into outer space by nasa, only to be out performed by a teenagers toy telescope. (Coronado PST.)

It would be rather embarrassing, so the "real, research grade mica" is not sold commercially to the general public and these very precise minerals are literally kept locked away in a vault until a very important customer is involved (i.e the military, or government agency).

I can assure you that the mica which goes into a commercially sold daystar PE filter, is not going into that NASA satellite project.

For whatever reason, everyone that makes these etalons is still delivering bad parts intentionally because otherwise they have to deliver things to a landfill and accept complete loss of investment. It is an acceptable practice to deliver a certain grade of "bad parts", because sometimes the user just has no clue and will never find out.

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