Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

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BillyBoyBoy
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Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by BillyBoyBoy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:17 am

Hello!

I am a new SolarChat member, but not a new reader. I am on CN as well and I am going on about two years of painfully patient research about imaging and visual for solar. I've been on my 16" dob for a few years and I've been on a VERY patient campaign to get some proper gear for imaging and solar.

In my adventures reading and learning about what direction I should go with my solar rig, I am baffled by the popularity of the PST etalon, yet the absence of the etalon itself on the market as a stand-alone product.

I understand there are a couple stages of modifications that can be done to take the etalon out of the PST and use it on a user's-choice scope. CN doesn't even allow discussion about it and apparently, it can be goofed up, and there's fear of liability.

Why on earth can there be so much demand for what is a high quality and much sought-after etalon, and it not be produced properly, consistently and safely by the manufacturer for non-PST use?

I figure the etalon itself constitutes the majority of the price of the PST, but as a manufacturer, I'd think it not just opportunistic, but perhaps even responsible, to supply a properly manufactured product to a demand that currently requires a home hack to satisfy, and with eye safety as the looming concern. I am sure the mods are not that big of a deal, and I know there are many of you that have done these mods entirely safely. It just seems to be a missing product. I'd buy it. Or two.

I would wager a guess that the practice of mixing and matching air-spaced etalons, blockers, and solid-spaced etalons with user-owned scopes of varying manufacture may be something a single manufacturer wouldn't want to touch from a liability standpoint, by selling an etalon intended to mix-and-match with other parts. But in a sense, the solid etalon manufacturers are doing it. They sell their etalons as parts of a larger system that are usually others' products.

I can't seem to find this sentiment anywhere else on the internets. Surely there are others that have thought about this?

Sunny days!

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by TheSkyBurner » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 am

Because its too dangerous for 95% of the astronomy community.

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by BillyBoyBoy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:03 am

But what about all the other manufacturers producing etalons?

Can you provide some more detail to flesh out your previous answer? If not done right, all solar is dangerous.

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by TheSkyBurner » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:53 am

There are only four or five manufacturers for hobby based hydrogen alpha etalons, meade outsources theres to a third unknown party in mexico. Then theres lunt usa, daystar usa, and solarscopes of europe. (Baader planetarium recently started selling them but they cannot be used wihout the primary source of protection , the d-erf)

Each etalon has its own very specific safety features, the main being ultraviolet infrared coating red glass incorporated onto such etalons. This coating is not on the pst etalon, nor does it come with the red glass.

The pst has 5 fail safe, mechanisms to prevent eyedamage. Should 1 of the theses fail safes succomb to damage, the user still has four more barriers of protection.

The main concern is that pst etalon was specifically intended for a 40mm aperture, using all the fail safes still in place.

When you disconnect the “black box” from the ost etalon, you effectively remove all fail safe devices. Ontop of that, all pst mod users crank up the aperture well beyond that of the specified 40mm objective.

There are users that have plopped that etalon right into a 208mm objective, with no other protection other than a “blocking filter”. They then put their eyepiece in and start looking visually. There has never been any safety tests performed on any pst mod, and it has never been “officially” deemed safe by any level of scientific tests, or industrial standard eye safety protocol.

The other etalons you speak of, are objective mounted, and do not exceed 100mm in diameter. Each one contains the red glass with ir/uv cut coating. It can never be used without a blocking filter. They safety concern at 100mm has been well estsblished using the manufactured standard part supplied by the company that manufactured that specific etalon.

Blocking filters have never been proven to be “safely interchangeable” for visual use. So a coronado blocking filter should never be used visually with a lunt hydorgen alpha filter. However, people are still using this stuff visually and switching out the blocking filters because one is “brighter” than the other.

This brightness factor can damage your eyeball, and you would not know it for several years. The damage is cumulative. You will never feel a sting, or burn, it will degrade your rods and cones to the point of microcellular death. Your eye sensitivity to certain colors is then degraded and reds can appear orange, or you can just totally wipe out the green cone entirely.

Think color blindness, to a much more serious degree.

The pst etalon, is dangerous to 95% of the astro community because they think its a cheaper way to a better performing scope. This, then enables further corner cutting and carelessness. The proper energy rejection system for a 208mm objective costs $3500us. 95% of people will not buy that $3500 insurance policy.

There is no concern if the device is used strictly for imaging, but, not everybody can be trusted to follow the rules of safety and all it takes is one 12 year old kid to ruin the entire solar market.


Detailed enough?

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by TheSkyBurner » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:59 am

And yes, you are correct. All solar filters are dangerous to an extent when not used correctly. That being said, the reflection of sunlight on your car is also dangerous if you keep looking directly at it.

Some people get careless, and carelessness is entirely the reason why they are not sold. Nobody wants to take any chances.

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by BillyBoyBoy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:57 pm

Yes, detailed enough. Thank you for your insight, and it probably needed to be said.

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by marktownley » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:37 pm

Well said Apollo.
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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by TheSkyBurner » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:22 pm

i will add this extra note,

you CAN buy the lunt pressure tuner etalon which has the single stage of protection pre installed and it is not removeable. It is the red glass ir/uv energy ejection safety feature pre fitted directly infront of the etalon itself. However you still need the lunt blocking filter. (you can both parts directly from lunt)

The lunt parts are a little more pricey than the pst, but in the end it is worth it as long as you are playing it safe with the lunt blocking filter. This "should" be entirely safe up to 100mm F/7,, however not one single scientific battery of tests to prove this has ever been performed to deem it safe.

If you boost up the aperture you still need all the external protection in the form of d-erf(dielectric energy rejection filter) , there are additional "cheap shortcuts" where sub aperture rejection is used but is very difficult to incorporate inside of your telescope ota if you do not have access to proper tools or a machinist. The lunt 200mm telescope has a very special coating on the objective to allow rejection of almost all infrared light. It also has the red glass permanently mounted in-front of the etalon and the blocking filter incorporated directly after the etalon. You cannot remove these.

The daystar quark has all the necessary protection built in, and is equally priced to the lunt pressure tuner. it is also the easiest and best route to high aperture visual hydrogen alpha on a budget. All you need is a IR/UV cut filter placed in-front of the quark for the larger aperture. The quark has the blocking filter built directly into the module.

You do have options to "play", but it is just not for everyone.

Nobody should ever have to get hurt.

This smoke, could be your eye.


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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by george9 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:52 pm

I agree completely. I see a lot of swapping of blocking filters that gets me nervous. Fine for imaging but not visual. The only safe way for me to brighten a blocking filter is to ask the original manufacturer to do it (sometimes they can). And even then, I checked it with a spectrometer. In all my visual experiments, I always make sure that there is an entire intact single-manufacturer system in the path (usually a Quark). No harm in adding more to that. So I would add a PST etalon to a Quark but not use it alone.

I even wonder about swapping ERFs. I think SolarSpectrum is verified for the Baader D-ERF. I assume the other DayStar models can be used with the Baader D-ERF in place of the DayStar ERF, but I have never asked them (I know Quark is fine, but what about the larger models).

George

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by Dave S » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:00 pm

A friend saw my solar photos and asked me if he could use his iPhone with settings to do the same thing.
Yeah, he asked that.
So I created this instructional video for him:
https://youtu.be/sDDUepzr9pU

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by Carbon60 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:03 pm

I only ever use my modified scopes for imaging.... safest way!!

Stu.
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More images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/solarcarbon60/

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by MalVeauX » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:08 pm

The PST Etalon is sold on its own.

You just get some crumby other bits with it for free.

;)

Very best,

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by pedro » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:37 am

Dave S wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:00 pm
A friend saw my solar photos and asked me if he could use his iPhone with settings to do the same thing.
Yeah, he asked that.
So I created this instructional video for him:
https://youtu.be/sDDUepzr9pU

I loved your video, LOL

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Re: Why is the PST etalon not sold on its own?

Post by BillyBoyBoy » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:15 am

Ok, that's hilarious.

For the record, I'm looking at a Quantum solid on the back of maybe an AiryLab HaT. I know the benefits of double stacking, and was checking out my options. I've been considering the Lunt DSII module made for the LS80... thank you George :D

The answers in the thread, especially yours Apollo, do raise my awareness about making sure the blocker is designed to handle a certain aperture of scope, and though I'm sure a Quantum will be fine for the HaT, it's good to know for sure.

Bill

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