Newbie advice please

this is the main message area for anything solar :)
Post Reply
Tigger
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Newbie advice please

Post by Tigger »

Good evening,

I am new to SolarChat and this is my first post. I would really appreciate some advice from the community. I have been doing night time astronomy for over 10 years and have 4", 6" and 14" scopes. I have always wanted to do solar but have only just got round to it. What's not to love, astronomy with the most dynamic object in the sky; in the warm sun and topping up the vitamin D.

I have dipped my toe in the water and 6 months ago bought a Lunt ls50 b600. A basic starter scope. Well now I am hooked but on a tight budget. I want to upgrade a little bit but do not know which way to go. I am purely visual and have no desire to do AP, but I want more detail/resolution so do I: -

1. Double stack my ls50? - I have read that the surface features will be easier to see because the contrast is increased, but will I be able to see more detail on the proms? I can easily get 43x mag and usually 70x mag is ok. Will my mag be compromised because the disk will be darker and by how much. I have seen image comparisons of ls50 ss & ds but what will I see visually?

2. Do I sell the ls50 and get a ss ls60? will I see very much more detail on the proms. I know its a 44% increase in light gathering but will I see much difference visually. I guess the surface will still look roughly the same as with the 50, which is pretty uninspiring.

Is it better to get the bigger scope or ds my 50? or is there another alternative?

I would appreciate some advise because solar is very expensive and I want to make the right decision. I have looked around for second hand gear but there is not much going. I guess most people hang on to their scopes when they upgrade. I am guilty of this as well. Do we all hang on to our scopes just in case.....

Thanks for reading and I hope you can help

John


User avatar
Carbon60
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 8652
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:33 pm
Location: Lancashire, UK
Has thanked: 1682 times
Been thanked: 1525 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Carbon60 »

Welcome, John.

I use a DS Lunt 60, which is quite popular, as is the Lunt 80, or Coronado 90 in their various formats. It depends on your budget, of course. Going larger than these really depends on the quality of your seeing and depth of your pockets. :)

I’m sure you’ll receive many opinions on this topic.

Stu.


H-alpha, WL and Ca II K imaging kit for various image scales.
Fluxgate Magnetometers (1s and 150s Cadence).
Radio meteor detector.
More images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/solarcarbon60/
User avatar
ffellah
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 4667
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:46 pm
Location: Westport, CT USA
Has thanked: 1264 times
Been thanked: 686 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by ffellah »

A warm welcome John: you are in the right place for solar AP. People are friendly and share their knowledge.

Franco


User avatar
Bob Yoesle
Almost There...
Almost There...
Posts: 678
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:24 pm
Has thanked: 44 times
Been thanked: 124 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Bob Yoesle »

Is it better to get the bigger scope or ds my 50? or is there another alternative?
Get the larger 60, save up for the external 60 mm double stack etalon. You'll be glad you did.


Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

Curiosity is the father of knowledge; uncertainty is the mother of wisdom.

Goldendale Observatory

Dark-Sky Defenders
User avatar
pedro
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 9092
Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 8:26 pm
Location: Portugal
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 1321 times
Contact:

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by pedro »

I agree with Bob, the 60 is great for solar observation and imaging as well. The double stack etalon can come next


User avatar
MAURITS
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 2131
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:37 pm
Location: Belgium
Has thanked: 151 times
Been thanked: 343 times
Contact:

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by MAURITS »

Agree with Stu, Franco, Bob and Pedro.


Regards,
Maurits

Vista del Cielo Observatory

www.vistadelcielo.be
User avatar
Montana
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 24964
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 3769 times
Been thanked: 1497 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Montana »

A very warm and sunny welcome :hamster:

I agree, if you are mainly visual definitely go for a double stack, it is like night and day for the eyes

Alexandra


User avatar
eroel
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 6772
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:45 pm
Location: México D.F.
Been thanked: 1340 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by eroel »

John:
I agree with the forists though I do´nt have a Lunt.
BTW, where are you situated?
Welcome to this friendly forum where we all learn.
Eric.


User avatar
DeepSolar64
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 4661
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:19 am
Location: Edneyville North Carolina U.S.A.
Has thanked: 2696 times
Been thanked: 2363 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by DeepSolar64 »

There is gonna be a lot of differing opinions here. With me I would probably double-stack the LS50Tha. I have a Coronado 60 and 90 SolarMax II and would still like a Lunt LS50. Is yours a tilt-tuned model or pressure tuned? With both of my " nados " being tilt-tuned I would get a pressure tuned model. But that's a different subject.

Get you a double stack etalon.

James


Lunt 8x32 SUNoculars
Orion 70mm Solar Telescope
Celestron AstroMaster Alt/Az Mount
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 60 DS
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 90 DS
Meade Coronado AZS Alt/Az Mount
Astro-Tech AT72EDII with Altair solar wedge
Celestron NexStar 102GT with Altair solar wedge
Losmandy AZ8 Alt/Az Mount
ZWO ASI178MM monochrome camera
Lunt, Coronado, TeleVue, Orion and Meade eyepieces

Image Visual Observer
" Way more fun to see it! "
Tigger
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Tigger »

Hi all,

Thank you all very much for your warm welcome and advice. It’s greatly appreciated but I’m still undecided. Hum decisions decisions


Tigger
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Tigger »

Hi James,

I would be grateful if you could expand on your reasons to get a ds for the ls50. I have the pressure tuned model. It’s taking me a while to get used to it, but it does give good, abet narrow depth of field views.

I am tending towards getting a ds for the 50 because it’s the cheapest way to get ds views.

I expect I’ll disappear down the aperture rabbit hole later on, but I’m trying to avoid upsetting ‘er who must be obeyed at the moment

James do you have a ds unit if so how much difference can I expect to see visually

Many thanks

Hohn


User avatar
DeepSolar64
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 4661
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:19 am
Location: Edneyville North Carolina U.S.A.
Has thanked: 2696 times
Been thanked: 2363 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by DeepSolar64 »

John,

The DS etalon will greatly enhance the detail you will see on the solar surface. Things like filaments and plages will stand out much better. Prominences however usually are best observed in single stack often because many proms are dimmer and rendered faint or invisible in double stack. Bright proms often show considerable detail in double stack.

Bob's advice on the Lunt 60 is good too. It will show more than the 50 but your 50 will cost less to upgrade by buying the DS etalon for it.

Both my 60 and 90mm Ha scopes are double stacked. They do very well with the SMII90 doing really nice. The SMII90 also does superbly on proms in single stack.

There is an old saying " Once you stack you'll never go back ".

James


Lunt 8x32 SUNoculars
Orion 70mm Solar Telescope
Celestron AstroMaster Alt/Az Mount
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 60 DS
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 90 DS
Meade Coronado AZS Alt/Az Mount
Astro-Tech AT72EDII with Altair solar wedge
Celestron NexStar 102GT with Altair solar wedge
Losmandy AZ8 Alt/Az Mount
ZWO ASI178MM monochrome camera
Lunt, Coronado, TeleVue, Orion and Meade eyepieces

Image Visual Observer
" Way more fun to see it! "
User avatar
Stardust5858
Almost There...
Almost There...
Posts: 718
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:44 am
Has thanked: 312 times
Been thanked: 379 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Stardust5858 »

I have a Lunt 60mm Double Stack and can't fault it. It's my most used scope along with the 80ed baader k-line scope. They're used nearly every day, weather permitting. No doubt you've looked at the images on this site but I've added one. Also I recommend this book.
Attachments
IMG_20201205_122801__01.jpg
IMG_20201205_122801__01.jpg (4.57 MiB) Viewed 99 times
PSX_20201208_100537.jpg
PSX_20201208_100537.jpg (1.3 MiB) Viewed 99 times


10ft x 6ft Solar RoR with Warm Room
Lunt 60mm Double Stack HA
80ed WL+ Lunt Hershal Wedge + Badder K-Line filter.
100mm AR + Lunt b1800 Ca-K module.
Neq6 Eq Mount.

2.7m Pulsar Dome.
11in Celestron SCT + White Light Filter.
70mm AR Stellavue.
12inch OO Newtonian.
Nec6 Eq Mount.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 2962
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 4:45 pm
Location: Essex, S.E.England
Been thanked: 1677 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Hello John and welcome to the best forum for Solar purposes and advice (and sometime other useful details too)..

In fact, Stu, Franco, Bob, Pedro, Alexandra, Eric, James, and James(2) as well as Nigella now and probably "Uncle Tom Cobley and all" (if he was a SolarChatter) would agree and have said here. So I will add my bit to the masses.

I have been a user of the Lunt 60Ha/BF1200 (non pressure-tuned) as well as its' Double Stack for 10-years. (incidentally a Lunt 60 Calcium-K/BF1200 scope too and all ordered and supplied together some 10-years ago, using the best advice in the UK available at that time.

Getting used to the Ha at first was simple enough with it's tuning and with fabulous visual views and some digital-camera captures too.
When adding the DS, two of us immediately noticed the difference of a far better contrast and showing more detail, after a while of adjusting both etalons, which needs to get used to being done, for whatever details of the Sun's surface and the prominences.

On SolarChat, going back through the archives over so many years here, one can see so often the images taken by any of the scopes available including of course the Lunt 50's and 60's etc. Personally I have not been able to get some Ha, Cal-K and WL imaging posted on SolarChat since November'20, but hoping for a restart in due course...

I would have to recommend Lunt as their service and back-up advice etc., is to my knowledge is un-blemished.
Obviously (and in many cases) the more you pay, the better is the acquisition and as you know, SolarScoping is not cheap, so in the first instance enjoy what you already have and with the new Solar Cycle#25 only recently coming alive, please take your time and enjoy the views with your 50..

Whilst you are enjoying those views (and even imaging too - as we can see on SolarChat with the 50mm version), start saving-up if need be (doing some of those chars for whoever - at a cost !!!) and decide on upgrading either with a 50-DS or going further to the 60mm and maybe even it's DS.

A Blocking Filter of say BF1200 or above would also enhance the capabilities for better views/imaging on the 60mm or above.

There is of course Birthdays and Christmas pressy's to think about - for others to take care of !!!

"Patience is a Virtue" and assuming you have a Solar-available tracking-mount already, you should be in for an interesting time over the next 10-years and more. I certainly wish you the best acquisitions you can enjoy..

Best Wishes
Terry


EGRAY_OBSERVATORY
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 2962
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 4:45 pm
Location: Essex, S.E.England
Been thanked: 1677 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

I must also add John, that any second-hand purchases have the risk that they might be (or well be) sub-standard for a number of reasons and are very unlikely to have any good warranty.

Only buy from reputable suppliers who themselves will likely have acquired those products from the manufacturers and/or their main-agents, which in the case of U.K. suppliers of Lunt-gear at least, could be from Lunt-Europe in Germany or direct from them and/or direct from the U.S.

Cheers
Terry


Tigger
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Tigger »

Nigella - Thank you for your suggested book. Now I have started solar obs. I have a curiosity about what exactly I am observing, but have struggled to find a decent explanation. This book looks perfect

Terry - Again, thanks very much for your wise words. You seem very happy with your ls60 ds scope. I'm just not sure my budget stretches that far. I have the ls50 on a lightweight manual alt-az tripod and actually enjoy the sun drifting across the fov. Its a nice change to do manual observing because I have a 14" meade fully computerised scope in the observatory which does everything for you. Reagrding AP, its not for me, I am strictly a visual observer.

James - Thank you for your detailed comments. This was exactly the info I was after. I am only moderately interested in surface features, probably because I cannot see much in ss? BUT I am thrilled by proms in all their myriad of different forms. Every day they are different and no two look the same.

So your comment that if I go ds the fainter proms will be dimmer or invisible has got me rattled. I would not be able to swap more surface detail with a ds in exchange for less or fainter proms. Is your disappearing proms comment because I have a ls50 or if I upgrade to a ls60, will I still have the same problem if I ds the 60?

One final question, if I may be so bold, will I see fainter proms if I upgrade to an ls60 ss vs ls50ss. I use televue radians on the ls50. 9 days out of 10, I can easily use the 5mm Rad which gives 70x mag. Would I get more magnification from the ls60 in the same seeing conditions or is x70 the usual limit for skys in the UK. I know at night that my usual max mag is around x220 whether I'm using my 14"; 6" or 4" scopes. the seeing varies hour to hour and day to day, but x220 is about average over 10 yrs of obs. If my average max mag is around x70 then I'll stick with the ls50, but if the mag is governed by the scope and there is more mag to be had by a larger scope then I'll probably upgrade

I would be very grateful for your thoughts and experiences

Thanks everyone

John


EGRAY_OBSERVATORY
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 2962
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 4:45 pm
Location: Essex, S.E.England
Been thanked: 1677 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Thanks John.
If you use https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/ and input the LS50 for VISUAL with whatever EP's you wish for the SUN, this program is used by many to show what you will actually see.

As you can see that program also does well for all sorts of astro-objects, EP's, Barlows, Focal-reducers, CAMERAS and so on, so well worth keeping this simple program on file for later use...

Fainter proms is a difficult answer to make, as what is the difference between a fainter prom and one not so faint. It is also a matter of the exact wave-length of light from any prom to be able to see all of it whatever as the Ha scope has a definite frequency of light in that Hydrogen-Alpha Band, which I believe is slightly adjustable by tilting the Etalon(s). That is partly the joy and problem that one can fairly-easily get used to doing albeit adding a Double-Stack does tend to make that ease - a tad more difficult to get the right tuning for whatever object-type one wants to see.

Practice can and is the way-forward to get the best out of Ha scopes and again looking back through SOLARCHAT Archives (back to 2011 even), I'm certain you will find lots to enthuse you and show what can be achieved, as imaging often shows what the Mk-1 Eyeball can see too...

The 60mm LS will allow more light through - which will increase the available brightness/contrast-level prior to a DS loosing some of that = good contrast and also for imaging later if desired. That's the basics and somebody-else may well add to that and of course Lunt themselves will assist for any decision if required.

If you really get the itch for a larger scope etc., then possibly some sort of H.P./Bank loan for such, although I personally don't believe in such methods and have saved much over the years by paying cash or immediate payment methods.

Best Wishes
Terry


User avatar
DeepSolar64
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 4661
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:19 am
Location: Edneyville North Carolina U.S.A.
Has thanked: 2696 times
Been thanked: 2363 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by DeepSolar64 »

John,
Remember that the double stack etalon can be removed. You can keep it on for surface detail or remove it for a better brighter view of prominences. You have the best of both with a double stacked system!

The LS60 should show detail a bit better than the LS50. The Sun emits an abundance of light so I think the increase is more due to the larger apertures increase of resolving power Vs light grasp.

That's awesome that you can use 70x on the LS50. Your etalon sounds better than the one in my SMII60 and you may have better seeing on average than I do. I can only occasionally reach 50x on mine. 16x-33x is more typical. My SMII90 is a different beast. In good seeing I can exceed 100x with it.

By the way, my nighttime reflectors are an old Criterion 6", A Coulter 10.1" and a Sky-Watcher 12". All mounted altazimuth. My largest refractor is a Celestron 102mm ( 4" ). I have been into the hobby since Late December 1978 when I received as a gift a Focal 50mm refractor for Christmas. As long as I have been into it there are others here who have much more time invested in it than I do! I am a newbie into Ha solar though. 2 years.

James


Lunt 8x32 SUNoculars
Orion 70mm Solar Telescope
Celestron AstroMaster Alt/Az Mount
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 60 DS
Meade Coronado SolarMax II 90 DS
Meade Coronado AZS Alt/Az Mount
Astro-Tech AT72EDII with Altair solar wedge
Celestron NexStar 102GT with Altair solar wedge
Losmandy AZ8 Alt/Az Mount
ZWO ASI178MM monochrome camera
Lunt, Coronado, TeleVue, Orion and Meade eyepieces

Image Visual Observer
" Way more fun to see it! "
Tigger
The Sun?
The Sun?
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by Tigger »

Good morning Terry & James, once more I am indebted to you both for your valuable advice.

I have noticed that by altering the pressure tuner that some proms become brighter or disappear altogether because their position and slight variation of wavelength. I guessing if I fit a ds than I will have more ‘twiddling’ to do😀

James it sounds like if I’m regularly getting x70 mag than my scope is a ‘good one’ I have read that quality can be quite variable. I would be very disappointed if I plunged down the Aperture rabbit hole just to find I could not get much more mag.

Sometimes it’s best to be content with what you have? So I’m going to get a ds for the ls50 and really learn how to use this fabulous instrument.

It’s a real joy to view the sun with all its mood swings and wonderful displays.

I cannot thank you all enough for the valuable advice

Good seeing and sunny skies

John


AJamesB
Ohhhhhh My!
Ohhhhhh My!
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:21 pm
Has thanked: 313 times
Been thanked: 196 times

Re: Newbie advice please

Post by AJamesB »

Great suggestions and info in this thread!

I'd just add that, while you state you are purely a visual observer, there is a middle ground between doing purely visual and purely astrophotography/lucky imaging work, and that is simply using a camera+laptop as your eyepiece, and just observing on the laptop screen. This has a few advantages, of which are being able to adjust contrast and brightness on the fly to enahnce details, but also the ability to adjust the exposure settings, which makes it incredibly easy to see even the most faintest of prominences, even those not visible to the naked eye through the eyepiece. So, if you happen to have any laptop astro cameras from your night time astronomy, they (especially mono cameras, they are the best for h-alpha viewing and video recording) can greatly enhance visual astronomy by being used for 'electronically assisted' visual h-alpha viewing on a laptop screen.

The main drawback to doing this is that unless your laptop has a really bright screen, its hard to see a laptop screen while sitting in the sun. So one has to either throw a towel over their head (like old-timey photographers used to do), or make some kind of simple shadowbox to place the laptop in to create shadow around the laptop screen.

So even though you are a purely visual observer, I'd recommend to not completely rule out electronically assisted viewing. Even when I'm not doing astrophotography and I just want to visually observe, I still do it through my laptop and astro camera, becuase its so versatile in what one can do with it.


lunt ls100tha single stacked + hinode solar guider on skyview pro equitorial mount
asi178mm
asi294mm
2x, 3x, and 4x telecentrics
0.6x and 0.4x telecompressors
Post Reply