Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

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SimonM
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Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

Hi All,

I have not been so active here for about six months.

I asked some questions about the Lunt Solar scopes and made up my mind to order an LS60MT with B1200, the 60mm Double Stack and the Lunt 7.2-21.5mm zoom EP. That was back in February and the lead time quoted was about 10 weeks. The lead time was (in fact) quite a bit longer.

I'm now getting excited because the scope and double stack have been made and shipped - arrival in the UK is imminent.

I know it's not a requirement for the scope and double stack to be "matched", but I wanted them to be made and tested "in the sun" by the kind folks at Lunt Solar Systems (Faye, Benjamin, Brandon, David etc.) together before shipment so that there are few surprises. :hamster:

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Sounds like you are about to get a very nice present from Lunt, especially as you have requested the DS and scope to be tested together at source.

Hopefully no amount of shipment delays for your delivery and well done on your decision.

Although you will have the modular 60,
I have had the LS60THaFT/B1200 as the LUNT 60mm Hydrogen-Alpha/FeatherTouch/B1200-Blocking-Filter and its' Double Stack,
plus the LS60TCak/B1200/FT LUNT 60mm Calcium-K/BF1200/FeatherTouch SolarScope - all ordered and delivered together in May 2010.
As well as a 558211/LS1.25HW LUNT 31.7mm Hershel-wedge in 2017.
No problems experienced over those times.

Don't be surprised that as soon as you are ready and set-up to enjoy your new pressies, that the Sun will be clouded-out for a while..!*!*!*

Happy Days ahead.

Terry


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by marktownley »

I think the lead time will be worth it with the checks prior to arrival Simon, keep us updated how you get on with it.


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:35 pm Sounds like you are about to get a very nice present from Lunt, especially as you have requested the DS and scope to be tested together at source.

LS60TCak/B1200/FT LUNT 60mm Calcium-K/BF1200/FeatherTouch SolarScope - all ordered and delivered together in May 2010.
As well as a 558211/LS1.25HW LUNT 31.7mm Hershel-wedge in 2017.
No problems experienced over those times.
I didn't opt for a Calcium filter as that is primarily (only) for imaging and my first use is for visual - it does leave the door open for "future expansion" (and expense)! I already have the Baader CoolCeramic Herschel Wedge for white light solar views - to use with my Esprit 100 and now the Lunt scope. The wedge has additional ND filters for photographic use - which I've not needed (so far). For me, going HA, is already a big step up from only doing white light.

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Thanks Simon for that and I only added the CaK unit, as another that has confirmed the reliability of many years issue.

With your additional wedge - much the same here and anticipate using it along with the Sodium Quark in the new obsy soon.
Excellent on your Esprit 100, where I have recently got my new Esprit 80 and both are excellent scopes.

Best wishes
Terry


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

Scope, DS & EP arrived this morning - a day earlier than I was expecting.

It was raining yesterday, cloudy today and the forecast looks mostly cloudy for the rest of the week - that's how it goes!

BBC forecast does mention some sunshine Thursday/Friday - they don't always get it right (great storm of October 1987 and Michael Fish).

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by marktownley »

Good luck with the clear skies!


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

Looking for good weather and clear skies today. At one o'clock today, I went out into the garden with my mount because there were few clouds above and the sun was occasionally poking out from the clouds elsewhere. Whilst waiting for the sunshine, I setup the LS60MT and attempted to align it with the sun. Not so easy as the sun contantly passing behind clouds and without the use of a Tele Vue Sol Searcher which I'm expecting Friday, as well. I did follow the instructions to use the shadow from the 60's lens hood - there is a "hard" 5-6mm shadow cast on the clamping ring above and to the side (and opposite) when correctly aligned, sufficient to see the sun and start focussing. The focussing with the Lunt zoom set on 21mm (I have the R&P version set on 15mm) is sharp at about 1cm of the draw tube exposed.

First view of the sun showed the Prominences with quite detailed and easy to see feathery features. I was concentrating more on the focussing and didn't get to use the pressure tuner (that I had reset and screwed in about 2/3 of travel). There is also a prominent sunspot, but the attention was on the rim - to get focus and get a first feel for using it. I didn't see much (if any) surface detail and there was plenty of thin cloud continuously passing across. By no means an ideal day to make a start, but I was anxious to get outside and at least see something. I did eventually start to adjust the PT but the conditions were far from ideal and it didn't make a whole lot of difference. No chance to try the DS and about 30 minutes into the exercise, I felt a few spots of rain. had to quickly set the scope horizontal and get it inside. With the mount also back in the house we had lots of rain and later when it cleared I was out for a walk.

Tracking on the mount wasn't an issue and the initial pointing was not far off. I have an App on my phone and simple clamp the phone instead of the dovetail for positioning the legs to point north. The LS60MT is comparitively small and lightweight. It only requires one counterweight at about 20% along the metal shaft. The clamp balances easily with about 1/4 inch of the white body showing and the 4" dovetail centred. I can see that the DS will add weight at the front so rebalancing will be easy with about 4 inches of body to adjust the balance by only an inch or so back.

I don't have a hood, but do have a ski jacket hood that is detachable and opaque. I found it convenient to put it on backwards and use it as a shield. The Lunt zoom works well and it's convenient to back off and focus before moving in to appreciate the detail (such as today's weather allowed).

When you are waiting for the sun to come out, there is an appreciation of the clouds that roll in. You get to see the layering and appreciate the differences. I don't know why, but it can be clear above, but in the South West it is cloudy and the movement is painfully slow. When it darkens overhead it's time to get the gear back indoors. You also get to see shapes - the UK, NA and finally (almost) clear sky.

Compared to getting the Esprit 100 out, it is so much lighter and easier. Only one counterweight to carry out and the scope is much easier to manipulate - it is heavier than a guide scope but not much more. I haven't so far tried to break the scope down e.g. to remove the Etalon section (I have six thumb screws that make this easy enough) and use my Hershel Wedge. Fingers crossed it will work and reach focus - the central body (section) is being removed but the 2" diagonal is a bit longer - should be OK. My mount is a SkyWatcher EQ6R Pro - it doesn't move when twisting the PT control and the R&P on the focuser stays put (no sideways movement or shift) when using the focus controls, or needing a locking screw (not added/needed so far).

I originally ordered the scope with the standard Crayford Focuser. Faye @ Lunt had suggested that the standard Crayford was fine but that the R&P was a very worthwhile upgrade, but I didn't initially spring for it. During the wait (about 7-8 months) I changed my mind and switched the order to R&P after a phone call in June - the small additional 50$ cost is not much (in theory) and (don't tell anyone) I haven't been charged any extra anyway (in reality).

I'm not sure you can infer much from looking with an EP but the B1200 blocking filter doesn't show any hint of banding across the FOV. Next stop will be waiting for better conditions to get out again. So not much to report, but it's a start...

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Very Well done Simon on your 1st-light with the newbie scope. :hamster:

Sounds as if you have got a well-good combination with the EQ6R Pro too, plus the addition of the DS, will certainly show the contrasting difference for the surface-detail/filaments etc.
Tuning the two will be a tad-difficult at first to get used to, but well-worth the effort and patience.

The biggest problem is always the weather and especially at this time of the year as well.
With that in mind, can I suggest that you have a handy "Bin Bag" type for a quick-covering - should it be required and also useful to keep the dust away - when not in use.

With my LS60Ha + DS and a LS60Cak scope mounted along with an SkyWatcher 80ED on my SW AZ-EQ6GT on a very-heavy-duty stand in my main-observatory, certainly over the 11-years since the Lunt scopes were acquired, have never given any problem.

Treated with care, they should give you many happy and interesting hours for many years to come.

If you have any problems with the blinding-Sun whilst using the scope, https://www.firstlightoptics.com/lunt-s ... -flap.html shows the Lunt Solar-hat, which I often use and can be rotated upon the head for even better use too. Better than one of the large and often awkward Solar-shields, especially when quick setting-up is concerned. Not cheap, but works a treat...

Your 1st light report is excellent and thanks vm for the post. :bow

Best wishes
Terry


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 12:30 am The biggest problem is always the weather and especially at this time of the year as well.
With that in mind, can I suggest that you have a handy "Bin Bag" type for a quick-covering - should it be required and also useful to keep the dust away - when not in use?
Terry - the weather is always a problem and the quick covering is a good idea. I avoided getting rain drops on the front optics. I thought afterwards that using a shower cap would be a good idea because you don't always want/have the aluminium front cover to hand, but your suggestion to use a bin bag is better. BTW, if you are putting the rubbish (trash) out and accidently find a dumped/discarded Lunt LS300T, let me know. :band
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 12:30 am With my LS60Ha + DS and a LS60Cak scope mounted along with an SkyWatcher 80ED on my SW AZ-EQ6GT on a very-heavy-duty stand in my main-observatory, certainly over the 11-years since the Lunt scopes were acquired, have never given any problem.
Terry - I know that you had a similar IMX178 chip based camera - is that your preferred solar imaging device? I have the QHY5III178 mono camera. Mine has the format of an 1.25" EP and has a slightly longer barrel than an equivalent ZWO ASI174MM MINI USB2.0, but with a similar form factor. Some users have experienced a pattern which they attribute to the Bayer Mask used on the colour version of the 178 sensor. Others have said that there is a larger 8x grid exposed. I have not seen either. Sony produced the sensor in both a colour and mono version, so no need to strip the mask off a colour version. It has a smaller pixel size than the 174 and some other useful attributes: The Starvis R technology is used which is a true back illuminated arrangement and also 14 bit A/D, something that the other sensors lack e.g. not on 174, but with 290 or 226. QHY use USB 3 as the interface and a different type of ST4 connector (that I haven't used), but the limitation is often with the receiving PC (or in my case, a laptop). Their claim is that it can be used in (reflected) star light and the intended purpose is for surveillance in low light - take that with a "pinch of salt" , although it certainly is very effective and I primarily use it 1:1 with a QHY OAG with the Esprit 100 or an 8" SCT. The issue of which camera is preferable for solar is often discussed and the need to match the sensor pixels with/without a 2-3x Barlow (can also be a problem). For my setup a whole sun image is 4.2mm across.

Today, I had almost clear skies for most of the day, so outside from 11:30 until 4:30. I had to move three times to avoid the shadow of trees. There has been some high cloud which isn't obvious but through the EP you can see it passing through and then become clear.
Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Nice one Simon on the discarded LS300T eh ?? Not sure if they make bin-bags that big !! ha ha

I am not an expert on the QHY178 cameras, where https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/ for FOV and https://astronomy.tools/calculators/ccd_suitability for camera/pixel size recommendation, would be better to use, as well as:-
https://astroforumspace.com/best-zwo-ca ... otography/ etc.

So yes for the moment my two ZWO-178's for Ha and Cal-K are those that give me the FD-just and also well able to close-up with Barlows.
I also have the ZWO ASI120MC-S USB-3.0 COLOUR camera currently attached with the Sodium Quark on the new ESPRIT-80ED APO TRIPLET which although has not yet been used much since acquisition in August'21, certainly seemed to do well. (Been busy for a month with the new mini-obsy.).

The 120MC-S is quite happy to work either mono or colour with SharpCap. Can't vouch for any other download progs.
I did seem to have a problem with the Bayer-matrix when first trialling the 120MC-S, but sorted that somehow and was aware of the differences and difficulties involved - thanks to a professional DS imager/friend at one of his presentations...

Yes the ZWO provide the USB-3 connectors, which are slightly different than the bulk-standard USB connectors.

It is quite feasible that I may upgrade to even better cams, but for the moment I will hopefully improve and get the best out of the current cameras, as these three ZWO's have all been acquired in the last few months and not yet fully used.

With our "Esprit" scopes, I doubt whether any problems with barrel-lengths will occur as so-much travel with their focusers and certainly with my 80ED, the focuser and the focus-lock are absolutely purrfffect !!

In fact I needed a better 80ED, as my Orion ED80T-CF had a number of bad design and manufacturing snags, as well as a load of **** within the objective, which even with a modified vacuum-system just seemed to be pasted on the inside of. Due to the Carbon-Fibre tube, have not yet succeeded in removing the objective for a proper clean...

Trees are a pain, of which a helpful-neighbour (not) has just planted a stupid version which has already grown to around 30+feet in about a year and looks absolutely pathetic and in the way from my main-observatory for Solar/Lunar purposes during the colder months, so is why I have built a mini-observatory elsewhere in my large garden, to take advantage of a clear lower-elevation for a few hours each day in the winter.

That is due to be operational from this Saturday, with the first automatic alignments having taken place today with great success using one of my Vixen GPDX mounts complete with its' magnificent and large SkySensor 2000PC hand-controller. In fact everything has been designed and built, so as to simply switch-on the 12-volt P/S and with only thee presses of the controller, the scope moves to the Sun in a very few seconds.
The Moon will be almost as quick, so I can get on with the tasks in hand... I know from previous that mount Solar-tracks very well...

Photos of and some explanations will be taken on Saturday and posted on SolarChat, where I believe that at its' much lower cost than a fully-fledged dome or sliding-roof observatory - will be of interest to some of us here... And no planning permission at all can be required...!!

Cheers for now Simon.
Terry


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm Nice one Simon on the discarded LS300T eh ?? Not sure if they make bin-bags that big !! ha ha
I have been taking a 50L swing bin liner out with the scope. This morning I covered the scope and popped inside. Weather changed and there was a hint of rain - had to bring it all inside quickly. A few spots of rain on the mount wipe off, but the bin liner helps protect the little scope. A real bin bag would probably be best and bigger - so good advice earlier - thanks.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm ESPRIT-80ED APO TRIPLET which although has not yet been used much since acquisition in August'21, certainly seemed to do well.
I did try separating the modular scope into separate components e.g. so that it can be rebuilt as a white light/wedge. To do this the 6 grub screws have to be exchanged for 6 finger screws. Taking off the etalon e.g. the red section requires a steady hand. it does work, but I don't think I will be doing it in a hurry again. I do like SkyWatcher, so at some point I might get the 80ED. Or rather than swap/rebuild the LS60MT, I might get a second Lunt OTA - they are $450. That would give me the ability to mount two small scopes so that I have White Light and H-Alpha available.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm Been busy for a month with the new mini-obsy.
I will be interested in looking at the pictures. I'm sure everyone reaches a point where they dream of something more permanent. I haven't followed what you did.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm Yes the ZWO provide the USB-3 connectors, which are slightly different than the bulk-standard USB connectors.
I had forgotten that there are two versions of the ZWO 178. The version I was thinking of was the MINI version, the version you have is the pancake style version. Do you use it with a 1.25" adapter (hat) or screw it directly to the Lunt diagonal - the EP holder unscrews?

I have the QHY 178 which is a mini camera. My main use is for an OAG and the requirement to focus two cameras is more easily accommodated with the mini style e.g. like an EP, it fits into the EP holder and not on it. I started with a Celestron OAG but discovered that not everything was plug and play and so reverted to a QHY 178 mini camera (I originally bought a ZWO pancake one) and a QHY OAG. The Celestron one wasn't compatible with some of their other gear and can't easily be used with a refractor. The QHY works well with their cameras and can be used with a refractor as well as SCT, etc.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm With our "Esprit" scopes, I doubt whether any problems with barrel-lengths will occur as so-much travel with their focusers and certainly with my 80ED, the focuser and the focus-lock are absolutely purrfffect !!
The 2" BP Herschel Wedge has a longer path length than a 1.25" diagonal. With my Esprit 100, the focus is within 0.5cm of the focuser being fully racked in with some EP. With a camera and thin mounts either side of the OAG mean that there is plenty of room. The Esprit 100 is F/5 and for the size, a short tube. Originally, I was using an extra UV/IR filter on the EP but now I'm using EP without this and 2" EP (that are also 1.5"). As 2" EP they get closer to the objective and don't require a 1.25" adapter. So, much more convenient.
EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:27 pm Photos of and some explanations will be taken on Saturday and posted on SolarChat, where I believe that at its' much lower cost than a fully-fledged dome or sliding-roof observatory - will be of interest to some of us here.
Interested to see this in photos.

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by SimonM »

I can't get over the weather. New equipment, generally means weeks of rain and clouds. Today was pretty good. In the morning, there was plenty of blue sky, although it did later on spot with rain - I was glad of a swing bin liner to cover the scope. Later on things were pretty much ideal.

Today was also the first time I tried out the Televue Sol Searcher. I does make looking for the sun easier e.g. point north, slew to the sun and align with the Searcher. I can manage without e.g. using the sunshade shadow on the clamshell. The advantage of the Televue, is that (for me) it removes the need to be too concerned with initial alignment - which I do with a Phone App. The small error I see is probably a result of the mount affected the compass in my phone.

I have been trying out the scope with just the SS. I'm getting the hang of using the PT knob. I'm using a black T shirt to block out too daylight which (for me) relaxes things and helps with making the most of the view. I did also try a ski hood - that is almost as good.

With SS, I'm focusing on the edge of the sun with the zoom on the widest setting. Looking at the prominences. The stand out and don't need any help from the PT knob. Then I'm looking at the surface e.g. the sunspots and zooming in more. The Lunt zoom does require some refocusing e.g. it isn't parfocal across the zoom - end to end. Using the PT knob I can then start to bring out the surface detail. It is something that requires some effort, but I could bring out the texture across the surface and get a grainy look and see patterns and swirls (non technical for "stuff").

At this point I probably shouldn't be trying to add the DS, but I was keen to give it a go. It does darken the image and so the T shirt is now a must have. USing the tilt wheel, doesn't seem to restore the detail seen with the SS and (so far) I don't know how to manipulate both the SS PT and the DS Tilt together for best effect.

DS stack darkens the image and removes all traces of the prominences. It was disappointing not to see detail "pop out". At the moment adding the DS is a step backwards for adding detail. My first two attempts with SS didn't yield as much as I hoped and only now is it coming together. Probably why the general advice is not to try to progress from SS to DS for awhile.

Simon


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Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack

Post by EGRAY_OBSERVATORY »

Re: Lunt LS60MT and Double Stack
Unread post by SimonM » Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:40 pm

EGRAY_OBSERVATORY wrote: ↑Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:27 pm
Nice one Simon on the discarded LS300T eh ?? Not sure if they make bin-bags that big !! ha ha

" I have been taking a 50L swing bin liner out with the scope. This morning I covered the scope and popped inside. Weather changed and there was a hint of rain - had to bring it all inside quickly. A few spots of rain on the mount wipe off, but the bin liner helps protect the little scope. A real bin bag would probably be best and bigger - so good advice earlier - thanks. "

I've just realised Simon, that to actually turn one of those "Wheelie Bins" upside-down would make an even better protection from the elements !!!
(remember to remove rubbish and clean bin first though)...
Ooooh Aaaaah !!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
+++
I do agree that if money and mount allows for more than one scope to be attached-together, saves much time, effort and avoid wear and tear, plus possible damage too... Three scopes are on my main-observatory mount, which are a joy to use and also all three are connected via a 4-way USB-3 port to the USB-3 computer and via SharpCap at least can simply be switched to whichever camera one wants to download from.
I seem to remember also that to run more than one SharpCap program at the same time can also be done for each camera, but whether that slows things down, I can't recall.
+++
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=33747 has been published regarding "My New Mini-observatory" on 23-10-2021.
+++
I haven't as yet tried mounting the ASI-178Mm directly to the Lunt B1200 BF's, so interesting comment - thanks and must try that...

I have used the excellent TeleVue Sol Searchers at public outreach's and are excellent, but have other types on my own scopes.
+++
Interesting comments re using an iPhone for compass-bearings and even being affected by closeness to scope and mount/tripod.
One method previously advised to others for aligning a mount, was to get it correct (say at night with Polaris) and mark the ground using some desired-method and possibly lay small concrete pads or similar. Also make a note and use of any land-mark that is in the north/360-degs. from that good-tripod position for future use.
Bearing in mind that the exact True/Magnetic North location does not have to be too-precise for Solar use and especially for the short-time-exposures required.
True that the more accurately aligned the better, but trial and error often suffice - as long as one can quickly get back to the accurate locations explained here.
ps I only possess magnetic-compasses and no iPhone, but the Vixen GP-DX mount position in the new mini-observatory was purely worked-out by guess-work from my knowledge of the location and quite pleased that on first-light to the Sun, the scope was only off by around 1-degree, which was quickly corrected by the mounts' Slew Device...
+++
Yes using whatever is available for shading from the brightness (heat when necessary) is needed. I made-up a largish black-cloth for that, but normally now the Lunt Solar Hat does the biz very well...
+++
Of course once you've got the hang of Single-Stack use is the better-way before going DS, which we here have seen so often causing the user's of DS to become confused or suggest that the gear is not working properly. In most (if not all) case with Lunt systems - it is simply getting the tuning of the SS first correct and then when adding the DS, to only adjust that to bring the contrast for surface detail better than the SS on its' own.
The loss of some prominence detail may-well occur, but that is quite normal and interestingly my first (for a very long-time) DS images published yesterday/24th show that the Ha+DS image can show proms quite well too - by adjusting the exposure times upwards... (My Ha surface FD, was not perfectly adjusted for the DS as slightly off-band in the eastern-half, so a little tweaking required on my next occasion)...
Slow and careful small-adjustment backward and forward of a DS and even the SS too, can allow an even better image for what one wishes to see/image...
+++
Without question, the only way to accurately focus on the Sun, is using the Limb-edge against the blackness, as anything-else is always moving and /or useless for fine-focusing. In fact I rarely have to adjust my focusing between sessions, but with the large computer display-monitors - I will use SharpCAp with its' magnifying-percentage to look much more closely to that Limb-edge...
Obviously changing EP's / Camera's will require re-focusing often...
+++
To repeat, set and tune the SS first. After adding the DS, basically only adjust the DS and around either-side of any "sweet-spot" keeping an eye/screen-view of the overall view of the Solar-Disk for balance of illumination (or uneven of) and if required just slight adjustments only are likely to be required.
Can be awkward with "eye-adaption" taking time to either use E.P.'s or even the pc-screen to see the effects, but practice makes perfect with the help of Sun-screens of one type or another.
ps I don't use Pressure-Tuning systems and cannot vouch for each PT accuracy for whatever reason, but archive items on SolarChat have shown some suggestions as to their use-of and any maintenance/parts required from Lunt.
+++
So as you lastly say, that advice about trialling the SS first until completely used to all it can and will offer - is the way-forward.
Adding the DS likens itself to the difference between "A key into a Mortice-Lock" for SS use and trying to open a two or three coded Combination-Lock for DS purposes (without actually knowing the correct code order)...!!!
But once sorted, the surface-detail of the Sun's disk quickly shows filaments and other faculae much better than SS can do...
+++
Best Wishes Simon and you've made a start and can only get better with practice. :bow

Terry


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