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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