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Re: SolarQuest review

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:23 pm
by marktownley
I got to try the solarquest out for the first time today. Have to say, i'm incredibly impressed and pleased with it!

It is so easy to use. I set up with the 50mm lunt etalon on the 60mmf6 scope and within 30 seconds it had the sun within the field of view, centering was easy with the toggle switch. My biggest question was how it would handle passing cloud, and today was the perfect test day with the sun going in and out of said clouds. The sun also sat in the top branches of a leafless tree, both it and the cloud had no effect on the tracking. There was no problems with the weight of this setup either.

Upping the ante a bit, I switched out the BF15 from this setup and inserted my 2" diagonal, Quark, Baader Solar telecompressor and the Cemax 25mm eyepiece. I needed to recenter, but that's not unexpected given the extra mass at the back of the scope. Again it tracked wonderfully and I enjoyed views through the eyepiece even if the sun was quiet.

Next step I swapped the eyepiece for my Grasshopper camera for a full disk shot of the sun. The fov is about 0.7 degrees vertically, so not much wiggle room on the chip. Despite the sun disappearing in and out of the clouds there were no issues with the tracking and the sun remained centered in the fov. There was a bit of movement but only a few arc minutes, more than acceptable!

Given this mount just sits on the top of the EQ6 tripod 'ready for action' I can see it is going to get frequent use, and may well be the one that's used regularly for full disk shots with the smaller scopes. It will certainly make the perfect travelling mount. It definitely needs a decent tripod, and i'm going to look at a more secure interface than just the 3/8" thread at the bottom as this has a tendency to allow to rotation despite how tight is done up. All very minor concerns. If skywatcher did a similar one that could hold bigger scopes it would be a winner!

Mark

Re: SolarQuest review

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:58 pm
by dhkaiser
marktownley wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:23 pm I got to try the solarquest out for the first time today. Have to say, i'm incredibly impressed and pleased with it!

It is so easy to use. I set up with the 50mm lunt etalon on the 60mmf6 scope and within 30 seconds it had the sun within the field of view, centering was easy with the toggle switch. My biggest question was how it would handle passing cloud, and today was the perfect test day with the sun going in and out of said clouds. The sun also sat in the top branches of a leafless tree, both it and the cloud had no effect on the tracking. There was no problems with the weight of this setup either.

Upping the ante a bit, I switched out the BF15 from this setup and inserted my 2" diagonal, Quark, Baader Solar telecompressor and the Cemax 25mm eyepiece. I needed to recenter, but that's not unexpected given the extra mass at the back of the scope. Again it tracked wonderfully and I enjoyed views through the eyepiece even if the sun was quiet.

Next step I swapped the eyepiece for my Grasshopper camera for a full disk shot of the sun. The fov is about 0.7 degrees vertically, so not much wiggle room on the chip. Despite the sun disappearing in and out of the clouds there were no issues with the tracking and the sun remained centered in the fov. There was a bit of movement but only a few arc minutes, more than acceptable!

Given this mount just sits on the top of the EQ6 tripod 'ready for action' I can see it is going to get frequent use, and may well be the one that's used regularly for full disk shots with the smaller scopes. It will certainly make the perfect travelling mount. It definitely needs a decent tripod, and i'm going to look at a more secure interface than just the 3/8" thread at the bottom as this has a tendency to allow to rotation despite how tight is done up. All very minor concerns. If skywatcher did a similar one that could hold bigger scopes it would be a winner!

Mark
Thanks for for the report Mark! Can you give an weight estimate of the heaviest configuration you used?

Re: SolarQuest review

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:55 pm
by marktownley
dhkaiser wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:58 pm Can you give an weight estimate of the heaviest configuration you used?
Hi Dan

I just weighed the Lunt50/ED60/Quark combo and it came in at 4.2kg, a shade over Skywatchers stated capacity of 4kg.

Mark

Re: SolarQuest review

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:09 pm
by dhkaiser
Thanks Mark, very close to my Lunt 60mm DS with blocking filter heater. Interesting mount. Thanks.

Re: SolarQuest review

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:31 pm
by marktownley
As an aside, I replaced the 3 black thumbscrews at the top of the sky watcher extension pillar today. I just feel they can't get tight enough and there is play. I replaced using stainless steel allen bolts, that with an allen key offer a tighter fit. However, beware, the extension column aluminium and feel then tensile strength of the soft aluminium being put to the test, it would be very easy to strip the threads. Need to look at an alternative longer term...