Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

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Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by MalVeauX » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:50 pm

Hey all,

I think news has gotten around about the problems with Meade, financially, I wonder who may buy them up or how this will get handled? But, I'm also curious, what's the future of Solarmax series? It's always good to have competition. Anyhow, I'm really curious if anyone knows or has heard of anything regarding where the Solarmax series may go at this point? The SMII series are available as standalone etalons. The SMIII series seem to only come as a complete telescope, so if you get a single-stack, you cannot even buy the 2nd etalon later yet, it seems? Also, does anyone know if there is even a difference, quality wise or anything, between the SMII and SMIII series etalons at all other than their external look? I like the idea of two front mounted etalons in the future.

Curious!

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by marktownley » Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:49 pm

Hi Marty,

I've not heard anything about it since the initial announcement.

Mark
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by DeepSolar64 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:18 am

I read about Meade declaring bankruptcy but know nothing more. I have a SolarMax II 60 DS. It does quite well but I never have liked the idea of the central obstruction it has in the light path. A refractor should be unobstructed. I did not research well enough when I bought it or I would have probably gotten a Lunt LS 60Tha which is unobstructed. But even with the obstruction and sometimes uneven tuning the scope does well. I can generally see much of the detail seen in the NSO GONG images.

I hope Meade/Coronado does not go under. Still, Meade and for that matter Celestron are not the companies they once were. I have always preferred Celestron over Meade but Celestron has no equivalent of the Coronado line of scopes.

I considered a SolarMax III 70. I am curious myself whether it is much better. It certainly has a better focuser and the totally external etalons give it more flexibility.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by rsfoto » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:10 am

Hi,
I have a SolarMax II 60 DS. It does quite well but I never have liked the idea of the central obstruction it has in the light path.
If I remember well Lunt has even 3 little discs in their light path.

https://luntsolarsystems.com/wp-content ... cope-3.jpg

https://luntsolarsystems.com/shop/solar ... ar-filter/

:shock:
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by DeepSolar64 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:26 am

Thanks Rainer, I am learning all the time! I must be wrong about Lunt too. It is Solarscope that is unobstructed.

https://solarscope.co.uk/solar-telescopes/
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:58 pm

It does quite well but I never have liked the idea of the central obstruction it has in the light path. A refractor should be unobstructed.
An etalon is a filter, not a telescope. Etalons are quite sensitive to thermal variations of both the gap spacers and etalon plates themselves. A central (or other pattern) of spacers for a large air-spaced etalon helps to improve thermal stability and contrast performance by ensuring the uniformity of the etalon gap across the etalon diameter through changing temperature conditions:
Etalon thermal stability.jpg
Etalon thermal stability.jpg (112.61 KiB) Viewed 3826 times
Exaggerated depiction of central spacer patent for Coronado Instrument Group for improved solar etalon thermal stability.

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/6226 ... try8658155

Moreover, a small central obstruction can actually improve optical performance of certain levels of detail, especially small high contrast detail:

https://www.telescope-optics.net/obstruction.htm

https://www.telescope-optics.net/mtf.htm
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by DeepSolar64 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:38 am

Bob,

Thanks for the info. I am used to nighttime observing which does not require etalons. As a general rule anything in the light path reduces contrast. The smaller the better. None is best. I actually downsized the diagonal mirror in my old RV-6 Dynascope years ago to push an already great performer to better levels. The scope already had excellent optics and by reducing the diagonal to a size which is just big enough to catch the entire light cone gives performance probably only a little short of an apochromatic refractor the same size. I guess I am just not used to a refractor with any kind of obstruction in the light path. Still, the SM 60 does well.

James
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Bob Yoesle » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:41 pm

Hi James,

At 60-70 mm, an unobstructed etalon can perform quite well. But your minimally obstructed 60 mm will likely do just as well, and the wavefront effects of the obstruction will likely be indistinguishable from an unobstructed etalon, especially given daytime seeing rarely gets to diffraction - limited levels.

Beyond a certain point, even fused quartz etalon plates begin to have significant deformations over their larger surface areas due to non-zero CTE, and these need to be mitigated via additional measures to ensure plate parallelism and gap uniformity, and tuning ability. The 100 mm SolarScope etalons needed much better protection from thermal "extortion" compared to an obstructed Coronado SM90s. They would often start out being completely off-band, and could take more than an hour to get close - but never really quite got there:
DSF100 v SM90-90 SM cmp.jpg
DSF100 v SM90-90 SM cmp.jpg (492.99 KiB) Viewed 3786 times

Using an additional Baader DERF with the OEM Solarscope helped tremendously, but the SM90s to my eye retained a slight edge:

DERF use.jpg
DERF use.jpg (490.49 KiB) Viewed 3786 times
Solar Scope may have since addressed this, but if not I would consider a Baader DERF a mandatory accessory for their 100 mm etalon.
Last edited by Bob Yoesle on Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by rsfoto » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:05 pm

Using an additional Baader DERF with the OEM Solarscope helped tremendously, but the SM90s to my eye retained a slight edge:
Hi Bob,

Interesting. What does it mean in the above quote ? Two ERF or one ERF substituted by another one.

My double stack Coronado SM 60 has only one ERF. I took out the second ERF of the lower Etalon and I gained contrast and lower exposure times ...

Rainer
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Bob Yoesle » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:49 pm

Hi Rainer,

It means I added a Baader DERF to the etalon assembly, which already included the Solar Scope OEM RG630 ERF with some IR blocking.

DSF100 v SM90DS DERF comp.jpg
DSF100 v SM90DS DERF comp.jpg (471.88 KiB) Viewed 3771 times

The OEM Solar Scope ERF apparently has significant IR leakage, which exacerbates the thermal instability of the 100 mm etalons (no central spacer) which I and others have noted.

Sol-ERF-lin.jpg
Sol-ERF-lin.jpg (110.31 KiB) Viewed 3771 times

A Baader DERF compliments the OEM Solar Scope ERF almost perfectly, ensuring little if any near IR reaches the etalons, and greatly mitigated the thermal instability:

Baader-D-ERF.jpg
Baader-D-ERF.jpg (98.1 KiB) Viewed 3771 times

Your Coronado SM 60's have a central spacer to mitigate thermal instability, and work well for the etalon. However, the Coronado RG630 ERF has no IR blocking, which can cause excessive thermal stress to the ITF of the blocking filter, and I would employ an additional IR blocking filter at the nose of the blocking filter itself to reduce the thermal loading and cycling that usually results in ITF degradation.
Last edited by Bob Yoesle on Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by rsfoto » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:24 pm

Bob Yoesle wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:49 pm
Hi Rainer,

It means I added a Baader DERF to the etalon assembly, which already included the Solar Scope OEM RG630 ERF with some IR blocking.


DSF100 v SM90DS DERF comp.jpg


The OEM Solar Scope ERF apparently has significant IR leakage, which exacerbates the thermal instability of the 100 mm etalons (no central spacer) which I and others have noted.


Sol-ERF-lin.jpg


A Baader DERF compliments the OEM Solar Scope ERF almost perfectly, ensuring little if any near IR reaches the etalons, and greatly mitigated the thermal instability:


Baader-D-ERF.jpg


Your Coronado SM 60's have a central spacer to mitigate thermal instability, and work well for the etalon. However, the Coronado RG630 ERF has no IR blocking, which can cause excessive thermal stress to the ITF of you blocking filter, and I would employ an additional IR blocking filter at the nose of the blocking filter itself to reduce the thermal loading and cycling that usually results in ITF degradation.
Hi Bob,

Ah thank you. You killed more from the infrared ...

Rainer
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Bob Yoesle » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:56 pm

Yes, exactly.

At sea level, over 50% of the energy from the Sun lies in the near IR. The combination of the two ERF's essentially removes everything out to 2500 nm, where the atmosphere then blocks most everything beyond.

Solar Energy Distribution.png
Solar Energy Distribution.png (69.77 KiB) Viewed 3732 times

The larger Solar Scope filters - lacking a central spacer to maintain etalon gap parallelism - are particularly vulnerable to this IR. Blocking this IR at the etalon seems to be essential. And though I employed the DERF for ITF protection, even my SM90's with a central spacer seem to perform better due to the presence of the DERF. Note the "naked" RG630 ERFs used by Coronado and DayStar are completely transparent to this IR.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by MalVeauX » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:33 pm

This is unfortunate that there's no clear road map future for Meade since they have Coronado and that's the only other affordable competition to Lunt. Also, they seem to be the only ones offering affordable front mounted etalons. Also, very disappointing that currently SMIII series options can only be had via buying the entire package together, as one cannot source a single etalon to add later.

If Meade goes down, I wonder who would buy them out and add their own spin on solar? If Orion bought them, sheesh, the costs would be silly.

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Bob Yoesle » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:12 pm

There's the Celestron brand owners perhaps...

Wouldn't it be poetic justice if Lunt bought back their original patents and possibly production infrastructure for pennies on the dollar at auction?
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by rsfoto » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:00 pm

regards Rainer

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by MalVeauX » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:51 pm

Bob Yoesle wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:12 pm
Wouldn't it be poetic justice if Lunt bought back their original patents and possibly production infrastructure for pennies on the dollar at auction?
It would!

But then less competition :(

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by RKBerta » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:53 pm

If you look at the original suit and judgement, Meade is only the first to go through bankruptcy protection....Celestron and Sky Watcher are also named so this may go to the next step sadly. https://www.telescope.com/assets/docume ... 1-2019.pdf

I do think Meade and hopefully the other two will also survive but are slapped down.
What this means for the amateur astronomy community can be major. Will this eliminate those three major players or severely hamper their operations. And if they survive will this reduce the types of products and number of options and drive the price up for consumers.

Bottom line....perhaps there was collusion and price fixing.....and lawyers got involved as they saw money and deep pockets. BUT I suspect the people that will be hurt by this are consumers who will now have less choice and costlier products.

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by MalVeauX » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:51 pm

Unfortunately its just a business to the business people.

The same way medicine is just business for a supplier, but required for the end-user.

As we measure ourselves in the billions, each individual matters less to larger entities like corporations, or business in general.

I hope they all survive. The end-users are indeed the ones that hurt. In an already declining interest world.... :(

Very best,

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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by DeepSolar64 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:15 pm

It seems self-destructive if Orion sues Celestron. Synta owned Celestron is a major supplier of Orion Telescopes and Binoculars. Orion makes nothing on it's own.They are basically just a store. A brand name.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by Valery » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:01 pm

Meade should die. It did enough damage to other astrobusineses and astrocommunity.
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Re: Meade / Solarmax Etalon Future?

Post by daslolo » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:42 am

DeepSolar64 wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:15 pm
It seems self-destructive if Orion sues Celestron. Synta owned Celestron is a major supplier of Orion Telescopes and Binoculars. Orion makes nothing on it's own.They are basically just a store. A brand name.
In the corporate world lawsuits are used as negotiations leverage.
Valery wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:01 pm
Meade should die. It did enough damage to other astrobusineses and astrocommunity.
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