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Solarmax II 60 BF10 - any advice?


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I am about the place an order for a Solarmax II 60 with BF 10. Before I do that, I'd like to ask if anyone have any experience with this scope.

When I was in uni I really liked what I saw through the astronomy clubs's PST. However, I'm back to using white light glass solar filter for solar observation ever since graduation. I do missed seeing the prominences and disk features you get with an Ha scope. With solar activities beginning to pick up, I've finally saved enough money to buy myself a Ha scope for visual and some imaging.

In addition to general performance, are there any serious issues to worry about for the SMII 60. I heard Coronado's scopes suffered filter ageing problem. Does anyone know if this has been resolved and whether it affects SMII scopes? I don't want to spend so much money only to find the scope become unusable in 5 years.

Thanks

Keith

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I have an SM60/BF15 - it's some four years old and as good as new!

I aslo have a second SM60 front filter and use the pair, double stacked on an ED80 for solar imaging.

I find the 600mm fl of the ED80 better than the SM60 scope, just my opinion.

If I can assist, just ask.

It's a good size and does the job well.....a 90mm etalon would be even better!!!!!

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I agree with Ken, 60mm front etalon filters have always appeared to me to work better on good alternative scopes than the dedicated solar ones. There was a 90mm/BF15 set advertised by a credible seller on AB&S recently for not much more than a new 60mm Solarscope.

Alternatively you could construct a 100mm Ha scope made from brand new components, Tall 100RS, Baader 75mm ERF, PST and Coronado BF10 for about £1250. :D

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Thanks for the information guys. I don't think I will be modding a PST, because I don't trust my own skills and I wanted a scope I can take on a plane, a f10 refractor may be too long.

Does anyone know how a SM60II will compare against a Daystar ATM 0.7A filter (used) fitted to a 80mm apo?

Daystar ATM 0.7A Hydrogen Alpha Filter | eBay

Merlin66: Thanks for the info on the SM60, I am glad it's like new after four years. I've been worrying about filter deterioration after reading about rusting problem on Coronado scopes.

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Point taken about portability re air transport, I took a 80mm F10 PST mod to Tenerife with no trouble. I believe the Daystar arrangement requires a F30 light cone to work effectively which could raise the same problem, they also need a bit more "fiddling" with to get going each time. I've had considerable experience with modifying scopes and would have no hesitation in cutting one in half to make it travel friendly, the reconnection sleeve is straightforward to make and the tube needs to be cut at one point anyway. :D

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I think the daystar scopes use an internal barlow to increase the focal length to over a metre, so it's effectively a long scope in a short tube. Not sure if they're temperature sensitive? The stand alone daystar filters use solid spaced etalons which need maintaining at a certain temperature.

Do SolarMax 60s still have a sweet spot from the internal etalons? If so I'd try to get hold of the filter sets instead.

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The eBay picture shows a stand alone Daystar unit. This will require a F30 cone which is usuall achieved by stopping down and/or a 2X Barlow, so to use the full aperture 80mm the scope would have to be a native F15. I don't know for sure whether higher amplification Barlows are advisable. The cylindrical unit shown in the box is the filter assembly which also contains the controllable heating "oven" to keep the filter on band.

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Those Daystar stand-alone scopes are weird looking things: DayStar Filters - Ultra narrow Bandpass filters Admirable trade-in policy though.

Merlin: Does that mean an SM60 is no worse than the equivalent filter set? Does sweet-spotting have to do with the position of the etalon within the light cone? Etalon smaller than the light cone = sweet spot, is that?

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The SolarMax SM60 scope is a neat set-up.....but I prefer the SM60/ED80 combo....

Basically yes.... the light path through the etalon has to be parallel and collimated; at the etalon, depending on the focal length, the light cone can be much larger than the lens, the sweet spot issue can get worse....

HTH

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have an SM60II on a WO66 rig, and am in the process of configuring it for double stack with a PST mod rear etalon on an 80mm and then a 150mm setup. It's a fine bit of kit the SM60II, the SV50 Solarscope is better (flatter field, more contrast), but then it's also considerably more money. SM60II for the price is pretty hard to beat though..

I have a modded PST, SV50 and SM60II, love them all, all have different key strengths, the PST mod is superb for high mag stuff, the SV50 for full disc, and the SM60II as a nice all round/portable setup that can drop on to a scope for daytime use

Edited by NickH
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  • 1 month later...

I finally received the Solarmax 60 BF10 yesterday. Thanks everyone for the advice.

First light was impressive. The disc and proms are much more detailed than what I remembered when I used a PST. The tuning lever was very light and smooth, unlike the stiff PST tuning ring.

I'm disappointed with Meade's quality control. There is a a big glob of glue inside the BF10 filter. Meade's QC must be blind. The dealer told me there's glue in every single one of his Solarmax blocking filter and this appears to be a very common problem. He assured me it doesn't affect the view. Fortunately, he's right the view was impressive. I was given the option of sending this back to Meade and potentially wait for months while they may or may not repair it. I decided I can live with this glue and I don't want risk the scope still waiting for repair at Meade when the eclipse and transit happen next year. If anyone is planning to get a 60mm Ha scope, may be it's worth spending a bit more and get a Lunt instead.

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Hello Keith. Congratulations on your new Ha scope. It does look as though they've overdone it a bit with the "glue", a bit sloppy considering the value of the component. It shouldn't impinge on the performance though. The "glue" seems to be no more than a dob of silicone, you could trim it back if it bothers you but probably best left alone. Sunny skies. :D.

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