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Lunt 60 Up & Running

The Admiral

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I'm now a privileged owner of a shiny new Lunt 60, and after some early frustrations with it and myself, both of which are now sorted :smile: , I got out under the blue sky this morning to give it a work out. Bear in mind that I'm very much a newbie when it comes to using serious 'scopes, let alone solar 'scopes. I've mounted it on a Nexstar SE using the Skywatcher L-bracket dovetail, which seems rigid enough though it bothers me a bit that the security of all this kit depends on just 2 bolts screwed into alloy of the bracket holding it on to the dovetail! I'd have preferred this to have been a single casting, or else have been able to bolt the 'scope directly to a dovetail. But that in itself presents a couple of issues - the cheeks of the alt motor cover fouls the scope so that the 'scope and dovetail wouldn't be able to mate, but if it was able to, when the clamshell on the Lunt is rotated the Sol Searcher is smack in front of the PT knob. May be that isn't as difficult to contend with as at first it seems, or else have the focusing control axis in the vertical plane. Why go for a Nexstar you might ask? Well, it provides me with a modicum of tracking ability, which will be useful for doing a bit of what could be called 'astrophotography-lite', i.e. moon, sun, planets, the occasional comet. Of course it can be set up during the day to track the sun, and it doesn't need to be in sight of the pole star, which I am unable to see from where I observe. And it is currently at a promotional price (probably means that it is going to be replaced with a new model, but what the heck!). I know some folk like to use a simple manual alt-az for their solar observing, and I can see that it would aid dashing in and out whenever the seeing presented itself.

For those who like to see this sort of thing, here are some pics.





Set up outside




The following I'm sure will be old hat to those experienced solar astronomers amongst you, but here is a newbie's take on things. I'm not experienced enough to know if the seeing was good today, but sunspots were clearly visible, as were the prominences over quite a wide range of pressure tuner settings (quite hard to turn in as the end of the threads are approached, much easier to unscrew, so that's what I did during viewing). The periphery of the disc was rippling a little, I guess through atmospheric movements, but the disc itself seemed stable, and I was just able to make out a 'granulation' of the surface, which strangely I found to be more visible whenever the image moved than if I concentrated on it. Haven't yet managed to find a tuner setting where the surface detail 'jumps out', but I guess I have a lot to learn! There was a little high cloud around, and unfortunately towards the south is the 'Green 1' air corridor going into Heathrow, so contrails quickly build up. Hopefully later in the year, when the sun rises higher, it should be more clear of all that rubbish.

I'm wondering if a barlow lens would give me a clearer view of surface detail; I know magnification isn't everything, and good seeing is essential, but it might help my old eyes. Many of the images on this site are incredibly stunning, though I know many are taken with larger aperture 'scopes, many double-stacked, which I couldn't hope to emulate with my set up. Still, at some point I'd like to have a go at imaging, though I'm not into spending oodles. That way at least one has something tangible to refer back to. And anyway, photography is another of my hobbies (why am I only interested in the expensive things in life?).


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Remember to unscrew the PT all the way to equalise the pressure before starting out. I also found that a small dab of silicon grease on the threads helped the PT to turn a bit smoother.

It takes a while for your eye to start to pick out the details. Once you are on-band, then minor tweaks of the PT will bring different areas into view.

The standard focuser isn't nearly sufficient for a scope of this quality. I replaced mine with a Baader Steeltrack, which is a heck of a lot better. The standard one can be improved with a bit of fettling of the screws, but personally I found it wanting.


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I've not long had my LS60. I noticed that backing of the magnification really helps to show detail as the exit pupil is greater so my eye can see more. Also when using magnification around x60 if you have something over your head blocking out the light it really helps to pick out the detail.

The tuning is very subtle and it is best to go slowly as you can easily go past finer details and not realise it as a small amount of refocusing is required.

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Thanks all for your comments and looking!

Have yet to make up a spacer so that I can attach the 'scope directly to the dovetail, and then I should be able to get some semblance of balance as well as added mechanical security. Also, I thought I might try moving the sol finder forward in its slot and locate with just one screw. To my inexperienced hands the focuser seems smooth enough, but it will be interesting to see how it behaves when I attach my mirrorless camera body to it. No, I know it's not monochrome and the colour sensor array is not ideal, but I'll give it a try. Hopefully, the Newton's rings won't be too much of a problem; we shall see!


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