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Floater

Quarrelling with Quark

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Well, I tried to get plenty of learning in before buying my Daystar Quark filter and was given all the help and advice I could have hoped for from other Loungers and Quark owners.

I waited impatiently for delivery of the kit - Quark, UV/IR cut filter, 32mm plossl and, having been warned about difficult eye-placement with the plossl, an eye guard extender. Delivery was delayed through lack of stock following an ‘eclipse surge’ in sales of the Quark.

When the items arrived and I set up for the first time I quickly realised that eye-placement was, indeed, an issue with the plossl and that, as expected, it was not possible to get a full disc view in my TV76 (focal length 480) or the 102 (fl 880). In fact, I got nothing trying to look through the 102, just the reflection of my eye! So I ordered a 0.5X focal reducer - and waited impatiently for it to arrive …

It arrived yesterday and, in defiance of the usual laws pertaining to new astronomy kit, it was wall-to-wall blue sky and a brilliant sun was shining. i didn’t skimp on giving the dog (see left) her exercise session but then got down to the exciting business of getting the scopes and kit out into my back garden.

And then came despair!

I can just about achieve a full disc with the 76 and, by moving my head around like a mesmerised cobra, just about get my eye in the right place to view it. But it is VERY difficult to focus and, worse, I can’t seem to hold focus. The seeing was not to blame; conditions were very good. I tried threading the reducer onto the Quark instead of the eyepiece but that didn’t help much. (Not even sure if this is quite safe. I’ve read differing opinions.) If I change eyepieces to increase the magnification and try to close in on spots or proms it is even worse - not surprisingly.

With the 102 I still get nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even a bright blur. Only my eye looking back at me.

So, as I understand things, here are my sums:
With the 76 I have a focal length of 480, multiplied by 4.3 (the Quark’s inbuilt Barlow), producing a focal length of 2064. Divided by the plossl’s 30mm this gives a magnification of around x68. I wouldn’t have thought this was too much to work with.
With the 102, I have 880 multiplied to 3784 and producing a mag of 126. I’m prepared to accept that this may be a bit high and would be happy to live with that and use only the 76. But even with the 76 my viewing is anything but sweet!

Any help or advice, folks? I don’t want to go down the route of buying a shorter focal length scope, so as it stands, somebody is in the running for a nice wee saving on an as-new Quark and my recovered funds will go toward an upgrade for a bigger dedicated solar scope.

Yours,
Disgruntled,
Quarkland

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I am on my second Quark and it has to be returned because of banding (again). However in the on band portions of the etalon the view is amazing... If you can see a prom your Quark is working, at least some what.

Sorry to hear of the issues Gordon, frustrating for sure. So... the Quark gives 4.3x as you know and this causes issues because of the mag it gives. 120x is extreme high power Ha IMHO and requires the best of seeing, I have used this briefly for stunning views in my 120ED. I too have a .5 reducer (Antares) and it works very well. The thing is it operates at a much lower reduction factor when screwed on the eyepiece, maybe .9x or so. Mine gives .5x at 1.87" from the fs to the reducer lens.

Bottom line is you are most likely using too much mag, even with the reducer. My 90mm f7 @ 2709 (with Quark) and my 32mm/reducer ( + spacer) gives about 53mm effective focal length for a mag of 51x, which is great for avg seeing. Poor seeing needs less mag again. IMHO. The reducer + spacer "pulls" the eye relief back in too, which is nice with the 32mm TV.

Here is my 32mm/spacer/reducer. I have another longer spacer as well.  I hope this is of help Gordon.

post-30641-0-22988000-1429669267_thumb.j

post-30641-0-44641600-1429669424_thumb.j

Edited by jetstream
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Most strange Gordon.

I am surprised the TV 76 isn't ok as it should be fine. My 80mm 500 focal length is spot on and the focus travel position is about in the mid point,

Is everything sitting square and flush

Have you tried using mains power as apposed to the battery pack ?

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Thanks for the replies, Gerry and Shaun. Will have a look at both suggestions.

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How are you getting on Gordon...... Something I noticed apart from square and flush (sounds like a U2 song) the TV 32 barrel does unscrew very easily... this will prevent focus. It happened to me last week :smiley:

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Just been looking through my Quark and 32mm TV Plossl, no focal reducer and apart from the usual eye placement issue the views were fine, not a full disc in 100mm f/6 refractor but super views when focused, I do find a motor focuser helps at high mag' both for visual and imaging as the focus is super critical and not helped by the bouncy view.

Regarding only seeing your eye, it is surprisingly difficult to get the Sun in the eyepiece, a Sol Searcher is a good investment, something I've done (though not to be recommended from a H&S view) is with the diagonal and uv filter fitted, look into the diagonal from an angle and adjust the mount until the Sun is centred in the diagonal only a small spot in a 2" diagonal, you can see this without looking directly into it.

Dave

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I haven't fixed my Sol searcher, I just hold it on the scope for a few seconds whilst I line the sun up :smiley:

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Hi guys. Very kind of you to have a thought for me.

Haven't had a chance to get back to grips with my problems but, Dave, I have solar finders on both the 76 and the 102 (Sol Searcher on the 102) and, just to make sure, I looked through my Herschel and had the sun well in sight before quickly swapping to the Quark. As I said, only darkness. I'm prepared to accept that there is a learning curve as far as eye placement goes.

Shaun, I did notice that the 32 barrel unscrews easily - the EP had a warning tag attached when I unpacked it - and I made sure it was properly in place. I haven't tried mains power yet - and I will - but really can't imagine that there's a problem there. The battery pack is delivering 2.4A and the Quark requires only 1.5, so all ought to be well ...

The weather forecast is not very encouraging but, when conditions allow, I WILL get down to sorting it out. And I WILL report back, whether good or bad!

Meantime, thanks again for your input. You are good people.

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Gordon,

Mine did this on my first attempt and it was my diagonal not sitting square, if you have 2 thumb screws holding the diagonal in (even if there is a compression ring)  place both so the only just touch and give them equal turns :smiley:

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I find with the Sol Searcher the sun spot can be in the circle and the Sun not visible until I move it around the circle a bit, move half of the white circle and it can be out of the eyepiece.

More critical in the 100mm than the 80mm I find.

Dave

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While I don't have a quark I do know how tricky it can be to find the sun in Ha as the background it velvet black so none of the tell tail signs of the sun on the edge of view like you get in WL.

The sol searcher is a great piece of kit but it only gets you in a rough vicinity and if your using high magnifications your obviously going to have less fov to catch sight of the disc. 

Not sure if its the case with the quark as the TV32 only has a 52° fov and the quark a 12mm blocking filter but what I have found with Ha scopes is the blocking filter makes things tricky as you feel there should be more fov than there actually is so the sun could well be within your field stop of the eyepiece but your not actually going to catch a glimpse until it near enough centre. Others can better advise than me on this but thought I'd mention it all the same in case it is so.

I am aware of the quarks QC being rather Lackadaisy so I wouldn't give up on the quark just yet. If you still have no joy you'd be better returning it for a replacement before you go selling it to recoup your losses.

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Gutted to hear your first light wasn't a buzz, Gordon.

I think the Tele Vue 32 does require a little getting used to regarding eye placement. I found it does get easier. If you get the eye in the wrong place, you plain won't see the disc, and that can make it tricky to get the sun in the field of view full stop. I had sort of forgotten about that as I am normally okay with it now and very quickly adapt on the rare occasion if not, I sort of pan my head around. That's just me, I hope you get used to it quickly too.

I guess it will depend on location but my default mag for visual is 120x with the ED100. I rarely find that mag a problem. Now and again the sun will be too choppy and rough and I will come back to it later, it will usually settle in a bit here. That is me from home, I wouldn't have said home is that brill for seeing, Kelling and my hols by the coast have better seeing than I have from home, but perhaps some folks have worse seeing than I have at home. I've observed from about a dozen different locations including concrete hell so can only judge by that that my home location is nothing special. I set up on a patio, which is not ideal and am surrounded by roof tops.

re: the Tele Vue Sol Searcher, I find it hard to get the finder dead centred on the sun but I have learnt roughly how much the sun's "dot" on the finder needs to be offset from centre in which direction, so again that gets easier.

Try a different diagonal if you have one, just in case. I noticed with my Tele Vue 60 that something doesn't seem square as I get much better contrast with Quark before diagonal.

Edited by Luke
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I'm sure you'll get sorted sooner or later Gordon, though I too and very sorry to hear of your problems.

My default setup now is Televue 85, with a UV/IR cut, Quark, prism diagonal x0.5 1.25" reducer and 32mm TV plossl eyepiece

This gives very crisp and contrasty views, not full disk by any means, but enough to be able to seeing features in context with the rest of the disk. I remove the reducer to view prominences at higher mags.

I can't believe the 76 won't give beautiful views with the Quark

Cheers

Stu

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Making a solar finder is easy. I copied Helen's system for mine. You attach a small piece of tube (old finder body in my case) reasonably parallel to the scope. On the front of the tube you put a plastic cap with pinhole in the centre. On the back you put a piece of translucent plastic (an eyepice bottom cover worked for me.) Once you are aligned on the sun the pinhole will allow a point of light to appear on the screen. You mark this point. It's much easier to do it that way round than it is to make a finder and then try to align it once it's mounted on the scope.

Olly

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Can't offer advice but we suffered like you even to the extent of planning a trip to London to test the Quark was working ok, equipment here is very basic short focus celestron from e-bay, eq mount about 30 years old all fitted on a workmate. 

What I did notice yesterday was that even when centred on the sun  getting an image in the eyepiece was difficult it seemed to "snap" in and out. It seemed easier to look directly into Quark without eyepiece to initially align

Don't give up took us several months as we took it to Spain over winter with out the power supply then decided not to try it just in case we damaged it with wrong power and all our equipment is there.

   Bob  

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I'm almost 'filling up' at how concerned you good folks are about my girning. Thanks for taking the trouble.

Just for completeness, I'm very comfortable about finding the sun with my scopes (finders on all) and have been happily viewing it for months in Ha with the SolarMax and in white light with both other refractors (Baader film and Herschel wedge) and even the Dob (film only, of course). That's why I got such a downer with the Quark - couldn't believe the difficulties I had/have.

However, I'm encouraged that others have had some setbacks, too, and have overcome them. Don't underestimate the tenacity (possibly a nice word for stubbornness?) that is on tap in abundance in the Floater household!

All the feedback you have given me backs up my gut feeling that the setup I have should, and WILL, work!

Weather not too promising just now but old Sol ain't going anywhere soon, is he?

Fear not too much for me, though - the SolarMax has afforded me some great views of the stunning activity recently, so I'm not missing out t-o-o-o badly. Of course, I can just grab that scope and rush out ...

Hasta la vista. Volveré.

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Gordon  If we can get there with our Quark anybody and everybody should now I'm off back to the beginners forum to read up about our next step.

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:hello2: :hello2: :hello2:

  :blob3:  :blob6:

It is with the GREATEST pleasure that I write this: the quarrelling is over!!

The weather has been kinder this afternoon than I anticipated and I got the 76 and solar gear out to get to grips with everything. And for those who wish to read no further, if I was forced to put it in a nutshell, 90% of the problem was eye placement. Perhaps I should feel ashamed at admitting that but I'm too elated to care!

Once I had sorted that out I was able to focus in (pun intended) on what was actually happening in my FOV. Because another part of the jigsaw in my head fell into place when I realised just how close up I was seeing the features - granulation, plage, filaments and proms were/are very detailed indeed. At such high magnification, achieving pin-sharp focus remains a challenge but, oh boy, it is worth the trouble. The Quark may be quirky but now I'm gonna have fun, fun, fun (and for Beach Boys fans, daddy won't take this T-bird away!). I have already planned in my mind long sessions with the SolarMax and 76+Quark side by side, with nice full disc views in the former and the ability to get real close and comfy with the latter. Roll on sunny summer days!

Now I musn't take up any more of your time - we all have other things to do, and look at ..

In putting this thread to bed I thank you, one and all, for your input, patience, great advice and, generally, just for being there. You are the business!

:icon_cool: :icon_cool:

:icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin:

Thank you.

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Nice one Gordon [emoji3][emoji3]

I knew it would come up trumps for you.

You are right in that the focus seems ultra critical for solar. If you want to spend more cash, you can get a very nice FeatherTouch microfocuser upgrade for the 76. I have one on my 85 and love it. The basic, buttery smooth focuser remains, but you get the fine control which really helps.

I also found that using a x0.5 focal reducer in the eyepiece reduces the eye relief (which makes sense), so with a 32mm plossl I had to remove the eye guard extension in order to be able to position my eye correctly.

Enjoy!

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Yes the focus does feel "shallow," especially with my longest focal length frac. For imaging I find a measuring scale helpful on the focuser, it's easy to miss the focus if you don't know whereabouts it is, unless you are going slowwww.

Edited by Luke
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Excellent result Gordon..... Good vibrations all the way :grin:

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I'm not sure why you wouldn't be getting full disk with you TV76 and 32mm plossl? I sure do with that combination.

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Just read the rest of the thread. Awesome news that you seem to be sorted. Congrats on proper first Quark light.

I had mine out for the first time in awhile today, and for the first time ever in the TV102, and was reminded of what an awesome little doovelacky the Quark really is. Views were outstanding! Detail in the hedgerow prom was about as good as I can remember ever having seen.

Well done Gordon.

Oh, and I agree. I love my TV 32mm plossl and absolutely hate it at the same time! It's a really nice eyepiece, but such a horror to keep in the right position with. I'd reckon it's the most difficult eyepiece I've ever used. At night, it's nowhere near as temperamental, but having to hover your eye above the eyepiece when solar viewing, allowing extraneous light to pour in from everywhere, seems counterproductive to me. Nevertheless, it does seem to provide the best views with the Quark. Hence the mixed feelings. I must try some of those eyepiece extenders, designed for this very EP and purpose.

Edited by Joves
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Thanks, Joves. Now that I've got my head in the right place, literally and figuratively, things can only get better. It's like one of those so-called 'light bulb' moments - when it comes on, everything is clear.

You have a signature list that reads like the stock of an astronomy shop, but most relevant is that you've got it together with the Quark and a TV102. That encourages me to think I can get that combo working, too.

I'm sure I'll get to know and love my 32mm plossl. I just need to live with it a little bit longer ... However, I'm only just achieving full disc when using the x0.5 reducer. Are you getting full disc without any reducer?

Now that I have things sorted out a bit better I'm looking forward to playing around with some spacers and different configurations of the optical train, but have only a 2" UV/IR cut filter, so constrained in some way. Also not sure if it's safe to put the reducer first in the optical train - i.e. on the Quark before the diagonal?

Whatever, the only way is up ...

Thanks for your response. Clear skies!

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Gordon,

Smoke is a good indicator that you have put something in the wrong order :grin: 

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