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jabeoo1

Lunt LS50C landed & incoming Moonlite for the LS50tHa

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I am well excited having just got my dirty mitts on this beast.  Reviews to follow but given the cloud cover here that may be some time.  Also given  my focuser is currently in the USA being measured up for a Moonlite upgrade we are going to be some time but a double review will be up here ASAP. 

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Anyone attending the Welsh Brecon October meeting will be more than welcome to plenty of viewing time.  

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Jabeoo - I missed this thread first time around - but can I add my name to the list of those waiting with great interest to see how the new filter (and focuser) perform.

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Don't suppose that made it much more affordable jabeoo?

Not a great deal cheaper with all the usual extras on top, being in stock was the clincher.  I am patiently waiting for the focuser so I can get 1st light.  The clouds here have been almost blanket so any real opportunity so far would have been scarce.  I will try and write a thourough review comparing visual use in single and double stack mode as soon as I can.  Also a moonlite should be big step up from the stock one.  

More to follow. 

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Happy to updating anyone following or interested in the thread.  

The original focuser has now been measured and scrutinised by Ron at Moonlite. The plans are ready to go so a precision focuser can be made to fit the Lunt 50.  Once the original focuser hits the door matt I will crack on with using the LS50C and get some info out there on what its like.  I have been missing the Ha viewing so much it makes me appreciate what I am missing, how did I ever not have a solar scope?  I do wonder.    Can't wait to see that fat old sun again. 

Edited by jabeoo1
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At leasts relatively quite at the moment. Looking forward to see the results of the focuser and what if any difference it makes to the isseus regarding imaging.

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Had been monitoring UK retailers for the LS50C for a while - then saw 365 had a couple in stock last week, so put in an order and took delivery yesterday. Not expecting to really put it to the test for at least a couple of weeks - combination of unhelpful weather forecasts and travelling on business - so won't pre-empt your report jabeoo. Very interested to see how your new set up performs.

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Had been monitoring UK retailers for the LS50C for a while - then saw 365 had a couple in stock last week, so put in an order and took delivery yesterday. Not expecting to really put it to the test for at least a couple of weeks - combination of unhelpful weather forecasts and travelling on business - so won't pre-empt your report jabeoo. Very interested to see how your new set up performs.

Excellent, I look forward to your report.  Please do feel free to put it in this thread & don't worry about pre-empting my report, I will be interested to hear what you find as soon as you get the chance to use it (even if it is ahead of me).  I look forward to comparing notes & discussing findings etc.  

Do you image and/or observe?  I only observe by the way. 

Edited by jabeoo1

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Thanks - in that case.......

I did in fact manage to have a very brief session with the new LS50C yesterday. Maybe four of five very short views when clouds decided to part. I was standing in an uncomfortable position, and the sun was just starting to disappear behind a tree - so it was about the most unpromising way to christen the new filter. It also meant I didn't have time to play around with the tuning or sweet spots. But the sun looked gorgeous - immediate improvement in detail and contrast. Slightly dimmer image - but that was no problem at all. Proms didn't seem to suffer in brightness or clarity. But it was an active regions and filaments that really stood out.

As we've discovered, using these wonderful telescopes is a learning experience - I wasn't expecting it to blow my socks off - but based on this very limited start, i think it's going to meet all my expectations and then some. It just left me wanting MORE.

And the great thing was - when I checked out the latest sun images on Gong afterwards, I was surprised that they were largely featureless. I thought I'd been looking at a fairly active sun, but in reality it was a below average day.

Anyway - I will now leave the next report to you jabeoo- and I'll respond with a more thorough road test after that.

And to answer your question - I'm just an observer - I've just got the B400 blocking filter.

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This sounds really promising Highburymark.  Can't wait to hear more from you or anyone else for that matter.  I am eager to get an early morning sunrise to myself soon with a coffee in hand.   Let us hear more as you discover the benefits of this filter. :) 

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Going to stick to my promise to not review the double stack system before you Jabeoo, but I have say this: you are going to LOVE it.

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Going to stick to my promise to not review the double stack system before you Jabeoo, but I have say this: you are going to LOVE it.

please do use the thread to say what you have experienced........ :)

I have had a very limited time with it, cloud dodging that is.  I don't feel in a position right now to do a fully balanced review on it yet, as the time spent is too thin on the ground.  All I can say so far is:

The image is dimmer (expected!).  

What would be the brightest regions associated with the active regions are somewhat reduced in intensity with the DS on. The detail appears finer and more compact in any given area through the LS50C.  When single stacked the brightest - darkest range (excluding black sun spots) is quite a wide, in DS mode the brightest - darkest seems a noticible 'narrower range'.  I have had promising glimpses where the whole solar disc appears to become more 3-dimentional looking.  The filaments appear to take on a different 3D form and 'hug' the curve of the suns surface.  I am really trying to get used to it still to be honest, I find the tuning knob a bit weird as it functions to me at its most useful at the end of its travel (when the disc is at its brightest).  

I am unsure at this stage if the 'sweet spot' changes in any way when double stacked.  The sun at the moment is quite uniform (other than the 3 or so active regions) so even though the texture of the general surface looks different in DS mode it remains difficult to judge or make comments on the overall clarity of the full disc. 

Please do let me know how you are getting on with it!

Edited by jabeoo1

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Achieving fine views in a solar scope seems like an easy enough task.   After all you have the grand total of ONE control, or TWO in the case of double stacking, well THREE if you include the focuser... Easy then I suspect & 'instant gratification'.  

Its not really always that easy to say the least.  When combining the variables (please do excuse the pun),  it can feel like something is stacking up against you (I will get my coat).  

Once again I have just been cloud dodging before being denied another session of any length to climb the strange learning curve in Ha equipment.  Its easy though isn't it ? In the daytime compared to the cold dark nights?  At least you can see your equiptment and don't lose stuff and trip over plant pots or get freaked out by the sudden cat fight.  Answer:  No its not always that easy.    

So you have the focuser, 2 etalons & the unique 'sweet spot' to find with the current ever-changing weather.  The instructions are so sparse that they require the user to think on their seat.  You can start to worry a little as to whether your Ha gear acquisition was worth it,  especially when that 'extra' item that screws on the front of your telescope is the same price as the telescope! :eek:  Blimey I think, I could have got a 2nd scope & attempted to make a bracket for some single stack binoculars instead !!! (theres a thought :))

Getting out that last extra 20% in performance is rarely proportional to cost & Its that extra final improvement in some ways can go least noticed, yet can remain most burdening on mind and wallet.  

It started feeling absurd when comparing the current view in the eyepiece with others from memory, but it was right there this morning.  The view had little in comparison to the view I was used to in Single stack mode.  A very smooth ball, finely detailed & beautifully contrasted.  It was less 'noisy' looking than ever before, much more refined and much more detail was squeezed into the areas I was previously familiar with as voids of detail or contrast.  Everything seemed perfectly still and crystal clear and all that was 3 minutes before the the first of the thickening layers of cloud smudged it away.  

This extra performance in this set up really does transform the capability of the scope.  It transforms the views very significantly & much more than I expected.  Only the other day I was mumbling to myself as I was being denied any improved views, that maybe this double stack thing is more geared towards astro photography than visual.  They are precise tools, that require the user to enjoy the learning curve to maximise their performance with mostly patience and mild experimentation.  With this in mind the rewards are quite remarkable.

Now where is that sun? :rolleyes:   

Edited by jabeoo1

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The instructions that come with the filter are minimal, getting the most out of the unit will come with use but below are some tips that I wish I had known earlier:

1) Get the scope focused & tuned optimally in SS mode.  

2) Screw the filter on ALL the way.  

3) Attempt desirable view inside the 'sweet spot' & using the LS50C's dial obtain the brightest view. 

If view is still bland even when inside the so called sweet spot:

4) CAREFULLY undo the LS50C by 1/4 - 1/2 turn whilst observing the textural changes of the solar disc. 

    This technique has proven worthwhile to me and was recommended by Lunt directly. It is not in the instructions. 

    The front rejection filter is set into the unit at an angle so rotating this can change the view drastically. 

    I may experiment with the orientation of the OTA in the clamshell so that when the LS50C reaches its fully screwed

    on position the orientation of the filter is at its optimal instead of backing it off. 

5) When loosening the filter be sure to hold the unit at the base (Black).  If held around the red casing it is able to unscrew from the base 

    plates as it has its own separate thread.  Not a good idea!

6) I think after using this unit for some time there would be no reason to set the scope up in single stack mode before the other steps, 

    However I have found that step a logical part of the process. 

I hope this may be of help to anyone interested. 

Edited by jabeoo1
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To this I would add that a black cloth over the head to obscure stray light will give a significant boost to the detail seen, a binoviewer also adds an extra dimension. 

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Agree Peter. The head cloth was an important accessory in single stack. With the extra filter it becomes the most important accessory of all - getting your eyes accustomed to the slightly dimmer image is paramount.

Like Jabeoo, I have been through a big learning curve with the Lunt - documented elsewhere on this site - it took several weeks and lots of experimenting to get the most out of single stack, but my expectations have been exceeded with DS since the unit arrived last week. From the start it delivered greater contrast and detail on the solar surface, and stunning depth to filaments, which now look like egg white floating in hot water. Active regions are transformed, although as yet the sun hasn't been particularly active. All this while retaining the same clarity of proms provided by SS. The sweet spot for me is larger with the extra filter, though not by much.

These are only early impressions. Who knows, with jabeoo's suggestions above there may be even more performance to squeeze out of these wonderful scopes. I'm looking forward to some clear skies this weekend - will also be my first chance to test the Leica zoom on the Lunt and see how it compares to the excellent Pentax.

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