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SacRiker

Took the Coronado PST Plunge -- Review and First Light

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After a ton of deliberation I finally ended up ordering the PST this week (was going back and forth between the Lunt 50 and the PST but the PST was just so much more affordable thanks to an Amazon deal). The delivery guy pulled up to the house and I scrambled outside to take possession of the new scope. Not sure why I was in such a rush though -- it has been pouring rain all day and the forecast is more rain for the next four days! Even in California we have the curse of the clouds!

In any event, I carefully opened the package and was immediately amazed at how small the PST is. The unit is incredibly well packaged -- the foam casing in the cardboard box is as snug as I have seen and the scope is very well protected. I will definitely keep the box for storage. After peeling (took some muscle!) the PST out of the foam I was next struck by how solid the scope feels. However, it was a little shocking to see that the EyePiece screw really is just a very cheap piece of plastic...I'm hoping this screw doesn't cause any issues down the road!

Next, the instruction manual is simple but has some nice general information about solar observing and covers the basics of how to use the scope. The manual also has a nice introduction about the history of Coronado and why Meade purchased them. However, Meade clearly cut some corners by including instructions for all of their solar scopes in the same instruction manual. It reads a little funny in places. 

I also ordered the Coronado AZS mount and dovetail -- both of those items are expected to arrive on Tuesday. Hopefully by Wednesday I will have some views of the sun! 

My plan is to keep this thread updated with impressions, first light, final review, photos, etc. Hopefully this will be helpful to the next person looking to pick up the PST. More soon and initial pics below!

 

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I remember my first PST, i too was a bit surprised about the focuser and the eyepiece screw, the focuser is a bit delicate but you don't have to worry about it just don't crank it hard.

you'll be amazed, especially if this is your first HA scope, it wasn't long before i picked up a Lunt 60 afterwards, aperture fever.

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Posted (edited)

Great stuff... I have the Solar Max II and when the sun is active the views are awesome...

Yeah, the SMII also has plastic eyepiece screws.. 

Edited by MarsG76

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I used to own a pair of these (Ha & CaK). They certainly give a different view of the sun compared to a white light scope!

I am surprised it was raining when the scope arrived ... I would have thought it would have been brilliant sunshine until Tuesday (when you could actually use the scope) and then you would get all of California's 36 days of rain for 2019 in one go ...

Looking forward to following your journey.

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Having owned and modded PST's since 2007, they are part of the family.

Bang per buck they do well.

Never had any issues/ concerns with the plastic eyepiece screw.

I would recommend you get a Vegemite (in the US????) lid, or a Peanut butter (probably easier in the US ;) ) lid, drill a central hole 11mm diameter and slip it over the PST focus knob; gives much better and precise control.

Enjoy!

 

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2 hours ago, Sunshine said:

you'll be amazed, especially if this is your first HA scope, it wasn't long before i picked up a Lunt 60 afterwards, aperture fever.

I can't wait to get some quality time on this thing! The Lunt 60 must be incredible. 

 

2 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

I am surprised it was raining when the scope arrived ... I would have thought it would have been brilliant sunshine until Tuesday (when you could actually use the scope) and then you would get all of California's 36 days of rain for 2019 in one go ...

LOL. You aren't far off -- it usually does happen like that...one good month of rain and then an 11 month dry spell!

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1 hour ago, Merlin66 said:

Having owned and modded PST's since 2007, they are part of the family.

What are some of the mods that you employ? Do you have the double stack?

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All the mods I do generally involve adding the PST etalon to larger apertures.

A Stage 0.5 involves removing the PST “Black Box” and replacing it with a “proper “ focuser.

Stage 1 is removing the Gold tube and replacing it with a larger aperture scope (up to 150mm) and adding an ERF (energy rejection filter)

Stage 2 mod is when the etalon is removed, added behind a large aperture scope with ERF and a proper focuser and upgraded blocking filter.

I have a write up available.... just PM me your email details.

Adding  a double stack unfortunately is limited to adding $$$$ commercial external filters.

 

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Posted (edited)

Always liked the PST. Yes it’s an entry level solar scope but really enjoyable to use and can deliver some great views.

When I had one fitted one of these focus knobs. Not cheap but made such a difference.

https://camera-concepts.shoplightspeed.com/fine-focus-knob-for-coronado-pst-h-alpha-solar-tel.html

Edited by johninderby
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Double stack is good. It adjusts the wavelength to bring out more surface detail. Increasing the aperture increases the image scale so you can see more proms!! 😁😁

Don’t worry. There is plenty of fun to be had with a normal PST.

@merlin66 what is the stag 0.5??? I’ve done stage stage 1 but somehow missed stage 0.5!

Paul

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Paul,

The stage 0.5 involves replacing the PST "black box" with a conventional (usually short Crayford focuser) and either the "re-used" BF5 from the PST or a larger BF10 blocker.

Still a 40mm aperture but none of the hassles of the pentaprism.......

 

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Here’s one I did years ago for a PST mod using a Borg focuser and adapters. 

 

8169AA3C-8923-433A-99B5-B07DAFD964A2.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Very neat indeed!

So, is the diagonal a special blocking filter? Or, just the original PST filter stuck on top of a 1.25” standard diagonal?

Paul

Edited by Paul73

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4 hours ago, Merlin66 said:

All the mods I do generally involve adding the PST etalon to larger apertures.

A Stage 0.5 involves removing the PST “Black Box” and replacing it with a “proper “ focuser.

Stage 1 is removing the Gold tube and replacing it with a larger aperture scope (up to 150mm) and adding an ERF (energy rejection filter)

Stage 2 mod is when the etalon is removed, added behind a large aperture scope with ERF and a proper focuser and upgraded blocking filter.

I have a write up available.... just PM me your email details.

Adding  a double stack unfortunately is limited to adding $$$$ commercial external filters.

It sounds like you've done a lot of tinkering with this thing! I'll send a PM. 

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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

Always liked the PST. Yes it’s an entry level solar scope but really enjoyable to use and can deliver some great views.

When I had one fitted one of these focus knobs. Not cheap but made such a difference.

Excellent tip -- thanks! These just easily fit over the top of the existing focuser? No need to do anything else?

 

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Should have read Peter’s post first. And read Merlin66’s post properly...... What a Muppet! Sorry folks.

Mr SacRiker - Don’t go chopping up your lovely new scope. You haven’t even looked through it yet!😁. Part of the charm of a PST is their light weight simplicity. Mine still goes on camping trips in its original form with a photo tripod. At home, the tube comes off and it transforms into a 100mm prom slaying beast!

Paul

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1 minute ago, Paul73 said:

Mr SacRiker - Don’t go chopping up your lovely new scope. You haven’t even looked through it yet!😁. Part of the charm of a PST is their light weight simplicity. Mine still goes on camping trips in its original form with a photo tripod. At home, the tube comes off and it transforms into a 100mm prom slaying beast!

Yeah no plans to chop it up! I'm scared enough to just handle it for the time being...even though it was a good deal it was still very expensive. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SacRiker said:

Excellent tip -- thanks! These just easily fit over the top of the existing focuser? No need to do anything else?

 

Yes it just slips over the stock knob and locked in place with a grub screw.

Edited by johninderby
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Paul73 said:

Very neat indeed!

So, is the diagonal a special blocking filter? Or, just the original PST filter stuck on top of a 1.25” standard diagonal?

Paul

The Coronado blockong filter replaces the PST one. You’re only using the PST etalon. Unfortunately it’s the expensive bit. The BF10 or BF15 ££££ 😵

https://www.f1telescopes.co.uk/product-category/solar-telescopes/coronado-solar-telescopes/coronado-blocking-filters/

Edited by johninderby

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Posted (edited)

A great start down the Ha path, a good PST gives a Lunt50 a good run for the money. For future upgrade, a PST mod will be the most cost effective way forward.   😀

Edited by Peter Drew
Typo
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Nice little scope - getting into ha solar is fascinating and fun - and once you've had a good couple of sessions you're addicted for life. Sun is very quiet at the moment at solar minimum, but there are normally a few proms that are worth studying, and we're hoping that there will be signs of increasing surface activity before too long.

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Well done on your PST purchase. I bought mine is 2005 and used it that year for an eclipse in Spain and the following year the Total Eclipse in Turkey. Like @johninderbyI also bought a focusing knob which makes life so much easier.

About 18 months ago I purchased a Double Stack unit and it does make a great difference to surface details but clearly this comes at an extra cost.

You may wish to make or purchase a dark observing cloth - the attached photo shows mine with the Double Stack fitted.

pst.jpg

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All this PST discussion is making me want to get another one.  🤔

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4 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

About 18 months ago I purchased a Double Stack unit and it does make a great difference to surface details but clearly this comes at an extra cost.

I believe the answer to this is yes, but just checking since you have it -- can I just buy the second etalon and add it to the end of my existing PST? Or is there some other version of the PST?

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Just an update to this thread. The AZS mount arrives tomorrow...but I just checked the forecast and...

337203891_ScreenShot2019-01-07at6_54_00AM.png.f878865e61f32d1078ff9cf3b76f8ed8.png

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