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SacRiker

Took the Coronado PST Plunge -- Review and First Light

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56 minutes ago, SacRiker said:

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?

The answer is Yes. That is exactly what I did (and Mark). It just screws onto the front. As with anything solar, it takes a bit of fiddling to get the very best of views.

Mine was sold to a fellow SGLer to find another Astro project. I’ll get another one at some stage.

Paul

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1 hour ago, SacRiker said:

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?

Yes, the double stack unit is a stand alone item and screws directly on to the front of the PST. It will probably cost more than the standard PST but you are paying for a 40mm etalon compared to the 20mm one inside the PST.    ?

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42 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

you are paying for a 40mm etalon compared to the 20mm one inside the PST.    ?

Could you use just a double stack unit (with a suitable ERF) on the back of a big refractor to make the ultimate PST mod???

Paul

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35 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

Could you use just a double stack unit (with a suitable ERF) on the back of a big refractor to make the ultimate PST mod???

Paul

Not quite as simple as that unfortunately, the double stack unit is a front fitting item and is configured for receiving parallel light whereas the internal PST etalon works with converging light. Some modders are trying a workaround to this issue however the humble PST etalon does a fine job in conjunction with a larger objective.     ?

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Posted (edited)

another vote for the addition of the focussing knob addition, also bought a white solar observing hood , got it from a link on here and came from Russia - works very well - cant recall the internet site  myself but  the link is somewhere on this forum

Edited by Mark-V
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Another update -- I received the Coronado AZS mount (gold legs) today. But my excitement is tempered by the massive rain storm happening outside. Not joking when I say we can go 4 months or more without seeing a drop of rain here. We DO need the rain (badly!) but that doesn't make the waiting any easier!

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On 06/01/2019 at 01:16, 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.

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

Has anybody purchased from this camera-concepts site on here? Good experience? 

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I've just repaired a PST which came in fitted with this focus knob, so there doesn't seem to be any issues with that company.....

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Okay folks...need a little help here. I set up the Coronado AZS Mount this evening. In the mount description it said that I needed to order the dovetail in order to attach the PST. However, the PST seems to mount just fine by using the screw on the head of the AZS mount. I can't even see how I would use the dovetail! Am I doing something wrong? The scope seems fine mounted without the dovetail. Did I spend money on the dovetail for nothing? See pic for the setup without the dovetail.

 

IMG_2917.JPG

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I mount my PST exactly the same way on an old AZ3 mount. They obviously forgot your mount already had the camera adaptor and 1/4" thread to fit the PST.... 

You don't need the dovetail.

 

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20 hours ago, Merlin66 said:

I mount my PST exactly the same way on an old AZ3 mount. They obviously forgot your mount already had the camera adaptor and 1/4" thread to fit the PST.... 

You don't need the dovetail.

That certainly seems to be the case. I've reached out to the supplier I got the stuff from in the hopes I might be able to return the Dovetail. I don't see why I would not. It's mint! 

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The weather is supposed to be clear tomorrow! I'll be solar observing during the day...first light report to follow soon!

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Finally! First light with the PST!

I attached the PST to the AZS mount last night to skip any assembly today. Around 11am PST I found a good spot in my back yard and positioned the scope and my viewing chair. So far so good. Next, I pointed the scope toward the sun and very quickly found the sun in the PST's sol-finder. Extremely easy. I figured this was going way too smoothly...something was sure to go wrong at any minute. And sure enough, it did. Although the sun was squarely in the middle of the finder, I could not locate the sun anywhere in the eyepiece.  It was maddening! However, I remember the instructions said something about the sun possibly being best found when not quite centered in the finder...so I moved it around a bit and finally saw the red disc. 

The next challenge was trying to get the sun to come into focus. This took a while and by this point I was already sweating. An unfamiliar problem compared to night time astronomy! After a while I managed to get clean edges on the sun and figured it must be in focus. But I couldn't make out any details or see anything other than a bright red disc. It looked good, but I was a little underwhelmed. Next, I recalled reading about the PST having a sweet spot...so in combination with fiddling around with the tuner and slow motion mount controls I scanned around the sun trying to find something...

Then I saw it.

Two massive prominences at around the 10:30 position. They were unmistakable and had to be enormous. They looked like gigantic bursts from a flamethrower. I switched out the 18mm Coronado EP to my 8mm TeleVue. It was hard to bring them into focus and tune all over again, but I eventually found them and just stared in amazement. I really hope I was actually seeing what I thought I was seeing.

In addition to the prominences, I could make out some minute level of surface detail. There was some orange peel effect visible in the midst of tuning and focusing, although I could never make much of it out. I tried to take some pictures with my phone and adaptor, but the images would never come into focus. Not sure if that has something to do with the PST setup? I can get decent images on my nighttime scope. 

In summary, I'm excited to fine tune my skills with the PST and look forward to many days under the sun. If anybody has any suggestions for how I can improve my experience, I'm all ears!

 

IMG_2926.JPG

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Nice first light report and glad to hear you are liking the PST.  ?

Reminds me of the first time I used a PST. Now you know why most recommend some kind of protection from the sun so you don’t melt.  

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Looks great! Sounds like you are hooked. The first Proms are a real “Wow” moment.

I like to leave my Solar gear set up for the day and do lots of little sessions, marvelling at how proms/details change over the course of a day. That way I don’t cook too badly! This summer i’m going to try sketching these micro sessions (zero talent, but should be fun).

Paul

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There is certainly a learning curve with operating a PST or any Ha telescope for that matter. Patience and practice really pay off.   ?

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On 13/01/2019 at 15:19, Peter Drew said:

There is certainly a learning curve with operating a PST or any Ha telescope for that matter. Patience and practice really pay off.   ?

Wot He said. Welcome to the Light Side?

The surface features have to be teased out by practice.

The first look often sees just a red disk. A little patience with balancing the tuning and focus will be rewarded.

Do cover your head or fit a cardboard screen up front to improve contrast.

Imagine trying to see anything at night while trying to observe under a blinding street lamp. 

The same applies to the sun. Just screening your face from the sun with a hand or arm will help.

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20 hours ago, Rusted said:

The first look often sees just a red disk. A little patience with balancing the tuning and focus will be rewarded.

Any tips? I feel like I'm just randomly turning the dials with little clue as to how I'm supposed to be using them. The instructions say to bring the image into focus first (until the sun's edge is sharp) and then work on tuning. That's roughly what I've been doing. 

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Yes, that's the way to start....

Practise, practise, practise.......

I will get a bit easier when we get out of this solar minima and there's some surface detail to view.....

 

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1 hour ago, SacRiker said:

Any tips? I feel like I'm just randomly turning the dials with little clue as to how I'm supposed to be using them.

The instructions say to bring the image into focus first (until the sun's edge is sharp) and then work on tuning. That's roughly what I've been doing. 

That's fine. Always focus the limb to maximum sharpness first. Only then can you tune for detail.

Start with a low power to see the whole disk at once. Look for variations in surface texture.
They can seem to pop out of nowhere as your eyes scan the disk.

You will be blown away by sunspots! They are completely different in H-alpha.
A few tiny spots in white light can have a large, paler and "busier" area surrounding them.
That happened only last week with some insignificant spots.

In a way the Solar Minimum is a great exerciser. You aren't spoilt rotten by the all too obvious.
You have to work much harder for your surface detail. So you get far more practice in the same time.

Develop a routine so you aren't wasting precious sun time.
You want a rise and fall seat for comfort which is stable on your observing surface.
A cover for your head to increase contrast. 

Learn and practice a quick method for reliably finding the sun in the eyepiece.
A card on which to cast the telescope's shadow will soon get you centered as you minimize the 'scopes shadow.
If  a fixed sun finder is off then find where the sun should be even if it is showing off center in the telescope eyepiece.

Observing objects in the sky is just like bird watching. It takes endless practice.
You learn to faultlessly point your binoculars or telescope in the blink of an eye.
In a fraction of a second you have centered, focused and identified the [all too] common bird.
Your binoculars are back on your chest in less than a second for the entire exercise.
Such effortless behaviours only come from endless practice deliberately looking for and at common birds.
Your eyes become highly tuned to the slightest movement against complex and often moving backgrounds.

It goes without saying that you should NEVER be looking at the sun except in a properly filtered solar telescope.

 

 

 

 

 

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Excellent advice from the earlier posts.

A great little scope.

I have had a PST for several years but am about to sell.

Not fed up. Moving on to a Lunt 60mm.

David.

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Hi, i see that they are different models double stack too. Question : are ALL double stack models have more or less the same quality/resolution? In europe seems to have only one model. End second. I have Lets say a normal pst  and 8= 24 mm zoom =8 mm is the best higher mag i can go in decent seeings(verry good pst may have better resolution?)  and Lets say the double stack is 40 percent dimmer then single, then my pst will be with a 13-13.5mm as bright then 8 mm in singele. Then iT will be still worth and good enough to order one of the or all double stack models? Brrr..... thanks!     ( if people give a hint or review then they maby also most say how good theire pst and stack model is..then you most compere iT to your own model)

Edited by andre2

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