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Carbon Brush

Lunt Scope Choices

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Thanks for the excellent responses to from my earlier questions about solar viewing options.

I reckon I have narrowed my choices down to either a Daystar eyepiece + parts to make it work, or a Lunt scope that works out of the box.

In this 'question time' I would very much like to hear opinions and experiences of Lunt scopes.
I hope to learn more about these to allow an informed opinion before comparison to a Daystar Quark.

Please feel free to tell me if my reasoning is flawed, my information wrong, or I am just an an idiot!

Thanks, David.

 

I am thinking of a 60mm Lunt scope hoping to get a much better package than the PST.
The arguments for 60mm being:

1. How much I am prepared to spend.

2. Improvements in view and performance over a 40mm PST, or a 50mm Lunt.

3. Expecting only small improvements in view going to 80mm.
I have read that turbulent air, moisture, etc makes larger aperture less worthwhile in resolution and magnification than for a night sky scope.
I live in moist and murky England. Not the Atacama desert.

 

Taking Lunt 60mm scopes, there are basically 4 options on the model.

1. Blocking filter 600 or 1200. Does the 1200 worth the extra £300 or so?

2. Pressure tuned etalon. Is it worth the extra £400 or so?

3. Feathertouch focusser upgrade. For £600 it has to be good.
Surely Lunt will not sell a scope for £2K+ with a grotty focusser?
 

 

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On 14/01/2019 at 09:42, Carbon Brush said:

Taking Lunt 60mm scopes, there are basically 4 options on the model.

1. Blocking filter 600 or 1200. Does the 1200 worth the extra £300 or so?

2. Pressure tuned etalon. Is it worth the extra £400 or so?

3. Feathertouch focusser upgrade. For £600 it has to be good.
Surely Lunt will not sell a scope for £2K+ with a grotty focusser?
 

 

Hi David,

I have owned 2x Lunt LS60 scopes. My first was a tilt tuned LS60 and my second is a pressure tuned LS60.

(1) LS60/B1200 tilt tuned. This little scope provided great views in 2013 (when the Sun was active) and really got me hooked on Solar. I quickly wanted to move to a double stack system and decided to buy a "matched pair" LS60/B1200 pressure tuned and DS60 front double stack etalon from the factory.

(2) the advantage of pressure tuned is that it can more easily be tuned in to work with the additional tilt tuned front double stack filter to get them both "in tune". If you don't intend to double stack then the tilt tuned scope works well.

(3) The advantage for me of the LS60 over the LS50 is if you want to BINOVIEW. The extra brightness of the image in the LS60 allows for binoviewing. The sun really comes to life when viewed with two eyes. The LS60 would be my recommendation for this reason only! The sun is so much better with two eyes!

(4) The standard (Chinese-made) focusers on Lunt scopes are very poor indeed. They mark up really easily and are simply not capable of holding the weight of cameras and binoviewers (period). I agree that this is a sorry state of affairs, but I assume allows them to keep the price down. Personally, I would not pay the extra for a Feathertouch as there are other cheaper options available. I use a "classic" Baader Steeltrack on my LS60 (its the old "Reflector NT" version and it fits straight on with no adapters needed). I believe there is a Moonlight option now too.

serial-no.jpg.fde0a7d873efe41412a318a1558ad8d6.jpg

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(the flat reflector mounting plate is removed via 4 grub screws - I do not believe that the new "diamond" NT focuser will fit the LS60 :( )

 

(5) I went for the B1200 blocking filter as I wanted as much light as possible into the eyepiece/binoviewer. The "600" and "1200" number is actually the measurement of the exit hole "diameter" in the blocking filter. So the 600 has a 6mm exit hole and the 1200 has a 12mm exit hole. For binoviewing I need longer focal length eyepieces and they can utilise the larger exit hole.

(6) it will be harder to sell your LS60 second hand with only a B600 blocking filter (no-one really wants these!).

 

Please do ask more questions, I will dig out a picture of my setup (which I have no intention of upgrading as it enables me to see everything that I would want to see).

(7) There is a second hand LS60 double stack with Feathertouch on astrobuysell at the moment. If you can bag it for £3500 then I would bite his hand off. Its optimistically over priced at £4500 at the moment :).

https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/propview.php?view=145235

zz1zz.jpg.02fb6293cfa094209553270914bf788d.jpg

HTH, Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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Agree with everything Alan has said - I have the same scope. If you think that the LS60 focuser is bad, then try the LS50 one - it's even worse. As Alan has suggested, you need the old Steeltrack Newtonian focuser - the newer one doesn't fit. Despite the poor LS60 stock focuser, it still works ok as long as you don't over stretch it - for me the most important upgrade is a double stack filter - it transforms surface detail, though it's a considerable outlay. However, you will get the money back if you sell the scope some time in the future. Also agree if you want to binoview then the B1200 blocking filter is preferable. I found the LS60 to be a considerable step up from the 50 - much more detail in proms as on a good day you can increase the magnification up to around 70x without losing sharpness.

Having said all this, last year Daystar launched the 60mm Solar Scout - a super cheap scope which it claims offers "double stack" type views for about £750. However, although they have apparently sold out three production runs, I've yet to see a single review anywhere online - very odd - advise caution until there's wider proof that it offers quality as well as a cheap price tag.

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2 hours ago, Carbon Brush said:

Taking Lunt 60mm scopes, there are basically 4 options on the model.

1. Blocking filter 600 or 1200. Does the 1200 worth the extra £300 or so?

2. Pressure tuned etalon. Is it worth the extra £400 or so?

3. Feathertouch focusser upgrade. For £600 it has to be good.
Surely Lunt will not sell a scope for £2K+ with a grotty focusser?
 

I have the LS60DS / 1200BF and would recommend it to anybody interested in purchasing a solar scope.

Never had a tilt tuned so can't really compare, the pressure tuner is very stiff to adjust but according to Lunt the setting required depends on the  atmospheric pressure at your location and once set  should only need minor tweaking, you can go mad and DIY convert it to pneumatic operation with a small compressor but makes it a bit too complicated IMHO.

The stock focuser does leave a bit to be desired and as the rest of the scope is A1 it's worth spending out on a decent one, I fitted a Moonlight to mine, can't remember how much exactly, around £400.00 with import duty direct from Moonlight.

Another really useful addition is an electronic focuser, doesn't have to be anything fancy, a DIY one with a hand control is all that's needed and makes precise focusing while you're hiding under a hood so much easier.

One more thing I found really good is the SW SolarQuest mount, a bit of an expense just for sticking your solar scope on but really does what it claims, finds the Sun and then tracks it happily all day long.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/sky-watcher-solarquest-solar-goto-tracking-mount-tripod.html

Dave

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Great thread. The scope on ABS includes a PC1 so perhaps this explains a slightly elevated price?

I can’t add much except that the focuser is smooth and nice to use with a EP. But when  I add my BVs it does struggle. I can live with it though. 

Mine is a 60mm PT scope, I’ve never had anything Solar before this.

 

 

 

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F3A0946D-34BF-4704-8FB9-158222065021.jpeg

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I am fairly new to Ha observing and picked up a used LS60/B1200 pressure tuned scope with 50mm double stack unit from a member of the local astro society.  

The double stack filter does reduce its aperture back to 50mm, but I've still been getting excellent views, though they're few and far between at the moment now that we're in solar minimum.

I had previously used the Coronado PST and I find the LS60 much easier to use thanks to the larger blocking filter and much brighter.  I haven't tried binoviewing with it yet, but hope to give it a go this year. 

I agree with the comments made above regarding the focuser, I found the stock unit absolutely terrible, and upgraded to the Baader Steeltrack Newtonian focuser as described by @alanjgreen, a worthwhile upgrade, and relatively cheap as I picked mine up for £150 when 365Astronomy had them on clearance.

The other indispensable piece of kit is the Skywatcher SolarQuest mount that @Davey-T mentioned above.  You just turn it on with the OTA pointing to the left of the sun and it automatically finds the sun, centres it in the FOV and keeps it there until its turned off or the sun sets, absolutely brilliant and although a one-trick pony, it does that one trick exceedingly well and is probably one of my best astro equipment decisions ever.

Ade

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3 hours ago, AdeKing said:

The other indispensable piece of kit is the Skywatcher SolarQuest mount that @Davey-T mentioned above.  You just turn it on with the OTA pointing to the left of the sun and it automatically finds the sun, centres it in the FOV and keeps it there until its turned off or the sun sets, absolutely brilliant and although a one-trick pony, it does that one trick exceedingly well and is probably one of my best astro equipment decisions ever.

Ade

I completely missed this mount coming to market.  It looks perfect for solar imaging too?? 

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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

I completely missed this mount coming to market.  It looks perfect for solar imaging too?? 

I haven't tried imaging with it yet.  I guess that field rotation won't be too much with the relatively short cumulative exposure lengths associated with Solar imaging.

@Davey-T might be in a better position to comment than me.

From my point of view it really is a case of a piece of kit which does exactly what it claims to do with minimum fuss and without the need for fettling.

Ade

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About all I managed to image with it before the Sun went into hiding.

LS60DS SW S'Quest ZWO178MM  binned 2X2.

Dave

Sun-08-11-18.thumb.png.d74a662b53b8f48f87abb9db177119b5.png

Sun-11-11-18.png.94709c325a924a8a11d5e856dcd10b17.png

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I need to decide what to sell now to buy this mount 

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Thanks to everyone for your comments and contributions. All are very informative and helpful.

Yes the Solar Scout 60mm does sound (suspiciously) too good to be true.
How can they sell a complete scope for less than the Quark eyepiece?
Given the lack of reviews and Daystar's fault/performance history I have decided to give Daystar a miss completely.

I have decided to hunt down a used Lunt 60mm with BF1200 and pressure tuner.

The standard focusser doesn't worry me as I can upgrade fairly easily.

Double stack seems nice but I won't refuse a single stack scope. If double is in the sale, I will take it.
Whether I later suffer 'sub-angstrom fever' and want a 2nd stack remains to be seen.
Is this a condition similar to aperture fever?

The package on ABS is certainly something to drool over. Double stack, focus upgrade, PC1, flight cases and apparently more.
All virtually unused.
I have spoken with the person who is advertising on behalf of the seller.
There has been a lot of interest and it is not currently open to offers or splitting. Pity as it is a 20 minute journey for me to collect.
At the right price I would go for it. But prefer to continue eating this year.
Can I really justify £4500 on a scope that has very specific application? No.

There was a Solarquest mount in the 'for sale' a few weeks back. I did vaguely consider it for my PST.
Then again, why not use any standard tracking mount?
At night it can go to the dark side.

Thanks again for all of your inputs. I will let you know what LS60 variant I get and how it works out.

Clear skies  bright sunshine, David.  
 

 

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1 hour ago, Carbon Brush said:

I have spoken with the person who is advertising on behalf of the seller.

There has been a lot of interest and it is not currently open to offers or splitting. Pity as it is a 20 minute journey for me to collect.
At the right price I would go for it. But prefer to continue eating this year.
Can I really justify £4500 on a scope that has very specific application? No.

 

 

 

 

Hi David

You could perhaps arrange a visit to see the scope since it is so close.  A tempting offer in person, with the cash in hand can go a long way.

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My club has a LUNT 60mm solar scope, and have had no end of trouble with it

Main issue is the pressure tuner, and continually have to take apart, and regrease with special grease which had to order from Meade

I finished up purchasing Colorado 70mm Solarmax 11, with BF10 tuner, and the only thing do not like about that, is the securing screws for the tuner are plastic, and mounted on my SW EQ5 mount

John

 

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12 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

My club has a LUNT 60mm solar scope, and have had no end of trouble with it

Main issue is the pressure tuner, and continually have to take apart, and regrease with special grease which had to order from Meade

I finished up purchasing Colorado 70mm Solarmax 11, with BF10 tuner, and the only thing do not like about that, is the securing screws for the tuner are plastic, and mounted on my SW EQ5 mount

John

 

What was the issue that your club had with the PT? My friend also has a 60THa but has only ever had to reapply grease when replacing the orings in the pressure tuner assembly. (Also, the grease they use is specific brand of vacuum grease (dow corning) - i dont believe you have to get it from Meade though?)

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On ‎17‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 01:41, OnceWaser said:

What was the issue that your club had with the PT? My friend also has a 60THa but has only ever had to reapply grease when replacing the orings in the pressure tuner assembly. (Also, the grease they use is specific brand of vacuum grease (dow corning) - i dont believe you have to get it from Meade though?)

Reapplying grease to "O" ring

Meade make both LUNT and Coronado brand scopes

To regrease "O" ring, remove the assembly

Clip off the plastic over, to reveal a small screw, undo screw, and entire piston assembly slides out, to remove "O" ring

There is provision to fit an additional "O" ring as well

John

 

 

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I am now the proud owner of an LS60 PT double stack with feathertouch focus.

Solid cloud today of course. But I am at work anyway.

First report will come eventually if or when the weather clears.

Am I an idiot for buying a solar scope in mid winter and near solar activity minimum?

David.

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1 hour ago, Carbon Brush said:

Am I an idiot for buying a solar scope in mid winter and near solar activity minimum?

Depends on your age David, every time I buy an expensive bit of astro' kit I wonder if I'll get my moneys worth out of it at my age :D

Dave

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2 hours ago, Carbon Brush said:

I am now the proud owner of an LS60 PT double stack with feathertouch focus.

Solid cloud today of course. But I am at work anyway.

First report will come eventually if or when the weather clears.

Am I an idiot for buying a solar scope in mid winter and near solar activity minimum?

David.

David,

Great purchase. You can’t really lose after having purchased at second hand prices!

The double stack will show plenty of surface action even when the sun is quiet. There are always proms on the edges. Keep an eye on the NOAA website to see “what is coming around the corner”.

https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/homepage

https://helioviewer.org/

Take your time to get used to the kit. Remember you may need to slide out the blocking filter from the focuser to reach focus.

You will also have 3 reflection (blurry) suns in the fov (with low power EP) so make sure you centre the brightest one and ignore the other 2. These are reflections created by the double stack.

Start with a low power EP, set the focuser to half way. Slide out the blocking filter until the suns edges are sharp.

Now, you can play with the pressure tuner by tightening it. ( you should unscrew it until you hear the sound of air rush in to the chamber then begin to tighten. The chamber needs to be refilled every couple of weeks of use (ish). Basically you won’t be able to tighten the tuner any more as it is fully-in means that it’s Time to let the air in again).

Tighten the pressure tuner until features appear and then disappears, then loosen a touch (back to the best position).

Now, finally you can play with the tilt tuner on the double stack.

Once you are happy that you have the maximum features, finally tweak the (1) focuser and (2) the pressure (off a touch usually).

Lets have some pictures too?

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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Thanks Alan for the advice. I will print it so it is to hand when in the garden.

I will have the scope on a tripod ready for any gaps in the cloud this weekend.

Being new to this scope type I plan on running single stack initially to get used to things.

Pics will follow.

David.

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14 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

Reapplying grease to "O" ring

Meade make both LUNT and Coronado brand scopes

To regrease "O" ring, remove the assembly

Clip off the plastic over, to reveal a small screw, undo screw, and entire piston assembly slides out, to remove "O" ring

There is provision to fit an additional "O" ring as well

John

 

 

Ah i understand, sounds like the rings dry out fairly regularly?

Must get some fair amount of use!

Meade does own the coronado brand i believe but they do not own or make Lunt telescopes

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16 minutes ago, OnceWaser said:

Ah i understand, sounds like the rings dry out fairly regularly?

Must get some fair amount of use!

I found it was more lack of use with mine plus there's no need to do any more than tweak the pressure tuner once it's set to your location so would probably be a good idea to wind it out and back in occasionally.

Dave

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3 hours ago, Carbon Brush said:

Thanks Alan for the advice. I will print it so it is to hand when in the garden.

I will have the scope on a tripod ready for any gaps in the cloud this weekend.

Being new to this scope type I plan on running single stack initially to get used to things.

Pics will follow.

David.

I wouldn’t bother with single stack, you will hardly see anything especially if the sun is blank anyway. The DS will increase what you see by a huge huge amount ;) (there will be plenty of spicules and probably some tiny filaments dotted about).

I have never removed the DS even once since I fitted it on the front 5 years ago! The difference in what you see is like NIGHT and DAY!

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen

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16 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

Reapplying grease to "O" ring

Meade make both LUNT and Coronado brand scopes

To regrease "O" ring, remove the assembly

Clip off the plastic over, to reveal a small screw, undo screw, and entire piston assembly slides out, to remove "O" ring

There is provision to fit an additional "O" ring as well

John

Sorry, but you are incorrect - Meade certainly do NOT make Lunt scopes (The guys who setup Lunt many years ago were ex-employees of Coronado/Meade. It seems that Meade Europe are "distributors" for Lunt spares but the scopes are made in Tucson at the Lunt factory.

2 hours ago, OnceWaser said:

Ah i understand, sounds like the rings dry out fairly regularly?

Must get some fair amount of use!

Meade does own the coronado brand i believe but they do not own or make Lunt telescopes

My pressure tuned LS60 is 5 years old. Never had to re-grease it yet. As @Davey-T says, just unscrew (& retighten) the "pressure knob" once in a while to re-gas and re-distribute the grease.

I had to get a replacement blue plastic lens for my blocking filter (which Lunt supplied for free and it was in my hands in the UK just three days after contacting Lunt in the USA). Their customer support is legendary!

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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17 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

My pressure tuned LS60 is 5 years old. Never had to re-grease it yet. I had to get a replacement blue plastic lens for my blocking filter (which Lunt supplied for free and it was in my hands in the UK in three days after contacting Lunt in the USA). Their customer support is legendary!

Snap, seems a common thing but no quibbles from Lunt, they didn't ask for any proof / date of purchase, are you the original purchaser tosh you get from some manufacturers.

Dave

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