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Binoviewing with a Quark


tombardier
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Hi,

I'm looking in to binoviewing with my Daystar Quark and Explore Scientific AR102 achromat.  At the moment, I view mainly with a TV 32mm plossl, and if the seeing's great, I might try my TV smooth-side 26mm plossl too.  I also own a TV 40mm plossl, but the field stop is much larger than the aperture through the Quark, so it doesn't make for pleasing viewing.  For the moment, I'm really looking to to get the view I do with my 32mm, as I'm pretty happy to just use that for a whole session most of the time!  Would it be the case that my 32mm eyepiece would still largely have the same magnification, and therefore probably still be my mainstay eyepiece?  Can anyone clue me in on some of the things that I may like to consider in making any purchase?  I gather that self-centering eyepiece holders are a boon, for instance.   I spend quite a bit of time staring at the moon too, using my old blue-tubed Skywatcher 254mm f/4.7 newtonian, so I quite like the idea of bino-viewing it, but I think solar observation is where it's supposed to really bring things to life, and so my other question is whether I should consider some of the cheaper options, if I decided to discard lunar viewing as a factor, and just stick to monochromatic viewing in H-alpha, on the basis that I wouldn't need nicely colour corrected optics?

Thanks for any advice!

 

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I use a binoviewer exclusively on my 150mm Ha solar telescope. I have to use a 2x Barlow, lens only, screwed to the front of the binoviewer to reach focus,  this results in a minimum magnification of 150x with 40mm Plossls which I find ideal for high resolution views.     🙂 

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Y’see there’s a disconnect here (as I believe one can say these days) between ‘whether I should consider some of the cheaper options’ and ‘my 150mm Ha solar telescope’. 🤔 (All due respect to both and, especially, Peter. 🙂)

First, welcome to SGL Tom(?), I hope you have lots of fun with the forum.

Second, binoviewing will never be a bad thing. ‘Reaching focus’ is almost the key to everything solar in my experience and sometimes it’s a hairbreadth that makes all the difference. The combination of scope, binos, eyepieces and all the rest of the stuff that we mess around with makes it nigh impossible to say ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. And, frustrating as it may be, that’s all part of the fun(!?). More experienced members will be able to give you better guidance, I’m sure, but I have a choice of Barlow nosepieces depending on which scope I’m using - for white light or Ha - and still faff around trying this and that on different sessions!

My best advice is just enjoy. You won’t go far wrong with two eyes on the goal … 😎

 

p.s. I have used a Quark and I think it’s a wonderful piece of kit.

Edited by Floater
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Thank you both, for getting back to me, and for the welcome, @Floater.  I didn't receive any notifcations, but as you noticed, I've only just joined, so I'm sure I'll sort that out!

@Peter Drew It looks like my 32mm plossl gives me 89x magnification, and that seems to be the sweet spot for me.  The 26mm plossl gives me 110x, and 80% of the time, it just degrades the image through equipment.  It's only with really good seeing that it'll give me fantastic views.  I've tried my 40mm and even a 55mm plossl (the most useless eyepiece I own), and the field of view through the Quark itself is just too narrow.  Not as bad as the Coronado PST I had before though.

I should probably expand a bit on my slight reticence to shell out huge amounts on a quality bino viewer.  It's not out of the question that I do shell out (well, maybe not _huge_ amounts), but I've read that some people just don't get on that well with binoviewing, and I happen to have a lazy eye which might make it troublesome.  My presciption isn't wild, it's +1.25 on my left eye, and +2.5 on the right.  The optician says that I'm probably more like +4.5 on the right, but he wouldn't prescribe that for another 10 years or so (when I get past half a century!). 

I thought about buying a really really cheap binoviewer just to try it out, but I decided I don't want to go so cheap that I end up not liking it because the equipment is rubbish, not because my eyes are rubbish, and not being able to tell which of the two it is!

My lazy eye isn't so bad that I haven't used it a lot for looking down an air rifle scope, with both eyes open, so I'm quite hopeful that binoviewing will be everything it's cracked up to be.  I can see ok with the bad eye, but my brain prefers prioritising the signal from the good one, even if that signal is just of the darkness behind my eyelid

I'll keep on deliberating.  Maybe something will come along that seems like it was destined to injure my bank balance!

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To be clear, Tom, you are right: some people just don’t get on with binoviewers. One highly respected and venerable SGL member has tried more than once to live with them and avers that he just can’t. (No names no pack drill, etc.)

Not sure just how cheap you contemplated but my Williams Optics binos are not at the top end and not at the bottom, either. You’ll know the phrase, I’m sure - you need to just suck it and see …

Have a look around on the used market?

Most importantly, have fun on the learning curve. 🙂

 

 

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Thanks again!  I've been looking at the William Optics ones, and I think there are two things I'm not 100% happy with.  Firstly, I think the clear aperture is rather small, and I'm not sure if that's a problem. I suspect it's ok, because the CA is small in the Daystar too! Also not sure if it's a problem on the Moon, but I think using a Barlow is going to help there anyway?. I gather they don't have self centering diopters? Do you feel the eyepiece positioning is consistent? I'm very likely to just stick a pair of 32mm plossls in and be done with it, but I might need some more flexibility if I'm going to swap between the sun and the moon. Maybe I can simply use various barlows instead of swapping eyepieces!

Are you just generally happy with them?

Cheers!

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There seems to be very little difference between the performance of high and low end binoviewers for solar observation.  I have Revelation, William Optics and Denkmeiers and each gives a good result.  The most important aspect of binoviewers is collimation.    🙂

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I used a binoviewer with my Quark while I had it. I had no issues with backfocus with the Takahashi FC-76DC due to the Quark’s built in 4.2x Barlow - assuming you don’t have the combo model. I did replace the eyepiece holder with a T2 fitting so I could use a bayonet fitting though as that is what my binoviewers use. Saves some backfocus as well. At the time I had a pair of Zeiss binoviewers with a clear aperture of 25mm. I believe the clear aperture of the Quark is 21mm so I stuck with 25mm Televue plossls as these have a field stop of  21.2mm. Ideally I would have used longer focal length eyepieces to drop magnification and increase image brightness to offset the drop in brightness from using the binoviewer. Working with the 25mms at 95x was OK for many sessions but the exit pupil was a bit low for me. I think that is one of the challenges of visual work with a Quark. I now use Baader Maxbright II binoviewers which I find to be good. These are coupled with an F7 100mm Lunt scope but need a 1.5x glasspath corrector to accommodate the required backfocus. I can still get down to 42x with the 25mm plossls though but tend to mainly use 20mm or 15mm eyepieces which give about a 1.4 or 1.8 mm exit pupil which I like - compared to 0.8mm with the Quark.  
 

88F893FC-ED82-430A-AB84-D65AD7EC4DA8.jpeg

Edited by astro_al
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Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.  It's all adding to my deliberation! I think I'm almost certain to buy a binoviewer soon.  I'll keep on mulling over the pros and cons of the various different ones for a bit though, I think!

Also, I thought I'd post some of my solar images, just for the hell of it, seeing as this is my first post!  Mostly acquired with my ES AR102 achromat and an ASI1600MM, but the close-up was using my ASI290MM.

sun-spots-edge-disc-5.thumb.png.aaa41b0195ac8d0f917cd591499e762e.png

sun-test-1600-4.thumb.png.a0f8ba76a4850482ce485d9a1d226790.pngsun-sphincter-flame-3.thumb.png.61a3f22c2f2052d7dfdb34507b2d3896.pngsun-spots-edge-disc-6.thumb.png.10c3afd23cb76bd91d07365c104db9e7.png

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Just thought I'd follow up.  I've been doing a lot of research (also known as procrastinating and agonising!).  I had a long conversation with Russ Lederman of Denkmeier yesterday, and I've ordered a Binotron 27, with the A45 OCS (for my newtonian), 32mm 3d-eyepieces (with a second 'neutral' eyepiece for my normal binoviewing pair), and a filter drawer.  How'd that happen?!  Well, I'm pretty happy about having made a decision. I really like the idea of the 0.66x focal reduction available with the power switch device.  Russ has an 80mm f/7 doublet like me, and says he gets full disc views using this with a Quark, which I'm quite excited by!  I usually use my AR102, and the 80mm gets used for narrowband imaging, but I might swap them around and see how I like the full disc 'thing'.  I'm really looking forward to trying some lunar viewing in my 254mm f/4.7 newtonian too!

Cheers for all your advice!

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Just to add to this.  I'd originally contacted Russ because I wanted to buy a filter drawer and A45 OCS to pair with a second-hand Binotron from ENS.  Well, in the end, it ended up being significantly cheaper to just buy everything brand new!

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Well you’ve bought wisely - never used a Denkmeier myself but they have an excellent reputation and are among the most flexible of binoviewers. It may take some time to get accustomed to them and find your preferred set up but you should get an idea pretty quickly of how much two-eyed viewing brings to solar. You see more, get more of a 3D impression, and the comfort factor is dramatically improved. It just becomes very natural, and allows you to concentrate on the Sun, not the equipment. 

 

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Cheers! I've been out there over lunch time today, and the seeing was really wonderful.  I seemed to have great perception of depth in the contrasty areas. I've only been observing the sun since August, and what I can see just seems to keep on getting better and better.  I can't wait to see what it's going to be like with two eyes!

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Enjoy - BV'ing the sun & the moon is awesome.  I use Zeiss BVs and for the sun use 2.6x GPC as I'm using a TV76 - 18.2mm Delites effectively become 7mm giving 68x and still allowing full disk if I want to, although normally I'll centre a particular region I want to focus on.

Btw if you don't want your TV55 pls let me know - I may well be going down that route for NV!

Cheers

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5 hours ago, tombardier said:

Cheers! I've been out there over lunch time today, and the seeing was really wonderful.  I seemed to have great perception of depth in the contrasty areas. I've only been observing the sun since August, and what I can see just seems to keep on getting better and better.  I can't wait to see what it's going to be like with two eyes!

What’s great about your set up is, first, you’ve got a decent Quark. Hallelujah. But with 4” of aperture and binoviewers you’ll be able to enjoy fine detail even when the Sun is relatively inert. Even during solar minimum, there’s always something going on. So detail in small proms, filaments and active regions will be easier to resolve when the seeing allows.
The one thing Quarks and similar filters don’t pick up as well as double stacked air spaced etalons are the spicules around the edge due to leakage from the photosphere, but who cares when you’ve got the rest of the Sun to look at.

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31 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

The one thing Quarks and similar filters don’t pick up as well as double stacked air spaced etalons are the spicules around the edge due to leakage from the photosphere, but who cares when you’ve got the rest of the Sun to look at.

I'd have to look through nice dedicated Ha scope to know what it is you're referring to!  I'd better not though.  If I look through a 100mm double-stacked Lunt, I'll probably end up broke, on the streets, and clutching my precious solar scope like Gollum!

I used to have a PST, but it was a bit like looking through a straw.  Not an immersive or relaxing view at all, with that tiny blocking filter.  All my extra aperture with the Quark now means they're just not comparable systems!  I do see the spicule "fur" around the edge.  I'm amazed by how much detail I see all across the surface really.  Certainly less defined detail available at the limb, and I guess that's because there's more photosphere at that kind of angle?

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20 hours ago, vineyard said:

Btw if you don't want your TV55 pls let me know - I may well be going down that route for NV!

I'll think about this ;)  Once I get the binoviewer, I might be overdue a bit of a re-shuffle of my eyepiece collection anyway; not that I've got loads, but of those I do, I only use a handful!

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