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Refractor for solar *and* general use?


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Hi All,

I have Celestron 8SE which I'm very happy with for general night viewing. I don't plan any astrophotography with it (maybe another attempt at planetary once Jupiter or Saturn are higher in the sky again).

Given that there is not going to be any nighttime viewing for a good few months now, I've been toying with the idea of solar, using something like the Daystar Quark.

Of course, that won't work with the 8SE, so I will need a refractor. I can probably justify the cost to myself if the scope will have multiple uses. 

Are there any scopes that might meet all the following? I appreciate these might be contradictory but not sure!

  • Good with the Daystar Quark eyepiece for solar
  • Good for nighttime viewing, with a wider field of view than my 8SE - e.g. fit most/all of Andromeda galaxy in FOV.
  • Good/reasonable for astrophotography if I get into it.
  • Ideally fairly small

Any thoughts appreciated!

Cheers

Brutha

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A lot depends on budget of course, but a 100mm f7 ish ED doublet apo would tick a lot of these boxes. The negatives are that it wouldn’t give you full disk views of the sun with a Quark, and is perhaps a little larger than you may be looking for.

FLO have a nice Starfield on offer currently which may be worth considering.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/offers/offer_starfield-102mm-f7-ed-doublet-refractor_270627.html
 

The other alternatives might be something in the 70 to 80mm range, like a 72ED or 80ED. I think for full disk views you need around 450mm focal length or less, but it depends how bothered you are about this. I’m sure others will have suggestions too. Bear in mind also that you could use a combo Quark in your C8 with a sub aperture ERF fitted.

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I remember looking through an etalon type solar scope once and being shocked at how difficult it is to make out the image visually.  It's in a super dark and far-red color probably due to passing the H-alpha line.  I couldn't make out much detail and was completely underwhelmed.  Maybe my retina is just really insensitive to deep red?

I'm wondering if these line filters like H-Alpha and Calcium H/K are more appropriate for photography than visual.  Perhaps the Hydrogen B, Sodium D and Helium D3 lines might work visually, but seem more rarely sold.

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Final choice will depend on budget ofc, but I'd highly recommend a TV76 - they've been around long enough that you should be able to get a well looked after used one.  A ridiculously versatile scope.

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Thanks all, some good info there!

One thing I am wondering about is whether the fact I am quite a long way north is a problem. For me, the sun at noon will vary between about 10 degrees altitude and 55 degrees, with it getting above 40 only for about 5 months of the year - is that an issue for seeing do you think?

I saw the 3d printed Sol'ex DIY spectroheliograph on another post, and was quite tempted by the idea of changing direction and giving that a go, as it has the potential to do some really interesting imaging.... but then I found the kit stuff you need is 485 euros and it's all out of stock at the moment anyway (if they'll even ship to UK!).

Cheers

Brutha

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