Daystar Solar Scout 60mm Double Stack Solar Telescope

Daystar Solar Scout 60mm Double Stack Solar Telescope

A Review by John an Adviser at 365 Astronomy

Recently 365 Astronomy started selling the new Daystar Solar Scout 60mm Double-Stack H-Alpha Solar Telescope, this is a short review after testing the four units that we had in stock.

A bit of background first – I have been a Solar observer for some 50 years, but only in narrow band for the past 10 years.

In narrow band, h-alpha, I started with a Coronado PST in single stack mode, adding a double stack module to take its band width down from 1 angstrom to 0.5. I was fortunate in that the Sun was very active for a number of the years that I used this telescope. I then moved on to a Lunt 60mm single stack with pressure tuning and now have a Lunt 80mm double stack. Along the way I have also acquired and used several Daystar Quarks, namely the Chromosphere, Sodium and Calcium units. With a considerable experience of Quarks I was therefore interested to test these new telescopes.

With the Solar Scout double stack, Daystar have mated together a fairly basic 60mm achromatic telescope with a Quark. I have been told that Daystar have used surplus components from the manufacture of the Quark to reduce costs and that the Quark element of the scope has a smaller blocking filter among other things.

As a comparison, a h-alpha Daystar Quark sells for around £1100, the Solar Scout sells for around £750.

First impressions are good, the telescope is light in weight and easily managed by my Skywatcher Solar Quest mount. The helical focuser is smooth and dosn’t feel either stiff or loose.

The telescope, like all Quarks needs to be powered to heat the Etalon and bring it on to the h-alpha band, this takes around 10 minutes. The downside of this is that you cannot view or image until this happens, but that is the same for all the Quarks. The Quark part is also fixed to the telescope and so cannot be used on other telescopes.

The first two units I tested about a week before the second pair and there was almost no detail on the Sun other than a small filament which was just seen. I was using the recommended 32mm focal length eyepiece and could view the full Solar disc, therefore in the absence of  activity all I could do was confirm that both units were “On band”.

I was able to use a 2” diagonal and eyepiece with one of these telescopes and achieve focus, I was unable to use the 2” diagonal for the second telescope and had to use a 1.25” diagonal and eyepiece. This may apply to all units, but at the moment I have no more information.

Due to cloud I was unable to image with either telescope.

A week later I repeated the exercise with the other two telescopes.

This time I managed to image using my ZWO ASI174MM camera and Sharpcap software.

I also used a tilting unit with the camera as I have found imaging with the Quark can lead to “Newton’s Rings”.

This time there was activity on the disc in the form of active region 2737.

This is where I found that the helical focuser on both telescopes did not “Pop” into focus and I could move the focus quite a bit without seeming to make much difference. For those used to rack and pinion/Crayford focusers where detail can seem to pop into focus this may take some getting used to.

I did my usual 30 second imaging run on both telescopes and stacked in Autostakkert and sharpened in Registax 6, stacking 10% of the 900 or so frames taken.

The results from both are quite acceptable, although I wish that I had used an additional Barlow or Powermate to zoom into the active region, something I do with my Lunt telescope.

I use a Williams Optics 66mm telescope with my Chromosphere Quark and find that it gives a much higher image scale where I do not need to zoom in further. Both the Solar Scout and my Quark have the same 4.3x built in Barlow lens.

In conclusion I think that this is an excellent telescope that is unbeatable at this price point.

When you consider that it is at a similar price as the Coronado PST which has a band width of 1 angstrom which is excellent for prominences with only limited use for surface detail.

Here you have a telescope capable of around 0.5 or lower band width so surface detail will be easily seen. To achieve similar you could use a Chromosphere Quark with something like my Williams Optics 66mm, but that would cost at least double the price of the Solar Scout.

I plan to run tests against it with that setup in the future and will report my findings.

First telescope image above.

Cropped image from the above image at 383×312 pixels then increased the resolution of the image and applied some sharpening… shows that even with such a small and cheap solar telescope you can get quite decent level of detail…

Second telescope image above.
Note that these where taken around 20 minutes apart and AR2737 has evolved.However seeing worsened, hence we got some strange features visible that are most likely result of the combination of bad seeing and image processing…

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Posted on April 4th, 2019.