Lunt LS35THADX DELUXE Solar Telescope

I ordered this scope back in January and it finally arrived this last Wednesday, April 30th, 2014. A three month wait.  I just noticed that Lunt is also selling a 50mm solar scope that is coming out in June of 2014 and if I had known that and the wait, I think I would have waited to get that for the larger aperture. Outside of being billed and the wait time for the scope, I have not complaints.

The scope is small as you can see in these pictures. I have it mounted on my Explore Scientific Twilight mount.

I've used the scope in the backyard and once in the front yard for a total of three times. I really like the ease of alignment that the Tele-Vue Sol Searcher provides in terms of being to align the Sun to the eyepiece quickly. It took me a few minutes to figure how to put the rings on so that the dovetail would work on the mount.  The mount works great with this scope.  The build on the LS35 is solid, built to last and though small, it is fine with my Delos and Pentax XW eyepieces.  I start by using the 20mm Pentax XW as the finder, and I did find that I have had to adjust my eye to the field stop to get the Sun to pop. Once that adjustment was made the Sun showed beautifully in a red to reddish orange color.  There were several prominences that were vivid, wrapping up and curling around and two groups of sun spots that were visible. I like how I can observe for a while and then do something, come back in an hour and align and observe any changes. I need to pick up solar sketching so I need to figure out what I need to do that. Probably a template to use and then I have the materials I need. I'll see what Erika Rix has to say on it as she is a well known solar sketcher.

So there we go. I can now observe both day and night.  It is addicting I will say that! I am glad I have the 35mm and it will serve nicely and was $200 to $250 cheaper than the 50mm.  Do expect a wait though when your order and Lunt states that on their website.

The Night of the Refraction Part I

On April 19th, I had the opportunity to take my refractor out for a quick night session out in the West Desert of Utah, at Pit n Pole here in Utah.  The night was a decent night, it was clear which was a good start since it is has been stormy so much for the last 2 years at new moon.  I didn't take the dob as I wanted a refractor only experience.  I have committed to chasing down the Messier's again using the ES 102mm AR refractor. It's been a good challenge.  A dark site helps by bringing out more of a contrast.  Here is what I got done that evening.

1. Going from top left and then around clockwise:  M84, M86, M88, M91, M90, M89, M98, M87.  11:05pm MDT or 05:05 UT; 4/19/2014; Antoniadi III; ES AR102mm refractor; 10mm, 20mm Pentax XW, 27mm Panoptic; Constellation: Virgo.  Galaxies showed mainly as smudges with bright inner cores or inner core regions.  Some structure was visible in the spirals.

2. Messier 95 (left) and Messier 96 (right) April 19th, 2014; 10:40pm MDT or 04:40 UT; Antoniadi III; Pit n Pole Utah; ES 102mm AR Refractor; 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW, Constellation: Leo;  M95 showed a hint of an arm on the left with a bright inner core and stellar nucleus.  M96 showed an elliptical galaxy with a bright inner core region.

3. Messier 65, 66 and NGC 3628, Leo Triplet; 4/19/2014; 10:10pm MDT/0410 UT; Pit n Pole, UT; Antoniadi III; ES 102mm AR; 7mm &  10mm Penax XW;  Nice triplet in the 10mm XW. The 7mm shows more details though with averted vision with a hint of arms on M66, M65 shows evident of 1 arm.  I could detect NGC 3628 and it is in the sketch but very faint.

4 . Messier 51 The Whirlpool Galaxy in Ursa Major; 4/19/2014; 09:50pm MDT/0350 UT; Antoniadi III; Pit n Pole UT; ES AR 102mm with 7mm Pentax XW;  The two spiral arms were easily detected and then held in the field.  NGC 5195 easily seen with a bright inner core.  Some mottling also evident in M51.

5. Messier 104 The Sombero Galaxy; Elliptical Galaxy in Virgo with dust lane; 4/19/2014; 11:40pm MDT/0555 UT; Pit n Pole UT; Antoniadi III; ES AR102mm Refractor; 7mm Pentax XW;  Small bright galaxy with dust lane observed running through the middle. Stellar core region dissected by the dust lane.

I then went out this last Wednesday for a few hours with my friend Mat.  I didn't sketch that night though I did pick up another 12 Messier and then these camera shots. Mat had his 8 inch looking for a deep southerly glob to finish a list. I took only the refractor (don't worry, I am ready to go back to using my dob!).  I do like my 4 inch refractor through! Here they are set up at the Pit.

Above is a bad moon shot taken with my iPhone 5s with the craters evident. I need to work on that but I think it is cool Eyepiece was the 12mm TeleVue Delos.

I wanted to go out tonight but on Thursday my stomach started acting up and today I realized I had gotten gluten somewhere. That kept me home on a beautiful night when I had a whole bunch of galaxies to go hunting and sketching but I had to be by the bathroom and as a Celiac, when I get gluten, besides the bathroom issue, I get really fatigue and thus took a nap. Now I am starting to come out of it, still tired and after this heading back to sleep but I missed a beautiful night tonight and that makes me frustrated. I hope the end of May at new moon has much better weather and the opportunity for a couple of good days to get caught up on my spring objects.  We saw the constellation Hercules rising in the east early and thus summer isn't far off either. Orion is going to fade quickly now I fear. So good clear skies to you and enjoy the hobby!