This Coronado SolarMax II solar telescope by Meade consists of a 16.75” long brass and black 400mm focal length 60mm aperture f/6.6 refractor that has been custom-built to optimize the performance of Coronado’s unique RichView tuning Hydrogen-Alpha solar filter for visual observing, binoviewing, and imaging.
The Coronado SolarMax II 60 is designed to do much more than merely show you sunspots, as an ordinary white light solar filter can. The SolarMax II 60 will reveal in gorgeous detail the ever-changing tapestry of prominences leaping off the edges of the solar disk, the explosive upheavals of flares on the face of the Sun, and the subtle mottling of granulation across the face of this nearest of stars.
The two-piece solar filter consists of a tunable sub-aperture etalon in the body of the scope and a 10mm clear aperture blocking filter in the scope’s 1.25” star diagonal. The solar filter has a <0.7 Ångstrom passband, centered on the 6562.8 Ångstrom H-Alpha line. The sub-Ångstrom passband width gives you an ideal balance of prominence and surface detail alike. The filter is thermally stable, so there is no drifting off the H-Alpha line as the filter heats up during use.
The 10mm clear aperture of the blocking filter built into the star diagonal is designed to provide full disk views of the Sun for visual use and imaging. It is better suited for binoviewing than the more economical 5mm blocking filter version of this scope (#SMT60-5) that is designed primarily for single eyepiece viewing. There is also a 15mm blocking filter version (#SMT60-15) that is well suited for binoviewer use and for imagers who need a wider illuminated field for use with larger chip CCD cameras needing a long back focus.
The new and revolutionary RichView tuning assembly in the Meade Coronado SolarMax II represents a breakthrough in solar observing. This patented system allows very precise direct tuning of the primary filter etalon by a lever in the side of the scope body to shift the filter’s passband off the H-Alpha line. This lets you observe Doppler-shifted solar activity to determine whether Doppler-shifted features, such as flares, are moving towards you or away from you as they leap off the surface of the Sun. No other commercially available H-Alpha telescope can provide the tuning range and accuracy of the SolarMax II. Now you can tune for the highest contrast views of active regions, flares, filaments, and other surface detail, or quickly and easily re-tune for prominences on the solar limb.
The SolarMax II 60 has a manual 1.25” drawtube that extends for rough focusing. A helical focusing ring around the drawtube then provides the appropriate final fine focusing. This method provides enough back focus to allow both visual observing and imaging with most medium-chip (APS-C) DSLR and CCD cameras.
A Coronado Cemax 25mm 1.25” eyepiece is standard equipment, providing a magnification of 16x and a 3.25° field. You can use most 1.25” eyepieces with the Coronado SolarMax II 60, as well. Any good quality 50° field Plössls will work well, as their contrast is generally good and their fields are wide and flat. For optimum solar detail, however, consider adding a 12mm (33x) or 18mm (22x) Coronado Cemax eyepiece to your system. Like the supplied 25mm, these Coronado eyepieces use an anti-reflection multicoatings formula that has been optimized for the highest possible contrast during solar viewing of subtle prominence and surface detail. For still higher power views, consider adding the Coronado Cemax 2x Barlow to your system. Like the Cemax eyepieces, its performance and coatings are optimized for solar observing.
A hard carrying case is standard equipment to transport and store the 60mm Coronado SolarMax II. A 1/4"-20 thread tripod adapter socket is built into the scope’s clamshell mounting ring to allow using the 6 lb. SolarMax II telescope on a suitably-sturdy photo tripod, as well as on most astronomical mounts by adding an optional dovetail mounting plate. The supplied Coronado Sol Ranger Sun Finder makes it easy to center the Sun’s image in the eyepiece. The Sol Ranger connects to the supplied SolarMax II clamshell scope mounting ring as can be seen in the image above.
A “double stack” version of the SolarMax II 60 is also available that adds a second tunable SolarMax II filter to the front of the scope. Double-stacking the filters improves the scope’s already outstanding resolution and contrast by cutting the passband from <0.7 Ångstrom to a very narrow <0.5 Ångstrom. This improves the contrast and visibility of subtle disk features, although it slightly reduces the brightness of prominences.