This Coronado SolarMax II 60 DS Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope by Meade is “double-stacked,” with two filter etalons for increased contrast of solar disk features. One etalon is internal and uses Coronado’s unique RichView tuning system. The removable second etalon threads onto the front of the scope and is separately tunable using the well-known Coronado T-Max tuning system.
Double-stacking the etalons improves the scope’s already outstanding resolution and contrast by cutting the single etalon model’s narrow <0.7 Ångstrom passband to a very narrow <0.5 Ångstrom. Narrowing the passband improves the contrast and visibility of subtle disk features, although it slightly reduces the brightness of prominences. For maximum prominence brightness, the front etalon of the SolarMax II 60 DS can be removed to let the scope function as a single etalon solar scope providing a <0.7 Ångstrom passband. The 10mm clear aperture blocking filter is designed for binoviewing and imaging with medium (APS-C) chip size DSLR and CCD cameras in both single and double etalon configurations.
The scope itself is a brass and black 60mm aperture 400mm focal length f/6.6 refractor that is custom-built to optimize the performance of Coronado’s unique RichView tuning solar filter.
The Coronado SolarMax II 60 DS is designed to do much more for you than merely show you sunspots, as an ordinary white light solar filter can. The SolarMax II 60 DS will reveal 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. And it will let you image all of it in exquisite detail.
The three-piece solar filter consists of a sub-aperture etalon in the body of the scope with a lever-type RichView tuning assembly, a second etalon at the front of the scope with a rotary dial T-Max tuner, and a 10mm clear aperture blocking filter in the scope’s 1.25” star diagonal. The dual-etalon “double-stacked” solar filter has a <0.5 Ångstrom passband, centered on the 6562.8 Ångstrom H-Alpha line. The very narrow passband width gives you higher contrast on disk details than a single etalon system, with only a slight reduction in prominence brightness. The filters are thermally stable, so there is no drifting off the H-Alpha line as the filters heat up during extended 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 economical basic 5mm blocking filter versions of this scope (single-etalon #SMT60-5 and dual-etalon #SMT60DS-5) that are designed primarily for single eyepiece viewing. There are also 15mm blocking filter versions (single-etalon #SMT60-15 and dual-etalon #SMT60DS-15) that are well-suited for binoviewer use and for imagers who need a wider illuminated field for use with larger chip DSLR and CCD cameras.
The new and revolutionary lever-type RichView tuning assembly of the Meade Coronado SolarMax II DS internal etalon represents a breakthrough in solar observing. This patented system allows very subtle and 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. The removable external solar filter etalon has a separate rotary dial T-Max passband tuner installed that lets you mechanically tilt the external filter’s passband off the H-Alpha line fine-tune the scope’s overall performance.
The joint action of the individually tuned etalons lets you observe Doppler-shifted solar activity with exceptional finesse and subtlety. This lets you 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 DS. Now you can tune for the highest contrast views of active regions, flares, filaments, and other surface detail at a finger’s touch, then quickly and easily re-tune for prominences on the solar limb.
The SolarMax II 60 DS has a manual 1.25” drawtube that extends for a coarse initial focus. 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 medium chip size 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 DS, 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 DS. 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 DS 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 DS clamshell scope mounting ring as can be seen in the image above.