Coronado PST Personal Solar Telescope, 1.6" F/10 refractor with built-in <1.0 Ångstrom H-alpha filter


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The Coronado Personal Solar Telescope is a complete solar observing system - telescope, eyepiece, and sub-Ångstrom H-alpha solar filter for viewing flares and prominences - all for less than the cost of a single premium conventional eyepiece . . .
Our Product #: PST
Coronado Product #: PST
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Product Description

The Coronado Personal Solar Telescope is an economical scope for serious solar viewing. The PST shows you much more of the living Sun than an ordinary glass or Mylar white light solar filter that shows only sunspots. For no more than the cost of a single premium eyepiece, the PST reveals the ever-changing tapestry of prominences leaping off the edges of the solar disk and the explosive upheavals of flares and filaments on the face of the Sun. All of this is visible in addition to sunspots in exquisite detail.

The PST consists of a 400mm focal length 40mm aperture f/10 refractor. It has an integrated hydrogen alpha solar filter using a full aperture energy rejection filter and a 20mm clear aperture internal etalon. The scope's achromatic doublet objective lens is fully multicoated. The filter has a <1.0 Ångstrom passband, centered on the 6562.8 Ångstrom H-Alpha line. The passband width gives balanced views of prominences 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 5mm clear aperture of the blocking filter portion of H-alpha system (built into the diagonal housing) is ideally matched to the focal length of the telescope to give full disk views of the Sun.

The scope uses proprietary internal optical focusing. The scope and focuser are a completely integrated unit, with no external moving or extending parts (focuser drawtubes, etc.) to gather dust or grit during windy daytime observing sessions. A rotary collar on the optical tube allows you to fine-tune the filter etalon for the sharpest and highest contrast image. Do not confuse this collar with the focusing knob on the rear of the right angle filter housing. The fine-tuning collar has a limited range of motion and can be damaged if you try to force it to turn in a vain attempt to focus the scope. A thread-in metal lens cover protects the objective lens of the PST.

You can use most 1.25" eyepieces with the PST. To get you started observing, a 20mm (20x) 1.25" Kellner comes as standard equipment. While optically acceptable, most observers eventually will want to replace this economy eyepiece with one of better quality. Either a 12mm (33x), 18mm (22x), or 25mm (16x) Coronado CEMAX eyepiece would be an excellent choice for observing, as they are optimized for high contrast solar viewing of subtle prominence and surface detail.

The PST includes an internal modified Coronado Sol Ranger Sun Finder to make it easy to center the Sun's image in the eyepiece. An optional hard case is available to carry and store the PST. The case uses the snug-fitting die-cut foam that the PST ships in to hold the PST securely. A 1/4"-20 thread tripod adapter socket is built into the base of the filter/diagonal housing of the PST. This allows mounting the 15" long x 2.1" wide x 3" high telescope on a photo tripod. You can also install the lightweight (3 lb) scope onto a piggyback camera adapter that's mounted on a larger scope for motorized tracking.

Each PST has a "sweet spot" in its field of view where subtle prominences pop into clearer view and the larger prominences show more contrast and detail. Experimentally moving the telescope around so that the Sun's limb and prominences move to different parts of the field will soon reveal where your particular scope's "sweet spot" is located.

Tech Details

Aperture 1.6"
Binary and Star Cluster Observation No
Focal Length 400mm
Focal Ratio f/10
Galaxy and Nebula Observation No
Lunar Observation No
Weight 3 lbs.
Planetary Observation No
Resolution 2.9 arc seconds
Telescope Type Refractor
Warranty 5 years


Review by:
Three generations enjoyed looking through my little PST during the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. H-Alpha can be very expensive and this was a great way to test the waters. Yes, its only 40mm of aperture and yes, there are other scopes that can blow it out of the water, but this turned out to be a great H-alpha introduction without breaking the bank. (Posted on 10/31/2019)
Review by:
I had tremendous enjoyment using my 8" Meade and my Celestron binoculars with solar filters during the last Total Solar Eclipse (2017). I bought the PST to practice viewing and imaging in Hydrogen-Alpha for the next total eclipse in 2024. My budget hasn't allowed for a larger aperture but the views are still impressive. Our sun is an amazing powerhouse and the PST gives a unique view of what we daily take for granted. (Posted on 9/12/2019)
Review by:
This is one of those scopes that help build out a holistic astronomical experience - either for yourself or family, friends or outreach. I like operating it side by side with a white light filter/scope so you can compare the two views. The scope is nice and stout, and coupled with any of my TeleView Plossl eyepieces, provides an intriguing view of the sun, spicules, flares, and other surface features. I use a small camera case to carry all my solar gear including the PST safely. The etalon adjustment and focus adjustments take some time to get used to (not super obvious when using them) my etalon adjustment isn't super buttery smooth, which is the only thing that would be nice to improve on the scope. This is a great entry level Ha scope. (Posted on 9/9/2019)
Review by:
My most used piece of astronomy equipment. Extremely easy to use, great images. Pairs really well with the 6mm Orion expanse eyepiece. Unfortunately it puts the eyepiece at weird angles when mounted equatorially, clearly intended for altaz use. Built-in finder is clever and easy to use, but slightly off-center. (Posted on 7/24/2019)
Review by:
I purchased this scope for the Great American Eclipse and I wasn't disappointed. It doesn't have the strongest or best blocking filter but it gave me enough detail to get some excellent views and pictures from that day and other days. I think it's a great way to get into Ha Solar viewing without spending thousands of dollars! (Posted on 1/14/2019)
Review by:
The PST is the best beginner H-Alpha scope. This scope does not disappoint when it comes to the views it provides. Surface detail and prominence detail is good with this scope. I've used it for outreach over the last 3 years and have gotten plenty of ooooo's and awwww's when people look through the eyepiece. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking to get into H-alpha observing. (Posted on 1/14/2019)
Review by:
I got one of these to see the eclipse last year. It is pretty good. All the components are made of high quality. The sun image with one of these is FAR better and more interesting than the white-light filters. You can still see sunspots but also flares and such.

Give it a try and you will not be disappointed. (Posted on 1/2/2019)
Review by:
This was my first H-alpha telescope for solar. I had previously used a white light filter for solar observing and I this is a whole different experience. Viewing a solar prominence is easy despite the small aperture. I have mine setup on my Celestron Nexstar SLT mount in Alt-Az and it works great. You'll need a vixen dovetail bar. I have even installed my DSLR and taken images but you will have to use a 2x barlow and some weird configurations to get it to focus. Two drawbacks give it only 4 stars. Small Aperture and short back-focus. Other than that this is the best value and a great start for those looking to get into H-alpha solar viewing. Mine came with the case and I love that too. Great way to protect your investment when not in use. (Posted on 1/1/2019)
Review by:
This was my first solar scope, this little PST was a revolution in solar scopes when it came out, before it you had to be like Tony Stark to afford an H-Alpha scope but the PST broke that barrier. I remember first laying hands on this little scope thinking what's is this odd shaped thing?, i was a bit worried about where my money went until i pointed it at the sun while turning the tuner, a solar prominence snapped into view and i just about fell over while trying to call my wife with a lump in my throat!!. I have never had a first view through a scope that made my heart race, it was insane, looking at the surface of the sun??!! i didn't know what to make of it, i called every friend over to see and they were all floored. It's small, its built well, its easy to use, and it will let you see fireballs on the edge of the sun, enough said. (Posted on 12/18/2018)
Review by:
I have an original Coronado PST that is still going strong. Nice for grab and go solar. Great value. (Posted on 12/16/2018)
Review by:
Simple scope. Does what it sets out to do. Like other reviews have said, I would probably also upgrade the eyepiece. Pretty well built in general. (Posted on 12/12/2018)
Review by:
I got my PST from Astronomics for the total solar eclipse. I have used the scope before but it reminded me of what a bargain this is. You can do a lot with just the scope as is, accessories are always great but with this scope they are just icing on the cake. Flares, prominences, sunspots they will awe through this scope you as you look at the easiest star in the sky to find. Use a towel or a sheet as a cape to block the ambient light as you view and it is even better. Don't wait you deserve this scope. (Posted on 11/29/2018)
Review by:
I have used this scope for public outreach many times, and have always received raves from the viewers. The scope is very sturdy, hard to damage, and provides surprisingly good views of the sun. (Posted on 11/22/2018)
Review by:
The PST is the perfect solar scope for anyone on a budget. It provides awesome detailed views of the sun in H-alpha and with the optional Coronado Cemax eyepieces the viewing gets even better. This was the perfect scope for last year's solar eclipse and continues to be for full disc viewing. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
The PST is the perfect solar scope for anyone on a tight budget. Out of the box it permits awesome views of the sun in H-alpha. With the addition of the optional set of Coronado Cemax eyepieces the viewing gets even better. The PST was perfect for last year's solar eclipse. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
Review by:
Since last year's annular solar eclipse and Venus transit, I've been observing the Sun through white-light filters on my 127 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain, 70 mm refractor, and 11x56 binoculars, and with an inexpensive projecting solarscope. Watching sunspots develop and move across the face of the Sun is fun, but when Coronado put the PST on sale, I decided to step up to Hydrogen-alpha viewing. I am very happy with this telescope, and my neighbors have been impressed when I've set up on the sidewalk and offered them a look. I'm looking forward to using this telescope at upcoming solar astronomy public outreach events.

Right out of the box, the PST is a handsome instrument, with excellent fit and finish of all components. It's a very simple and easy-to-use telescope with an internal focuser controlled by a small knob, and a helical tuner for the etalon filter. The manual gives clear instructions for set-up and use. Basically you screw the PST into a mount with a 1.25"x20 bolt, point it at the Sun, focus, and tune.

I've mounted the PST on an old Celestron Alt-Az 4 mount with fine-motion controls, and this rig works fine. The PST is very light, so you don't need a heavy mount. It would probably work on a sturdy photo tripod, but the fine-motion controls on the Alt-Az 4 make tracking the Sun for extended observation much easier.

Aiming the telescope at the Sun is easy. Use the shadow of the telescope for rough alignment, then the PST's simple little solar finder puts a bright white dot in the middle of a small translucent window when the telescope is pointed at the Sun.

The included 20 mm Kellner eyepiece gives an adequate view, but higher quality, shorter focal length, and wider apparent field of view eyepieces offer much better views. Using an Explore Scientific 14mm 82-degree AFOV eyepiece provides 28x magnification and a 2.87-degree field of view. This seems to be the sweet spot among my eyepieces. The entire 0.5-degree Sun fits easily in the field, with room to drift across the field for over a minute before you need to track (if you use a tracking mount you might be able to push the magnification higher). The amount of detail seen in the prominences on the Sun's limb was truly impressive, you can see shimmering wisps and curtains of gas. Tuning the etalon to a slightly different wavelength highlights dark sunspots and filaments and brighter plages on the Sun's surface. There really is nothing like watching the Hydrogen gas in the Sun's atmosphere!

Coronado offers an expensive eyepiece set custom-made for solar viewing. I haven't tried these eyepieces, but I'm quite happy with the view through my Explore Scientific eyepieces. If you already have quality eyepieces I would suggest trying the scope with your existing eyepieces before deciding whether you need more eyepieces.

The $100 case Coronado offers with the PST seemed overpriced, so I didn't buy it. My telescope shipped in a compact double cardboard box with a durable high-density foam cut-out for the telescope, plus room for accessories. If you buy the case you take the foam out of the shipping box and put it in the case. I'm using the original boxes as my case, and the seem to work fine, even though a plain cardboard box might not look as impressive as the case.

But what is impressive is the view of the Sun through this little telescope. If you want to get into Hydrogen-alpha viewing on a budget, I would recommend the PST. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
Review by:
The only drawback for the PST is it relatively small aperture, but it is a surprisingly good value in H-alpha solar viewing. For those interested in breaking into solar astronomy at a reasonable cost there's really nothing to compare with it. (Posted on 8/4/2017)
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Supplied Accessories

  • Dust cover
  • Built-in solar finder
  • 20mm 1.25" Kellner eyepiece