Visiting Lunt Solar Systems in Tucson

Visiting Lunt Solar Systems in Tucson

Last fall, we purchased a Lunt 152THa solar telescope. This 152 mm (6″) f/6 hydrogen-alpha (h-alpha) telescope has supplied us with fabulous views of our nearest star, the Sun. It’s an impressive scope, and by removing the h-alpha pressure tuners, it is one that we can use for both day and night viewing.

Brenda looks through the new Lunt 152THa scope during the 2018 Dakota Nights Star Party held at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Missy, aka AstroDog, assists. Notice the red h-alpha pressure tuner is in place for day viewing.
The h-alpha pressure tuner has been taken out and replaced with a Tele Vue Extension Tube and eyepiece. Our Lunt 152THa all ready for a nighttime show.

We noticed that one of the small screws near the front of the scope had come loose and was trapped between the retractable dew shield and body of the scope, so while we were in Tucson we made an appointment at Lunt to see if they could rescue the screw and put it back into place. Little did we know that in addition to fixing the scope, we would get a tour of their fabulous facility and see first-hand how the telescopes are created.

Our contact, Faye Roman, Head of Customer Support, has worked with us from the very beginning. She has answered countless questions from John, and it was a pleasure to finally meet her.

Ben, the man who fields all calls and emails into Lunt, John, Brenda and Faye.

We were introduced to Brian Stephens, Lunt’s Lead Design Engineer, who quickly and easily rescued the screw and put it back where it belonged. Brian spent most of the afternoon talking with us and giving us a tour of the business.

Brian, John and Brenda.

I was struck by the fact that this is not a huge building where the award-winning telescopes are made. They have approximately eight dedicated employees, all working together to design, fabricate, assemble, and test solar telescopes and solar filters for amateur and professional astronomers.

Brandon Keith, Senior Optician, showed us how the raw blank glass lenses are ground, edged, beveled, polished and prepared for final installation into the etalon and filter systems within a scope. Brian let us view finished lenses and showed us how to properly tune our telescope for maximum viewing.

We use a NASA approved talk on “Our Magnetic Sun” which walks people through various aspects and features of the Sun. When done, people can look through our scopes to see these features at the eyepiece.

GeoAstroRV’s setup for our daytime presentation on “Our Magnetic Sun”. The Lunt 152THa stands ready for viewing.

We recently added a DSII/LS152T internal double-stacking module, which lowers the bandpass of the system from 0.7 angstroms to <0.5 angstroms. This allows us to see significantly more surface features on the Sun’s chromosphere.

We love our Lunt 152mm scope. The views that we are able to achieve are ones that make people “ooh” and “aah”. Fine, thin prominences, solar flares, snake-like filaments winding across the Sun’s face, super granule boundries, chromospheric network, and spirals of gas emitted from sunspots are all within our eyepiece, easily shared with anyone who wants to look at the awesome power of our Sun. We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Lunt Solar Systems and for the time spent with Faye and Brian.

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