Can we get some sunshine here?

The solar telescope I ordered months ago just arrived, which likely means the Sun will not show itself any time soon.  This is a Lunt LS60THa with pressure tuner and straight-through 12mm blocking filter.  Except for the “straight through” part (as opposed to the diagonal that is normally used for visual observing) this is a pretty common solar telescope, allowing you to safely view the Sun and see details of regions in the hydrogen-alpha band.  This is the same spectral line that I often use in photographing nebulae, but for the Sun a much narrower filter is required.  I use a 3 nanometer filter for nebulae, while this scope has a 0.07 nanometer (0.7 Angstrom) filter, which is the main reason that solar telescopes are so expensive.

The straight-through blocking filter is preferred for photography, but before placing the order I confirmed with Lunt that it could be used with a standard diagonal added for visual observing, as shown above.  Here it is with a high-speed camera attached:

I’m going to add a PerfectStar focus motor, of course, but it is otherwise ready to start photographing the Sun.  If the clouds would just go away…

But I’m also feeling particularly inspired to do some solar photography because at last night’s AI-SIG (astro-imaging special interest group) we had the great pleasure of being inspired by Bob Yoesle of MAD Observatory.  Bob is a dedicated and very experienced solar observer and imager, and gave us a great introduction to the basics of solar telescopes and processing solar images.  We had a record breaking crowd at the meeting and I’m sure that everyone thoroughly enjoyed Bob’s presentation, although it’s difficult to imagine that anyone else was as inspired as I was to begin working in this new (to me) area of astro-photography.  Maybe if I moved somewhere farther south…

Imagine – being able to create beautiful astro-photos without staying up all night!  Without having to load a ton of gear into a vehicle and drive for 4 hours to get to a dark sky site.  And photographing something that changes minute by minute instead of things that are pretty much the same for years and years.  Has anyone invented a cloud filter yet…?


About Greg Marshall

I am a retired electronics engineer and after a few months of enjoying my leisure I began to miss doing product development. My astronomy hobby always needed new solutions to unique problems, so I decided that whenever I came up with a good solution I would try to make it available to others.

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