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White Light Solar wedges

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#1 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 12:13 AM

Hello,

 

I would like to get a white light solar wedge for the upcoming Mercury transit in November. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment with all the options out there like the Lunt , Meade ,Baader , and Altair. I am unsure of which one to chose.

 

I unfortunately do not have a scope yet either and plan to get it at the same time. I plan on using it mainly for photography and I will be using either a D850 (full frame) or D3400 (crop sensor).

So my question are:

 

1) which brand of wedge would be better suited for DSLR photography?

 

2) would a doublet Apo refractor be a great combo with this or should I invest in a triplet?

 

I will be traveling from AZ to FL to catch this event so I will have to take travel portability into consideration.

 

Thank you for your time 😉😁



#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 12:34 AM

I use a Lunt Wedge, which is magnificent! (My previous front aperture filter was atrocious wavefront... loaded with astigmatism and worse). A doublet objective should work fine, provided you use a filter that blocks IR and isolated a reasonably one-colored spectrum... I use green, and that is tack sharp! Suggest you practice with that at home, before the event! I have really good images of both Venus and Mercury transits! Couple pics here (the H-alpha was 80mm DS Lunt scope, the white light was TeleVue Genesis 100mm F/5 APO with green filter and Lunt 1.25 wedge.)   Tom

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  • 09 94 mercury transit 201605090746amedt jpg.jpg


#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 12:35 AM

and in white (green) light.    Tom

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#4 msl615

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 12:36 AM

You could even go with a more simple version, and use a  solar filter over the objective, instead of the wedge.  Easier, less $,  minimal  learning curve, and less to transport. 

 

I would say that if you are going to be doing more solar than the transit, and are looking to watch for other solar events, then the wedge is certainly more dramatic and shows more as Tom's answer above provides, I have photographed transits before (Mercury and Venus) and it is not too  complex, once you have figured out the exposures that you need.

 

Having said all of that,  I use a Lunt 1.25 wedge and my favorite is a 102mm f6.1....it really works well with that combination.

 

Mike


Edited by msl615, 07 March 2019 - 12:37 AM.


#5 sg6

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 03:44 AM

The Baader wedges are likely the best, they have a useful design feature that in effect shows the position of the sun on the rear - basically a dot on a glass screen and when in the center the sun is in the center of view. Useful. Minor drawback is they are likely the most costly.

 

Then come the Lunt wedges, these are probably the most "common", do a good job and cost less then Baader. They work well.

 

After that are a couple of lesser known and maybe not in the US.

 

There is one by Lacerta, that is set at the Brewster angle. That causes the light off/through it to be polarised. That enables a polarising filter to be used to reduce brightness and maybe other effects - unsure of this, but would half expect something, just not sure why.

 

Another I have found is made by TS and sold via Astroshop. This one I have questions about. It reads that it does not need an ND3 filter and that bothers me. It does however come with a continium filter, so not need to buy one later.

 

A wedge will be white light only and in general no granulation or filiments - have been contray opinions on this. For better detail you need a continium filter. Green at 540nm as I recall, they do a good job on improving what you see.

 

AS mention previously the least cost is a simple solar film filter over the full aperture, you can make one with Baader ND5 solar film. They doi an ND3 but that is for imaging, ND3 passes 100x more then ND5,

 

Like most bits at the focuser end you have 1.25 and 2 inch options.

 

The scope is a bit harder as you say astrophotography as well. The sun through an ED 80 doublet and Baader is good, even better when a continium filter added and no problems. The problem is that for AP I would recommend a triplet, but for solar viewing a doublet is easily adaquate. What might occur is that you get an ED doublet, works well on the sun and shows a little CA when used for AP.

 

One thing to remember is that if you cover the front or add a solar wedge do not use the finder without attention. People have been known to safely cover the front, then go look for the sun through the unmodified finder. Not a good idea. Best and simple option is the remove the finder from the scope when solar viewing, do not have it on the scope at all.


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#6 nicknacknock

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 04:08 AM

For visual a 1.25" wedge is good enough, if your scope is under 4". Above that and for extended viewing, a 2" wedge is recommended as the heat trap is bigger and able to absorb more heat. There is slightly more contrast when you use a wedge Vs the Baader solar film.

 

I have used both and I have both a wedge and Baader Solar filter - wedge for visual, solar film for imaging. For imaging, if you get a wedge and try to use a DSLR, if in your choice of a refractor, the weight of the wedge and the camera on top of it does not present problems for the focuser and / or mount, then the wedge is better. If there are issues such as I mention, then a Baader solar film with appropriate filtering would be better.

 

You should use a UV/IR filter if you go for the solar film as the Baader solar filter does let in a bit of UV. Actually when using Baader solar film for visual as well, a UV/IR filter would be beneficial as despite the fact that the glass of the refractor will filter most of it, there might be some small leakage of UV.

 

The Baader Solar Continuum filter provides even more contrast instead of the UV/IR and it is also coated for UV/IR. Also can be used with a Wedge (I have mine permanently fitted in my wedge). You CAN use the Baader ND5.0 visual filter for both imaging and visual (no need to get the ND3.8 separately - that's solely for imaging by the way). At around F10 - f12 (before considering so called "crop factor") which is where I have my fun with the sun, I have not had any issues needing more photographic speed or increasing ISO beyond 100.

 

Choice of scope: I have found that a 90mm f10 achromat will perform just fine. A shorter doublet ED will make mounting perhaps a bit easier (depends on what mount you plan to use) since it will be shorter f ratio and hence shorter in physical length. A triplet will not provide much perceived benefit, but hey, buy once "the good stuff" and feel the pain only once .

 

Since you need a travel scope, and you are using either a crop or full sensor, I would recommend a doublet in the 80mm f6 category and a barlow properly distanced to the DSLR sensor to get to f12 - f14, plus your choice of Alt/Az mount with no tracking (say a Porta Mount or AZ4 or AZ5 or something in that category).

 

Note that your ultimate focal ratio should be more or less such that you have the sun in the FOV of the camera with a bit of "free" space around it, so your choice of a crop Vs full sensor will affect this. If you use a full frame camera, you can push the magnification higher before you fill the FOV, hence you will need something with a longer focal length, but with a reasonable focal ratio. For full frame I would recommend a 90mm to 100mm f7 and barlow to get to f12 - f14 (before considering "crop factor).

 

I attach an example using a 90mm F10 achromat with a Nikon D5500 (crop frame) at prime focus just to show that an achro is not shabby at all. My processing skills at that time (a couple of years ago) were not much to talk about so take it with a pinch of salt.

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#7 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 08:04 AM

and in white (green) light.    Tom

What kind of camera did you use for this ?



#8 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 09:11 AM

For visual a 1.25" wedge is good enough, if your scope is under 4". Above that and for extended viewing, a 2" wedge is recommended as the heat trap is bigger and able to absorb more heat. There is slightly more contrast when you use a wedge Vs the Baader solar film.

 

I have used both and I have both a wedge and Baader Solar filter - wedge for visual, solar film for imaging. For imaging, if you get a wedge and try to use a DSLR, if in your choice of a refractor, the weight of the wedge and the camera on top of it does not present problems for the focuser and / or mount, then the wedge is better. If there are issues such as I mention, then a Baader solar film with appropriate filtering would be better.

 

You should use a UV/IR filter if you go for the solar film as the Baader solar filter does let in a bit of UV. Actually when using Baader solar film for visual as well, a UV/IR filter would be beneficial as despite the fact that the glass of the refractor will filter most of it, there might be some small leakage of UV.

 

The Baader Solar Continuum filter provides even more contrast instead of the UV/IR and it is also coated for UV/IR. Also can be used with a Wedge (I have mine permanently fitted in my wedge). You CAN use the Baader ND5.0 visual filter for both imaging and visual (no need to get the ND3.8 separately - that's solely for imaging by the way). At around F10 - f12 (before considering so called "crop factor") which is where I have my fun with the sun, I have not had any issues needing more photographic speed or increasing ISO beyond 100.

 

Choice of scope: I have found that a 90mm f10 achromat will perform just fine. A shorter doublet ED will make mounting perhaps a bit easier (depends on what mount you plan to use) since it will be shorter f ratio and hence shorter in physical length. A triplet will not provide much perceived benefit, but hey, buy once "the good stuff" and feel the pain only once .

 

Since you need a travel scope, and you are using either a crop or full sensor, I would recommend a doublet in the 80mm f6 category and a barlow properly distanced to the DSLR sensor to get to f12 - f14, plus your choice of Alt/Az mount with no tracking (say a Porta Mount or AZ4 or AZ5 or something in that category).

 

Note that your ultimate focal ratio should be more or less such that you have the sun in the FOV of the camera with a bit of "free" space around it, so your choice of a crop Vs full sensor will affect this. If you use a full frame camera, you can push the magnification higher before you fill the FOV, hence you will need something with a longer focal length, but with a reasonable focal ratio. For full frame I would recommend a 90mm to 100mm f7 and barlow to get to f12 - f14 (before considering "crop factor).

 

I attach an example using a 90mm F10 achromat with a Nikon D5500 (crop frame) at prime focus just to show that an achro is not shabby at all. My processing skills at that time (a couple of years ago) were not much to talk about so take it with a pinch of salt.

I was thinking about getting this telescope https://www.adorama.com/vx39956t.html



#9 nicknacknock

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 09:18 AM

Both mount and scope will serve you well for your intended purpose.

 

Suggestion: use a remote or cable shutter to take shots to avoid vibrations.


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#10 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 10:07 AM

What kind of camera did you use for this ?

It is the camera that Lunt used to sell for their scopes. A very good match! PS I believe the H-alpha there is with the Lunt 60mm double-stack (not the 80mm, that I got later). For a few years, I hauled out the scopes every day and imaged in Vis, Ha and CaK... Got where I could do all that in about a half hour, beginning to end, including hauling stuff out onto the deck or into the yard and back into storage. Also caught a couple of intense Flares... right in the act! Over just a few minutes they erupt BRIGHT and explode across the surface or shoot ~off to the side~ as explosive proms!    Tom



#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 11:25 AM

Hello,

 

I would like to get a white light solar wedge for the upcoming Mercury transit in November. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment with all the options out there like the Lunt , Meade ,Baader , and Altair. I am unsure of which one to chose.

 

I unfortunately do not have a scope yet either and plan to get it at the same time. I plan on using it mainly for photography and I will be using either a D850 (full frame) or D3400 (crop sensor).

So my question are:

 

1) which brand of wedge would be better suited for DSLR photography?

 

2) would a doublet Apo refractor be a great combo with this or should I invest in a triplet?

 

I will be traveling from AZ to FL to catch this event so I will have to take travel portability into consideration.

 

Thank you for your time

Heya,

 

A doublet is fine. You don't even need an APO for this. An achromatic one would be fine. For ideal contrast you can combine the wedge and a colored filter that narrows down the spectrum of light being let through (such as 540nm (green) or similar, or longer wavelength if seeing is awful, like 610nm (red)).

 

Since you're talking portability, anything upwards of a 102mm refractor can be had relatively portable.

 

As for a wedge, if you're talking about white light, I would look into the Lacerta Wedge. Second pick, any of the clones basically of the Lunt/Baader wedges will be good.

 

If your'e talking about anything other than white light, such as narrowband, then that's a whole different story.

 

Very best,



#12 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 11:44 AM

Both mount and scope will serve you well for your intended purpose.

 

Suggestion: use a remote or cable shutter to take shots to avoid vibrations.

Thank you I was concerned about the weight as my camera is a little over two pounds with the battery inserted and with the combined weight of the wedge. Yikes. 



#13 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 11:45 AM

Heya,

 

A doublet is fine. You don't even need an APO for this. An achromatic one would be fine. For ideal contrast you can combine the wedge and a colored filter that narrows down the spectrum of light being let through (such as 540nm (green) or similar, or longer wavelength if seeing is awful, like 610nm (red)).

 

Since you're talking portability, anything upwards of a 102mm refractor can be had relatively portable.

 

As for a wedge, if you're talking about white light, I would look into the Lacerta Wedge. Second pick, any of the clones basically of the Lunt/Baader wedges will be good.

 

If your'e talking about anything other than white light, such as narrowband, then that's a whole different story.

 

Very best,

Would you use a Lunt 102mm ED or go with a Vixen 80mm ED for solar photography?



#14 MalVeauX

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 12:47 PM

Would you use a Lunt 102mm ED or go with a Vixen 80mm ED for solar photography?

Doesn't make a difference other than aperture (more resolution) and the quality of the focuser quite frankly. Either would be fine. Depends on what field of view you want with your dSLR (or whatever camera you use) and whether or not you're using a 2x barlow or not, or similar extender.

 

Me? I'd want the largest aperture I could support so I could even resolve the subject matter more than just a pin head black dot. So I'd probably want the 102mm refractor. And again, it doesn't have to be an APO. Quite frankly you could get a 120mm or 127mm or even 150mm achromat and do this and resolve more. Granted these are getting big and the mount requirements go up.

 

So really, you have to balance what your mount can reliably hold steady and how big you can go.

 

Very best,


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#15 Smarque2

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 05:45 PM

Doesn't make a difference other than aperture (more resolution) and the quality of the focuser quite frankly. Either would be fine. Depends on what field of view you want with your dSLR (or whatever camera you use) and whether or not you're using a 2x barlow or not, or similar extender.

 

Me? I'd want the largest aperture I could support so I could even resolve the subject matter more than just a pin head black dot. So I'd probably want the 102mm refractor. And again, it doesn't have to be an APO. Quite frankly you could get a 120mm or 127mm or even 150mm achromat and do this and resolve more. Granted these are getting big and the mount requirements go up.

 

So really, you have to balance what your mount can reliably hold steady and how big you can go.

 

Very best,

Thank you so much :D 



#16 BYoesle

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 10:13 AM

Ahem...

 

"There is one by Lacerta, that is set at the Brewster angle. That causes the light off/through it to be polarised. That enables a polarising filter to be used to reduce brightness and maybe other effects - unsure of this, but would half expect something, just not sure why."

 

All Herschel wedges will partially polarize the reflected light off the prism, which allows the use of a single polarizing filter to vary the image brightness. The Lacerta wedge tilts the prism a little more to get to the Brewster's angle - 56 degrees - whereby the light coming off the prism is completely polarized, and the single polarizing filter will be able to completely block the light up to and including to extinction at one clocking position. Whether or not this is needed or useful is up to the purchaser and the inherent image brightness you are dealing with. My traditional (non-Brewster's angle - 45 degree) wedge does just fine with the range of image brightness adjustment available with a single polarizing filter attached to the eyepiece and rotated to adjust the brightness to a comfortable level.

 

"Actually when using Baader solar film for visual as well, a UV/IR filter would be beneficial as despite the fact that the glass of the refractor will filter most of it, there might be some small leakage of UV....The Baader Solar Continuum filter provides even more contrast instead of the UV/IR and it is also coated for UV/IR. Also can be used with a Wedge (I have mine permanently fitted in my wedge)."

 

Most refractors will pass a good deal of both the UV and IR directly through the optical elements and therefore one should always ensure this UV/IR is sufficiently blocked with ancillary filtering. The Astrosolar film is great, but it needs additional IR blocking.

 

AstroSolar-5-lin.gif

 

The Baader Continuum filter is designed to take advantage of most refractors excellent spherochromatic performance at 540 nm. However it too has totally insufficient IR blocking and will benefit greatly from additional IR blocking for both imaging and visual use:

 

Ba-Cont-lin.gif

 

See Chris Schur's evaluation here.


Edited by BYoesle, 08 March 2019 - 11:36 AM.

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#17 Smarque2

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 10:19 AM

Ahem...

 

"There is one by Lacerta, that is set at the Brewster angle. That causes the light off/through it to be polarised. That enables a polarising filter to be used to reduce brightness and maybe other effects - unsure of this, but would half expect something, just not sure why."

 

All Herschel wedges will partially polarize the reflected light off the prism, which allows the use of a single polarizing filter to vary the image brightness. The Lacerta wedge tilts the prism a little more to get to the Brewster's angle - 56 degrees - whereby the light coming off the prism is completely polarized, and the single polarizing filter will be able to completely block the light up to and including to extinction at one clocking position. Whether or not this is needed or useful is up to the purchaser and the inherent image brightness you are dealing with. My traditional (non-Brewster's angle - 45 degree) wedge does just fine with the range of image brightness adjustment available with a single polarizing filter attached to the eyepiece and rotated to adjust the brightness to a comfortable level.

 

"Actually when using Baader solar film for visual as well, a UV/IR filter would be beneficial as despite the fact that the glass of the refractor will filter most of it, there might be some small leakage of UV....The Baader Solar Continuum filter provides even more contrast instead of the UV/IR and it is also coated for UV/IR. Also can be used with a Wedge (I have mine permanently fitted in my wedge)."

 

Most refractors will pass a good deal of both the UV and IR directly through the optical elements and therefore one should always ensure this UV/IR is sufficiently blocked with ancillary filtering. While the Baader Continuum filter is designed to take advantage of most refractors excellent spherochromatic performance at 540 nm, the filter has totally insufficient IR blocking and will benefit greatly from additional IR blocking for both imaging and visual use:

 

attachicon.gif Ba-Cont-lin.gif

 

See here.

so what you are saying is I should get an IR/UV filter with the baader wedge correct? 



#18 BYoesle

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:01 AM

I would, and do. I have a Baader 2 inch UV/IR filter sandwiched together with an ND 0.9 for additional image brightness reduction. See the aforementioned link to Chris Schur's work r/t imaging.

 

My philosophy is that a milligram of protection is worth a kilogram of cure, and the long-term effects of UV and IR on the cornea and lens are known:

 

Slide solar safety.jpg


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#19 nicknacknock

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 03:22 PM

Bob,

 

You got me thinking re IR so I just double stacked my Baader Solar Continuum filter with a spare UV/IR filter I had. Better safe than sorry..


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#20 BYoesle

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 05:29 PM

waytogo.gif



#21 George9

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 08:57 PM

I would, and do. I have a Baader 2 inch UV/IR filter sandwiched together with an ND 0.9 for additional image brightness reduction. See the aforementioned link to Chris Schur's work r/t imaging.

Bob, doesn't the Baader UV/IR filter let through a lot (70%) of IR longer than 1100nm? Is that blocked by something else, like the ND or the wedge? The Beloptic UV/IR on KG3 that you pointed out elsewhere would seem to block it all.

 

George



#22 BYoesle

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:58 PM

Yes, you are indeed correct George.

 

I do believe the wedge will reflect all wavelengths equally, so these longer wavelength's will be reduced to about a 5% in reflection with 95% either transmitted or absorbed.

 

I put together my wedge and filter system about 14 years ago and the BelOptik filter was not then available... That said, I should indeed update this to the UV/IR KG3 filter, as ND3 filters don't appear to block much beyond even 700 nm:

 

Graph-of-ND-Filter-Transmission-by-Wavelength.jpg

 

 


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#23 gnowellsct

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:32 AM

Man oh man mercury transit Nov 2019 and then not again till 2032.  I don't know if I'm going to make it to 2032.  Fortunately I have seen two earlier Mercury transits and both Venus transits so I shall not depart this earth transit deprived.  But I kinda wish they'd thrown a couple more Mercury transits in there between 2019 and 2032.

 

Greg N


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#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 07:26 PM

Look, the last Mercury transit for 13 years is going to happen in November.  If you're over 50 you should make every effort to watch it in h-alpha.  Because you never know.  If you're under 50 OK mess around with white light.  That's my 2c.  Greg N



#25 hopskipson

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 06:29 PM

Look, the last Mercury transit for 13 years is going to happen in November.  If you're over 50 you should make every effort to watch it in h-alpha.  Because you never know.  If you're under 50 OK mess around with white light.  That's my 2c.  Greg N

I don't have to worry there is a 100% chance of clouds for my neck of the woods wherever that may be!  I have the worst luck with eclipses both lunar and solar, transits both Mercury and Venus.  If there is something that's a once in a lifetime event.  Stay as far away from me!  I traveled to South Carolina to see the eclipse.  Made a reservation for a site. Right at totality a huge cloud rolled in and shut out.  A friend who met up with my family saw the whole thing about 2 miles away in a CVS parking lot!




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