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Low End Solar Observing

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#1 sojourneyer

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:14 PM

I would like an economical means to observe the sun and wonder what you recommend

 

Here are some of the scopes I have come across

1- Meade EclipseView 60

 

2-Meade EclipseView 76mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope with Altazimuth Mount    ( I know this is a reflector)

 

3-iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Scope and other iOptron scopes

 

4-Celestron EclipSmart 50 50mm f/7.2 Alt-Az Solar Telescope with Backpack

 

 

The other options are white light solar wedges by Meade, Lunt, etc

 

Thank you


Edited by sojourneyer, 16 March 2020 - 08:14 PM.


#2 S.Boerner

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:27 PM

If you already have a telescope a white light solar filter would be all that you need.  Baader makes good filter material.

 

If you don't already have a scope I'm going to suggest that you need to go here first:  link
 

 

Look for the sites that give a white light view of the photosphere like and see if you would be happy viewing the Sun.  We're pretty low in the eleven year solar cycle in terms of activity so you won't really see much for a few more years.

 

 

Additionally, the Sun in Hydrogen alpha shows much more detail in the chromosphere but H alpha is expensive.


Edited by S.Boerner, 16 March 2020 - 08:44 PM.

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#3 sunnyday

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:31 PM

If you already have a telescope a white light solar filter would be all that you need.  Baader makes good filter material.

 

If you don't already have a scope I'm going to suggest that you need to go here first:
http://solar-center....sun-today.html 

 

Look for the sites that give a white light view of the photosphere like and see if you would be happy viewing the Sun.  We're pretty low in the eleven year solar cycle in terms of activity (https://earthsky.org/space/solar-cycle-25-likely-weak-according-to-predictions) so you won't really see much for a few more years.
 

Additionally, the Sun in Hydrogen alpha shows much more detail in the chromosphere but H alpha is expensive.

unfortunately your links does not work



#4 sunnyday

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:33 PM

I would like an economical means to observe the sun and wonder what you recommend

 

Here are some of the scopes I have come across

1- Meade EclipseView 60

 

2-Meade EclipseView 76mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope with Altazimuth Mount    ( I know this is a reflector)

 

3-iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Scope and other iOptron scopes

 

4-Celestron EclipSmart 50 50mm f/7.2 Alt-Az Solar Telescope with Backpack

 

 

The other options are white light solar wedges by Meade, Lunt, etc

 

Thank you

do you already have a telescope, if yes ,a mylar filter is not expensive



#5 S.Boerner

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:45 PM

I fixed the links above.


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#6 MalVeauX

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 09:27 PM

Heya,

 

What do you want to observe? What's your expectation? What's your max budget?

 

Very best,



#7 sojourneyer

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 09:48 PM

Heya,

 

What do you want to observe? What's your expectation? What's your max budget?

 

Very best,

My OP says it in a nutshell



#8 MalVeauX

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 09:57 PM

My OP says it in a nutshell

I could assume you're looking for a low resolution photosphere view of the sun, it will reveal very, very little right now. A white or falsely colored sphere, visually. We commonly have to ask this because many folk see images of the sun and think visually they can see similar and are sorely mistaken. Also, to make the distinction that you are aware of the difference of photosphere versus chromosphere viewing and what that entails. Again, not trying to be cheeky, just trying to make sure what you want and what will come your way are in line.

 

You have zero need to buy a dedicated scope with a white light (photosphere structures) filter pre-made for it (you're paying a bunch for nothing there unless you want a very poorly made scope and the lowest possible quality filter attached to it). You can simply get a white light filter that works on any scope you have already, any design too. I would suggest a simple AstroZap pre-made filter cell with Baader Visual grade Solar Film (ND5) that fits on any aperture of your choice. Nothing else needed at all. When sunspots show back up, you'll have what you need to take a look at them. Until then, you can look at the blank disc and see the texture of granulation made up convection cells and see contrast differences where the faculae lines are. And it costs less than any pre-made scope option you linked, assuming those averaged prices are your max budget.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 16 March 2020 - 10:04 PM.

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#9 sojourneyer

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 10:40 PM

I could assume you're looking for a low resolution photosphere view of the sun, it will reveal very, very little right now. A white or falsely colored sphere, visually. We commonly have to ask this because many folk see images of the sun and think visually they can see similar and are sorely mistaken. Also, to make the distinction that you are aware of the difference of photosphere versus chromosphere viewing and what that entails. Again, not trying to be cheeky, just trying to make sure what you want and what will come your way are in line.

 

You have zero need to buy a dedicated scope with a white light (photosphere structures) filter pre-made for it (you're paying a bunch for nothing there unless you want a very poorly made scope and the lowest possible quality filter attached to it). You can simply get a white light filter that works on any scope you have already, any design too. I would suggest a simple AstroZap pre-made filter cell with Baader Visual grade Solar Film (ND5) that fits on any aperture of your choice. Nothing else needed at all. When sunspots show back up, you'll have what you need to take a look at them. Until then, you can look at the blank disc and see the texture of granulation made up convection cells and see contrast differences where the faculae lines are. And it costs less than any pre-made scope option you linked, assuming those averaged prices are your max budget.

 

Very best,

What about a white light solar wedge?



#10 bobhen

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 07:31 AM

If you don’t have a telescope already, I would suggest a scope that you can use for the sun and at night. A 4” Celestron Omni refractor or a 6” Orion Dobsonian come to mind.

 

You can buy Baader white light film filters for each or you can buy just the film and make your own filter. With a white light filter you will see sunspots, etc. on the disk.

 

A solar wedge is also a white light filter and it is just a tad better than the film but they are more expensive. The film is a close second and is cheaper.

 

If you already have a scope then a 80mm refractor on an alt/az mount is a little more portable than the above, so you can take it out easily for some quick looks.

 

With solar minimum, there is not much happening on the disk now and it might be quiet for a few years before activity increases.

 

Ha (Hydrogen Alpha) viewing shows prominences and dynamic disk detail but scopes equipped with those filters are much more expensive.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 17 March 2020 - 07:32 AM.


#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 07:58 AM

What about a white light solar wedge?

They're excellent, but they're far from inexpensive, and only work on refractors and refractors in full spectrum are subject to CA if you're using a fast achromatic doublet.

 

Inexpensive Baader Solar Film (Visual ND5) will work on mirrors, no CA, any scope design, virtually the same view.

 

It's purely preference. If you already have a good ED doublet or better refractor, and you're willing to get a wedge, then that's a lifetime purchase. There's hardly anything to see with it right now beyond the sphere, grannulation and minor faculae at the moment.... but when the maximum returns over the next 4 years... sunspots become the main show and its great for that.

 

Very best,


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#12 sojourneyer

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 11:23 AM

If you don’t have a telescope already, I would suggest a scope that you can use for the sun and at night. A 4” Celestron Omni refractor or a 6” Orion Dobsonian come to mind.

 

You can buy Baader white light film filters for each or you can buy just the film and make your own filter. With a white light filter you will see sunspots, etc. on the disk.

 

A solar wedge is also a white light filter and it is just a tad better than the film but they are more expensive. The film is a close second and is cheaper.

 

If you already have a scope then a 80mm refractor on an alt/az mount is a little more portable than the above, so you can take it out easily for some quick looks.

 

With solar minimum, there is not much happening on the disk now and it might be quiet for a few years before activity increases.

 

Ha (Hydrogen Alpha) viewing shows prominences and dynamic disk detail but scopes equipped with those filters are much more expensive.

 

Bob

Bob,  I have a 4 inch Omni refractor. Thanks



#13 sg6

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 11:50 AM

Least costly will be somethong like a 60-70mm slowish achro and a Baader film filter. Said to be able to be home mad but I failed rather miserably. Just buy one, lot easier.

 

One or two eyepieces, one to find it (not easy), one such that the sun fills half the field, maybe another to fill a third of the field.

 

If you can track the sun then it is a lot better but that likely moves out of low end.

 

Wedges and all else costs assorted amounts of $'s. But I have been on solar observing days with a simple 70mm and a front white light filter. And all has been fine - once I found the sun. Believe me it is not that easy.



#14 sojourneyer

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Posted 17 March 2020 - 01:43 PM

Least costly will be somethong like a 60-70mm slowish achro and a Baader film filter. Said to be able to be home mad but I failed rather miserably. Just buy one, lot easier.

 

One or two eyepieces, one to find it (not easy), one such that the sun fills half the field, maybe another to fill a third of the field.

 

If you can track the sun then it is a lot better but that likely moves out of low end.

 

Wedges and all else costs assorted amounts of $'s. But I have been on solar observing days with a simple 70mm and a front white light filter. And all has been fine - once I found the sun. Believe me it is not that easy.

No, I am not going to purchase a scope just wondered about the cheapies..and then the

costly wedge..

Thanks



#15 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:07 PM

You need to consider whether you want to do only visual observation in white light, or photographic observation as well.  A white-light Solar telescope that would be good for visual or afocal observation may not work for prime-focus photographic observation.

 

If you want a very safe low-cost option for visual or afocal observation only, I would recommend the Orion 500/70 Solar Refractor.

 

https://www.telescop...Solar Refractor

 

I purchased this and it is an excellent telescope with almost no discernable chromatic aberration for visual use at low powers.  However, I ended up returning it because it cannot be used for full-disc Solar imaging with an apochromatic Barlow lens and an APS-C DSLR camera at prime focus.

 

Any other telescope you get will require purchasing a separate Solar filter if you want a neutral-density view in white light.  Models like the Celestron Eclipsmart 360/50 TravelScope have false-color Solar filters that don't show the Sun in true or natural color.

 

If you want a good option that works for both visual and photographic use with an APS-C DSLR camera at prime focus, I would recommend the Omegon MightyMak 1000/90 with Astrozap AZ-1003 Baader AstroSolar Solar filter.  I have this, and it's a really excellent all-around option since it is lightweight, portable, and works very well as both a Terrestrial spotting scope as well as a serious astronomical instrument.  Note that the 1000-mm focal length gives you the field of view you need for comfortable full-disc Solar/Lunar observation not available from an Orion Apex 90 (1250/90).

 

https://www.omegon.e...-finder/p,48702

 

https://telescopes.n...m-diameter.html

 

Don't forget a Solar finder either.  I recommend a HelioPod.

 

http://www.dynapod.com/dyna-hp1.html


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 20 March 2020 - 10:31 PM.

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#16 sojourneyer

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:26 PM

Nicole thank you for all that great information. I truly appreciate it, and I will look further at some of the options you have suggested



#17 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 11:35 PM

Nicole thank you for all that great information. I truly appreciate it, and I will look further at some of the options you have suggested

 

Remember that you will still need a way to mount the telescope, but both the Orion Solar Refractor and Omegon MightyMak 90 have 1/4-20 threads to be used with a regular photographic tripod.  However, if you are interested in Solar imaging on a Vixen-style telescope mount, any refractor or Cassegrainian is likely going to need a Vixen-style dovetail rail for balancing the extra weight of a camera on the focuser.  I had to get the Highpoint Apertura 11 in order to safely use the Orion 500/70 Solar Refactor and the Omegon MightyMak 1000/90 on the Explore Scientific Twilight Nano mount.

 

https://www.highpoin...ail-plate-vup11

 

https://www.highpoin...fl-twinanot1-00

 

If you are interested in any astroimaging, make sure that any refractor or Newtonian you get has a focuser lock.  Many entry-level telescopes from sellers such as Celestron, Orion, and Meade do not have focuser locks.  Explore Scientific does offer focuser locks though on many of their entry-level telescopes.  The Orion Solar Refractor has a focuser lock, but the new Orion CT80 does not, so you have to check for each telescope.  What it does is lock the focus point so when you have a lot of weight on the focuser, it does not slide in or out.

 

Also check to make sure that the telescope does not have an irregular front lip that might prevent safely attaching a ring-style Solar filter (which are the safest to use).  E.g. the C90 has an irregular front lip but the Apex 90 and 90SLT do not.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 20 March 2020 - 11:40 PM.

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#18 darthteddy93

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 04:31 PM

I'm in a similar boat as the OP. I have a Skywatcher 8" dob and I want to give it white light solar viewing capabilities. (If money was no object I would totally get an H-alpha filter). 

 

I currently have a small 4x4 film sheet that I taped to the back of my dust cover where there's a small opening so I can essentially convert my telescope into a solar telescope anytime by removing the cover for the opening and putting the dust cover on the telescope.  However, I find that the image from the filter seems to have a lot of "bleed," where no matter how much I adjust the focuser, I cannot get a sharp, good quality image even though the telescope is collimated. 

 

Do you guys think I should get one of those ring mounted telescope filters like the ones Orion sells? I'm hoping to see not only sunspots but also granulation and faculae. Would I need the full aperture of my telescope to get those details? 



#19 hopskipson

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 04:38 PM

I'm in a similar boat as the OP. I have a Skywatcher 8" dob and I want to give it white light solar viewing capabilities. (If money was no object I would totally get an H-alpha filter).

I currently have a small 4x4 film sheet that I taped to the back of my dust cover where there's a small opening so I can essentially convert my telescope into a solar telescope anytime by removing the cover for the opening and putting the dust cover on the telescope. However, I find that the image from the filter seems to have a lot of "bleed," where no matter how much I adjust the focuser, I cannot get a sharp, good quality image even though the telescope is collimated.

Do you guys think I should get one of those ring mounted telescope filters like the ones Orion sells? I'm hoping to see not only sunspots but also granulation and faculae. Would I need the full aperture of my telescope to get those details?


You probably experienced a case of bad seeing. It’s hard to get great daytime seeing for such large scopes. You can try using an aperture mask to reduce the effect of bad seeing.

Most people here don’t recommend glass filters. You’re better off using the Baader film.
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#20 darthteddy93

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 04:46 PM

I was already using an aperture mask (so that's what they're called) since one is already built into my dust cap. No good. Guess I'll have to get a small cheap refractor to use as my dedicated solar telescope. 



#21 sojourneyer

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 04:52 PM

I was already using an aperture mask (so that's what they're called) since one is already built into my dust cap. No good. Guess I'll have to get a small cheap refractor to use as my dedicated solar telescope. 

Teddy, your predicament sound familiar.



#22 S.Boerner

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 05:40 PM

I'm in a similar boat as the OP. I have a Skywatcher 8" dob and I want to give it white light solar viewing capabilities. (If money was no object I would totally get an H-alpha filter). 

 

I saw the "get an H-alpha filter" and I thought I best point out that an imaging type Ha filter is NOT what you would need.  Filters like this Baader Ha are designed for night time use and don't filter out the extreme level of light that comes from the Sun.   Ha scopes use an Etalon filter and while you can buy them they are very expensive (see a Lunt double stack search here).

 

As far as I know, the cheapest way to get into Hydrogen alpha viewing is with a Coronodo PST (~$550).  It is designed to be used visually but can be adapted to image using the "optics" part of a 2x Barlow.
 



#23 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 11:34 PM

I use full aperture baader film on my 8" dob. I can see granulation and a little bit of detail like hot spots around active regions, but it takes good seeing conditions. At low mags it's a bit bright but texture is seen. Keep in mind these are relatively low contrast features on a bright surface so a polarizer may help. When sunspots are around, "fur like" detail and light bridges can be seen around the spots. In my area, max mag is usually around 100×, maybe 130× due to seeing conditions.

#24 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:10 AM

I'm in a similar boat as the OP. I have a Skywatcher 8" dob and I want to give it white light solar viewing capabilities. (If money was no object I would totally get an H-alpha filter). 

 

I currently have a small 4x4 film sheet that I taped to the back of my dust cover where there's a small opening so I can essentially convert my telescope into a solar telescope anytime by removing the cover for the opening and putting the dust cover on the telescope.  However, I find that the image from the filter seems to have a lot of "bleed," where no matter how much I adjust the focuser, I cannot get a sharp, good quality image even though the telescope is collimated. 

 

Do you guys think I should get one of those ring mounted telescope filters like the ones Orion sells? I'm hoping to see not only sunspots but also granulation and faculae. Would I need the full aperture of my telescope to get those details? 

Two possible issues there.  Your telescope may have a light leak, so try draping a lightblocking focusing cloth over the telescope and focuser (I use a blackout curtain).  Also, if you are using a fast nonastrographic Newtonian, you may need a Barlow lens for Solar observation to avoid seeing the central obstruction.  I have both of these issues in my f/4 Newtonian.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 26 March 2020 - 01:16 AM.


#25 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:14 AM

You probably experienced a case of bad seeing. It’s hard to get great daytime seeing for such large scopes. You can try using an aperture mask to reduce the effect of bad seeing.

Most people here don’t recommend glass filters. You’re better off using the Baader film.

Solar observing is typically best done with apertures of about 5 inches or less due to increased atmospheric turbulence in the daytime.  Larger apertures make seeing more difficult.  This can be fixed by using an off-axis subaperture Solar filter.  To enhance seeing, observe in the morning or overlooking a body of water.  Avoid placing the telescope on pavement, and put it on grass instead.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 26 March 2020 - 01:17 AM.

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