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#1 D.T.

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 09:10 PM

I'm considering getting involved with Solar Astronomy.  Before I spend more money on astronomy, I would like to determine if solar is right for me.  I would like to get a better understanding of what holds people's interest?  Night astronomy provides countless galaxy's, nebula's, the milky way, narrow band imaging, double stars, planets, occasional comets.  But, for solar, there is just one sun.  So, what is it that makes a hobby of this?  Can you really go out to observe, or photograph, the sun every day and always find something new, different, and interesting?

 



#2 sunnyday

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 09:16 PM

tell yourself that this is the only star that you will see so closely.
and its cycle is fascinating and it lasts almost 11 years.
the sun is full of fun.

 

 

 

I'm sure my other friends here will give you plenty of other explanations.


Edited by sunnyday, 16 October 2020 - 09:18 PM.

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#3 Arcamigo

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 10:30 PM

It's an amazing feeling to see something so far away while you're also feeling it on your skin. I've heard several people tell me this. Practically speaking, I can also setup my mount and solar telescope in a fraction of the time it takes for a night time setup, because there's no Polaris alignment, three-star alignment, drift alignment, plate solving, or whatever you use on your night telescope, involved. It's really fast and easy to setup.

 

As for whether it will remain exciting, I'm sure it will for me. There was a report today of a C-class solar flare. Some were lucky to see it. Some were luckier to record it. I missed it, so for me, there's still the possible surprise that I might catch a flare or CME with my own eyes. Aside from that, I like staring at prominences. I probably spend more time on them than I do on double stars, unless I'm measuring them. I still only have one etalon, so if it starts to get boring in the future, I can always double-stack and that will just give me a whole new perspective.

 

We also just started Solar Cycle 25, so the number of sunspots should only increase. Then there's the correlation between sunspots and radio communication, and since I have an amateur license, I have a few experiments I want to try once spots start appearing. I've been reading solar reports regarding radio propagation for several years, but nothing beats being able to see it for yourself.


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#4 mmalik

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 12:06 AM

Night astronomy provides countless galaxy's, nebula's, the milky way, narrow band imaging, double stars, planets, occasional comets.  But, for solar, there is just one sun. So, what is it that makes a hobby of this?  Can you really go out to observe, or photograph, the sun every day and always find something new, different, and interesting?

I don't consider Solar a separate hobby; it is an extension of nighttime astronomy. You do DSOs at night and Sun during the day. If it gets too cold at night to do DSOs, you switch to daytime. If days get too hot, you switch to nighttime. If you can't do either, you switch to moon. It is simply astronomy at large.

 

 

Matter of fact, I have come up with a unified setup where I can easily switch equipment among DSO, Solar, Lunar, and Visual, primarily on the same (portable) mount. Regards

Attached Thumbnails

  • DSO.jpg
  • Solar.jpg
  • Visual.jpg

Edited by mmalik, 17 October 2020 - 12:30 AM.


#5 rigel123

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 05:46 AM

Hey Dana, as others have mentioned you just don’t know what you might see or capture each day with the sun.  I mostly do time lapses by taking images every minute over a period of time of a particular area of interest, like a prom or a sunspot and then I turn them into a video.  I have captured flares, huge prom lift offs, and other exciting activity just by chance.  The opportunity to capture something others might not have a chance to see and share it is what sends me out nearly every clear day!


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#6 bobhen

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 07:08 AM

Not everyday is dramatic, but for the observer…

 

The sun is the most dynamic object that you will observe. No deep sky or solar system object offers the “real” dynamic changes (not just phase or illumination or rotation/orbital changes) that the sun offers. Everyday is different. Some changes can also be observed in real-time.

 

Many of these dramatic features are many times larger than the Earth. When observing a large prominence, it is also intellectually/emotionally inspiring to realize just how massive and how much power is involved in producing the feature that you are observing.

 

Different filters also produce dramatic differences in how features are perceived. For example, the sun in white light looks like a different object than when viewed in the light of Hydrogen-Alpha or Calcium K.

 

One might also ask… Why observe deep sky objects again and again when they will never change in appearance? That’s a rhetorical question, but you get the idea.

 

Bob


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#7 bigdob24

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 07:33 AM

As we are coming out of minimum you would be starting out at the best time to watch the change in events. Not as fast as we like but it’s going to happen.

Ive just recently sold my “big dobs” and purchased some nice solar equipment and I setup and use it a lot more than I did for Deep Sky..

My setup takes about 10 min and I’m viewing so it’s easy and most important, I find it rewarding.



#8 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:01 AM

The sun is the most dynamic object that you will observe. No deep sky or solar system object offers the “real” dynamic changes (not just phase or illumination or rotation/orbital changes) that the sun offers. Everyday is different. Some changes can also be observed in real-time.

Once you've seen an erupting flare or surge prominence you'll be captivated - and for most people thereafter addicted. Other solar system bodies are interesting, but I find them less so. DSO's are, to be blunt, almost anticlimactic. I've seen them hundreds if not thousands of times, and it takes dark skies and large apertures to fully appreciate them - but they are static over the decades. And the older I get the more difficult it becomes to see them clearly - and to stay awake !-)

 

The Sun - especially the chromosphere - is as stated the most dynamic object you can observe in the heavens:

 

gallery no. 7.jpg

click to enlarge


Edited by BYoesle, 17 October 2020 - 10:08 AM.

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#9 sg6

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:20 AM

I am "not" a solar observer. I do look at the sun as I have the bits to at least do some - glass aperture filter for an ETX and a Herschell Wedge for a 72ED. To me it is something else to do.

 

Equipment limits me to what I can see, big Grey ball or a big Green ball. Sunspots when they arrive will hopefully be visible. Not sure when the next transit is but think it is a number of years. So sunspots it is, if we get any.

 

There are 2 solar cycles and I think we are at a sort of minimum of both so do not expect massive changes soon. The long term one governs the final result, so the short 11 year one may be at its peak but is suppressed by the long tem one, that is around a 100-110 year cycle.

 

In order of cost, you have:

Front full aperture ND5 film filter, (~$25)

Herschell Wedge and Continium filter, (~$200-$400)

Dedicated Solar scope (~$2500)



#10 LDW47

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:47 AM

I am a newby also and I bought a PST single and have dedicated one of my 80mm refractors to White Lite viewing. It is a great, fun, interesting and awesome extension to your astronomy hobby but unless you spend big $ on photographing our star or on higher grade viewing scopes keep it as just a daytime extension to your nite time viewing ! Your wallet will be happy, lol !



#11 mmalik

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:48 AM

The Sun - especially the chromosphere - is as stated the most dynamic object you can observe in the heavens:

Beautiful pics; what is your imaging scope/filters and camera? Details will be appreciated. Regards



#12 LDW47

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:52 AM

What you see in post #8 is awesome but they are the ultimate views of what the sun has to offer, you won’t see that in basic solar viewing ! Your wallet will hate you and your watch may need new batteries by the time you get to that level of capability, lol ! Good Luck but maybe don’t shoot for the stars !



#13 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 12:18 PM

What you see in post #8 is awesome but they are the ultimate views of what the sun has to offer, you won’t see that in basic solar viewing ! Your wallet will hate you and your watch may need new batteries by the time you get to that level of capability, lol ! Good Luck but maybe don’t shoot for the stars !

This is not true, you can actually see this level of detail with basic solar viewing - it all depends on the quality of your local seeing, filter system, and available aperture.

 

It is true that I have spent quite a large amount of my disposable income on solar telescopes and filter systems. But to be honest, as many or more people spend just as much if not more on their nighttime telescopes and imaging equipment. So in the end it's all relative to your level of interest, desires, and resources. For me my astronomical interests are a big part of my life. Others are into flying, boating, hi-end music systems, horses, cars, etc., all of which usually are much more expensive. And specialized H alpha telescopes/filter systems for the amateur are much more affordable today than when first introduced by DayStar in the 1970'a, where the cost was roughly 4-6 x greater than the entry level H-alpha telescopes or the Quark...

 

Image4.jpg

My solar telescopes...

 

Beautiful pics; what is your imaging scope/filters and camera? Details will be appreciated.

The image in post 8 was taken with the double stacked SM90's shown in the middle pane above and a relatively inexpensive PGR (FLIR) Chameleon CCD video camera. The imaging process I used can be found here.

 

 

Carlin sun worship.jpg


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#14 LDW47

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 12:38 PM

This is not true, you can actually see this level of detail with basic solar viewing - it all depends on the quality of your local seeing, filter system, and available aperture.

 

It is true that I have spent quite a large amount of my disposable income on solar telescopes and filter systems. But to be honest, as many or more people spend just as much if not more on their nighttime telescopes and imaging equipment. So in the end it's all relative to your level of interest, desires, and resources. For me my astronomical interests are a big part of my life. Others are into flying, boating, hi-end music systems, horses, cars, etc., all of which usually are much more expensive. And specialized H alpha telescopes/filter systems for the amateur are much more affordable today than when first introduced by DayStar in the 1970'a, where the cost was roughly 4-6 x greater than the entry level H-alpha telescopes or the Quark...

 

attachicon.gifImage4.jpg

My solar telescopes...

 

The image in post 8 was taken with the double stacked SM90's shown in the middle pane above and a relatively inexpensive PGR (FLIR) Chameleon CCD video camera. The imaging process I used can be found here.

 

 

attachicon.gifCarlin sun worship.jpg

You obviously didn’t digest what I said in my post, what I was getting at but I sure can’t see it quite like that in my basic Celestron PST and 80mm Baader WL filter equipment under pretty da*n good northern daytime skize ! I didn’t say it wasn’t great views but not near the extensive detail you show without spending a lot more $. In the end how far the poster wants to go in the solar pursuit is their choice, their business. Just expressed my experience so far in my less than a year ......... ! But I love it as part of my overall astronomy !



#15 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 01:19 PM

waytogo.gif  I just have a different interpretation of what you meant - "basic solar viewing" - which implied to me visual observation with the Mark 1 eyeball. What you apparently meant was "basic solar equipment" - or perhaps more accurately basic entry-level solar observing equipment. 

 

Inflation over the years has taken its toll. The DayStar ATM 0.7A I started with in 1976 was about $900 - and was the entry level solar H alpha back then. Today that would be about $4000. Indeed, this is about what the equivalent DayStar Quantum SE 0.7A costs today. But everything has been inflated in cost over the years...

 

Air Guitar Inflation.jpg


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#16 Arcamigo

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 01:34 PM

This was taken a few days ago during my lunch break, because I'm not retired and I work from home these days. Everything was setup, photographed with a DSLR, and torn down within an hour or so. I've been watching that spot move across the surface of the sun online since then, because I haven't had time for astronomy, but maybe today.

 

It's true that my solar telescope is expensive, at least for me, and I thought very hard before going down this path, but as was already pointed out, I could have easily spent that money on an imaging train, an SCT for planets, a new mount to hold all that, and so on. For now, the DSLR works for me, because I'm not in this for the poor image I'm sharing here, but for seeing it with my own eyes.

 

There's also the old adage that "time is money" and I get quite the bang for the buck for my solar telescope. It can take hours for me to image DSOs followed by computer time to turn the data into a desktop background. And that doesn't include scope cool-down time and alignment, if you haven't invested in an observatory, which would probably also cost more than a solar telescope. Solar can be fast and easy and every time I've setup my scope, there's been something to see, even though we are in a solar minimum.


Sun-2020-10-15.jpg



#17 PhotonJohn

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 01:55 PM

My interests in the past were fishing and surfing. Fishing taught me a great lesson. It was called K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid. My set up is simple. I use a Lunt 60mm LS60 THad 60/50 mm hydrogen alpha telescope. My home owners association will not allow a dome, so I need to setup my gear for every session. My little scope can be set up in 15 minutes and all the data needed can be captured in way less than an hour. As everyone has stated the Sun is dynamic and changes every second. I am a relative newbie and started imaging in March 2019. With help from all the great people on this thread my appreciation of Solar has grown. Night astronomy still is an interest, but the Sun has become my passion.

S51920baipjpgcn.jpg

Edited by PhotonJohn, 17 October 2020 - 10:07 PM.

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#18 dhkaiser

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 01:57 PM

Very nice.


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#19 chemman

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 02:48 PM

This was taken a few days ago during my lunch break, because I'm not retired and I work from home these days. Everything was setup, photographed with a DSLR, and torn down within an hour or so. I've been watching that spot move across the surface of the sun online since then, because I haven't had time for astronomy, but maybe today.

 

It's true that my solar telescope is expensive, at least for me, and I thought very hard before going down this path, but as was already pointed out, I could have easily spent that money on an imaging train, an SCT for planets, a new mount to hold all that, and so on. For now, the DSLR works for me, because I'm not in this for the poor image I'm sharing here, but for seeing it with my own eyes.

 

There's also the old adage that "time is money" and I get quite the bang for the buck for my solar telescope. It can take hours for me to image DSOs followed by computer time to turn the data into a desktop background. And that doesn't include scope cool-down time and alignment, if you haven't invested in an observatory, which would probably also cost more than a solar telescope. Solar can be fast and easy and every time I've setup my scope, there's been something to see, even though we are in a solar minimum.


attachicon.gifSun-2020-10-15.jpg

So compared to my DSLR images  your image  is great!  What did you use  and what were the settings Arcamigo?



#20 Arcamigo

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 03:09 PM

So compared to my DSLR images  your image  is great!  What did you use  and what were the settings Arcamigo?

Thank you. I used a Nikon D850 and Siril to convert the .nef to a .tif that I could import into an old version of Photoshop. It's a combination of two exposures with the main disc at 1/800 sec and the rim at 1/160 sec, both at ISO 100. I still have much to learn and the beautiful image in #17 inspires me to add another etalon to my scope if I'm still this active with solar viewing in a year or so.


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#21 hopskipson

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 04:33 PM

I'm considering getting involved with Solar Astronomy.  Before I spend more money on astronomy, I would like to determine if solar is right for me.  I would like to get a better understanding of what holds people's interest?  Night astronomy provides countless galaxy's, nebula's, the milky way, narrow band imaging, double stars, planets, occasional comets.  But, for solar, there is just one sun.  So, what is it that makes a hobby of this?  Can you really go out to observe, or photograph, the sun every day and always find something new, different, and interesting?

Obviously, only you can determine if it is right for you.  I live really close to the NEAF and every year I would love looking through all the solar scopes each year.  I asked the same question, why would anyone spend so much money to look at only one object.  I thought it over for a few years and asked a few questions on this forum and decided to get a Quark since I had 2 refractors to use it on.  Well after a few days of viewing I got it.  The Moon is great, it's close and you can see lots of details but for the most part, it stays the same.  The planets are great but you really need lots of aperture to see or image details.  DSO's are just faint fuzzy blotches that I need really dark skies to see. Ain't going to happen in my backyardundecided.gif .  There were so many dynamic things going on in the Sun and they constantly change from minute to minute. Small apertures reveal plenty of detail and I can go to bed at a reasonable hour.  It all made sense and now I'm addicted. lol.gif


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#22 D.T.

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 07:57 PM

I have a Lunt LS60THa, which I bought in 2015.  I thought it would be good for the then upcoming solar eclipse in 2017.  Then I found out that it is not the kind of solar scope that you use for an eclipse.  I did try it out and viewed some prominence's at the solar limb.  Since then it's just sat in my closet.  I have heard that it gets a lot more interesting if you have double stacked.  Just seeing the prominence's at the solar limb I didn't think was all that exciting.  But, I believe that I could send this back down to Lunt to get it  double stacked.  I think I can afford that.  It is true that this makes it much more interesting?  My Losmandy GM8 should be all I need for such a telescope.  Please Advise.



#23 rigel123

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 09:00 PM



I have a Lunt LS60THa, which I bought in 2015.  I thought it would be good for the then upcoming solar eclipse in 2017.  Then I found out that it is not the kind of solar scope that you use for an eclipse.  I did try it out and viewed some prominence's at the solar limb.  Since then it's just sat in my closet.  I have heard that it gets a lot more interesting if you have double stacked.  Just seeing the prominence's at the solar limb I didn't think was all that exciting.  But, I believe that I could send this back down to Lunt to get it  double stacked.  I think I can afford that.  It is true that this makes it much more interesting?  My Losmandy GM8 should be all I need for such a telescope.  Please Advise.

When the sun gets active, a single stacked scope will show you amazing views as well, the double stack simply increases the contrast of the surface, so don’t expect to be totally blown away with a DS if you weren’t impressed with seeing proms with the SS.  And you don’t have to send your scope to Lunt to add the DS, you can simply order the front mounted DS etalon.

 

Prom through a SS 60mm Lunt

 

get.jpg?insecure


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#24 mmalik

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 09:47 PM

And you don’t have to send your scope to Lunt to add the DS, you can simply order the front mounted DS etalon.

Can a front mounted etalon be added to a non-solar refractor as a single stack configuration? What's the difference between a stack and the blocking filter, e.g., B1200. Are both (a stack and a blocker) required for Sun; can Sun be observed with either one? If not, what is the minimum requirement to observe sun, a blocker or a stack?

 

 

Sorry, this is all quite confusing for a start up; but why hesitate to ask. Most of all, why Solar has such confusing terms, as etalon, blocker, filter, etc. I don't need an assay on etalon, just a simple one line answers as to the difference between an etalon and a blocker and do they have to together or not?

 

 

While I am at it, why the term double stack? Does it really mean two etalons in the imaging train? Word 'stack' has connotation of one next to the other, but then they can be used quite apart from each other. Thanks in advance. Regards


Edited by mmalik, 17 October 2020 - 09:48 PM.


#25 Arcamigo

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:28 PM

Prom through a SS 60mm Lunt

I'm impressed with the contrast in the spicules. I haven't seen that yet on my telescope and I didn't think that detail was possible with a single stack.




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