Sun Gazing

Mama told me not to, but ! what do mama know . . .

Our Star, the Sun, taken using a Coronado P.S.T. there are several solar filaments (proms) visible in this photo

Yes we have been told since we’re old enough to understand (well mebbe understand) NOT to look at the SUN . . . yup mama is right you’ll damn well go blind if you do look at our sun, it will destroy the imaging sensor on your camera as well.  BUT and there is the caveat in mama’s warning, “if you use proper equipment” you CAN look at the Sun.

  • use special Solar film $
  • use special glass Solar filter  $$$
  • use special etalon filters $$$$$$$

Each successive solution requires larger amounts of ($$$$ MONEY) think “Pink Floyds song MONEY” . . . and you’ve hit the nail square on the head.   Well me being the cheap SOB (wait that’s frugal) that I am I don’t mind buying used equipment when I can save a bit of the wonderful green stuff . . . . $$$

Ok . . . I digress from the subject . . . Sun Gazing . . . So I was interested in viewing and more importantly photographing the Sun.  There are layers of interest and our Sun is much like an onion starting with the Corona, Chromosphere, Photosphere, each of these layers has interest and each requires its own way of viewing. The easiest way to do this is White Light viewing with filters that block 99% of the harmful rays and light of the sun, these films and glass filters let you see sun spots and the granular (looking like a bowl of rice) surface features of the suns “Photosphere” which is where we see Sunspots which is interesting but I wanted to look at a different part of our suns surface . . . the “Chromosphere“, this is viewed using special filters for H – Alpha emissions and is where we see flares, Prominence and other cool swirls and activity on the Sun.  This requires blocking filters and etalon filters to filter everything else out except the narrow band of emissions we are interested in.  The cost of the equipment is outrageous but it is a special niche . . . enter the Coronado P.S.T. (Personal Solar Telescope) which is the companies entry level telescope/filter combination which is very nicely priced, but, still a substantial investment at $699 MSRP.  It is a great entry point but will not get you to those incredible photos you see of the seething swirling surface of our Sun.  That takes lots of work and what I am in the process of doing at this time.  There is a learning curve, and I am very impressed with what others have done using this device.  I will not go into the bits and parts that make up the PST as that is well documented on the internet . . . I will just give you a view of what I am attempting and the path I am taking.

Here is the rig/setup I am currently using . . .

The setup with Nikon d7000 & T adapter-eyepiece installed on the PST on a standard tripod.

This is the current setup, The eyepieces (eyepiece = EP) I am using have a T-threaded end to attach a T-adapter to it and the to a camera directly without additional adapters for the EP/Scope.  I find this pretty cool and it allows me different setups with different cameras at the EP. Such as using a astro video camera.

imaging chain, Astro Video cam, T-adapter, Eyepiece . . PST setup

So as you can see, there are plenty of configuration options and as I play with these setups I will post additional info and what works and what doesn’t.  Is the PST worth the price? yep.  Are those external filters for white light filtering ok? YUP . . .

Closeup of my imaging chain

 

See the following link for more info and filters Thousand Oaks Optical

So mama . . . I’m out Sun Gazing . . . Digi is outta here 😉 go take pictures

NOTE: please do heed all those warning about being safe when viewing the Sun . . . be safe, have fun.

late addition to the blog-post this shot is from earlier this afternoon, playing with the rig.

Todays Sun, 2 Proms were visible this afternoon, this is a single exposure 1/30 sec ISO 2000, Nikon D7000, 5mm Ultima DUO EP, Coronado PST

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Sun Gazing

  1. I fly into Portland, Oregon the day before the big solar eclipse in August(trade show trip accidentally timed right). So I have set aside the morning of the eclipse to take photos. But before then I need to find some filters and practice.

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