Category : The Sun

My Solar Eclipse Photo on Sky News

My Solar Ecliplse Image from 1st August 2008 on Sky News WebsiteSky News have also added my partial solar eclipse image to its website, I have taken a snapshot of the Sky News page below, click on the image to see it fullsize.

If you want to see the image on Sky News, (and hopefully the link still works), click here.

My Solar Eclipse Photo on BBC Look East

After taking my couple of photos of the partial solar eclipse I sent them to BBC Look East, and one of the images was shown on the TV in the weather section of the program along with other peoples photos as well.

Below is a video of the program, mine is the last photo in the stack.

Partial Solar Eclipse in the UK, August 2008

I managed to get outside early enough to start taking some images today with my Canon DSLR and using a Meade f3.3 focal reducer and LX200 telescope. 

I did begin trying to use a webcam to record the whole event, as I would have liked to have had a video of the whole event, but with a lot of cloud and not being able to see the laptop screen outside, I gave up and used the digital camera instead.

My images show a mirror image as the moon passed the sun on the top left, and not the bottom right, maybe next time I should flip the images first in a paint program before displaying them.

Early Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipsed, UK 1st August 2008

How to Find the Sun

This seems a bit of a strange blog post title, but I was finding it difficult to get my LX200 telescope to actually find and track the sun when I was undertaking some solar observing.

The first time I found the Sun it was by chance, as it’s difficult when you can’t actually look at the Sun or use the viewfinder to locate the Sun.

There are a few different ways to locate the sun, but the reason I really wrote this post is to tell you about the new piece of kit I got for my Birthday for about £20, which now makes finding the Sun really easy.

I have a Sun location file which you can upload to your telescope which allows you to have the location of the Sun in your LX200 handset, you can find it on my downloads page.

I also read somewhere that you can locate the Sun when the reflection of the telescope tripod on the ground is at it’s smallest.

But I purchased the Astro Engineering AC466 item which turns your viewfinder into a solar viewfinder.

Astro Engineering AC466 Solar Viewfinder AttacmentAll it does is fit over the end of your viewfinder and it’s then tightened via a thumbscrew. It has a hole in one end and cross-hairs at the other end.

All you then need to do is then align the white spot, which is the Sun coming through the small hole onto the cross-hairs and the Sun is centered! Brilliant and easy for around £20.

The AC466 solar finder fits directly over the front of the standard 50mm finder of the type used on Meade®, Celestron, Sky Watcher and many other telescopes.

Observing the Sun with the LX200

I recently purchased a second hand Hartmann mask together with an ETX90 solar filter from astrobuysell. Today I had my first chance to try it out and view the sun.

LX200 with Hartmann Mask and SolarThe Hartmann mask covers the front of the LX200, just like the telescope cover. It contains three screws which are tightened so that the mask cannot be accidentally removed or fall off. The solar filter screws into one of the masks three viewing holes. The glass solar filter is actually designed primarily for use by the ETX90 telescope.

I had no idea of how to get the LX200 and autostar to find and keep track of the sun. I had never used the telescope before in the daytime. I began by letting the LX200 go through it’s set up procedure and then just pressed ‘Enter’ when it asked me to align to the brightest star. I then looked on Starry Night Pro for a star near to the Sun, and selected that.

It was difficult to know where the telescope was pointing, so I also looked on Starry Night Pro to find out the RA and Dec positions of the Sun. I then entered these into Autostar and had the telescope slew to this position. After a little tweaking I found the Sun in the eyepiece.

I initially decided I was only going to view the Sun through my Philips web cam, but after not being able to get an image through the web cam I decided to view the sun through the eyepiece using my 40mm Antares eyepiece.

I had already fitted my f/6.6 focal reducer to the telescope which allowed me to view the whole disc of the sun in the eyepiece.

I then swapped out the eyepiece and inserted my webcam, but did not manage to get the sun to display on the laptop, nor did I manage to use my Canon DSLR to get some images. So instead I just put my Canon IXUS up to the eyepiece and took a photo, and here it is:

The Sun with 40mm Eyepiece taken using Canon IXUS500

As you can see there are no distinguishing marks on the image, perhaps some new filters will change this, as I have been reading a lot about H-alpha pass filters and Solar Continuum filters.

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