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Found 139 results

  1. [A few more photos are in the imgur album] Made this telescope for observing sunspots. The Sun gets projected onto a piece of paper after bouncing from 3 mirrors inside the frame. It's compact, light, takes only a few seconds to point at the Sun, and sketching sunspots is as easy as circling the spots on a piece of paper. It can even project the Moon: The design is inspired by a commerically available telescope, but I’ve done all the designing myself, just for the fun of it. Sunspotter is full of little details that make it interesting. How do you fix the eyepiece in the exact place where it needs to be? How do you keep the lens in place and perfectly aligned? Building the telescope was a lot of fun, I’ve learned to use a jigsaw, X-Carve and a 3D printer. The plan is to use it to complete the Astroleague Sunspotter Observing Program, but unfortunately I completed it at the minimum of a Sun cycle, and won’t see any sunspots until next year. Telescope parameters: Magnification: 75x Size: 41cm x 41cm x 15cm Weight: 1kg Design: Keplerian Projection size: 75mm Materials needed: Lens: Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic doublet Mirrors: 1, 2, 3 Eyepiece: Baader 10mm ortho 1.5m² of 10mm plywood Wooden glue 5m of PLA filament 12 nails Compressed air Isopropyl alcohol Tools I used: Jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity X-Carve 1000 3D printer A laser pointer Clamp Learned modelling basics in: LibreCAD Easel TinkerCAD Fusion 360 Part 1: Choosing the lens The idea of a sunspotter is that the light goes through the lens, travels inside the telescope, bouncing from 3 mirrors, enters an eyepiece and the image gets projected on one of its sides. The distance the light travels before entering an eyepiece is the focal length and it determines the size of the telescope. I chose a Ø52mm f=750mm achromatic double. Observing the Sun doesn’t require a large aperture, 50mm is more than enough. I wanted a high magnification and went for the longest focal length I could find, which was 750mm. Achromatic doublet design is what people use in refractors. If it is good enough for a refractor, it’s definitely good enough for my project. With the focal length chosen I could design the wooden parts. A drawing showed that the frame needed to have sides 30cm long, but I wasn’t sure about the placement of the mirrors and went for 31cm sides, planning to shorten the light path as needed by adjusting mirror positions. This is the LibreCAD drawing of the layout of parts on a piece of plywood: Part 2: Building the base Having a drawing of the base in LibreCAD, I printed the drawing 1:1 scale on multiple A4 sheets of paper and glued them together. I transferred the drawing to a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Applied this cardboard template to the sheet of plywood, and cut out two parts with a jigsaw.. I’m not an experienced user of jigsaw, and couldn’t manage to cut half-circles accurately enough. Even worse was that the two parts were very different. I didn’t want the frame to randomly tilt left or right when adjusting its altitude, and had to spend a lot of time with sandpaper to make the halves as similar as I could. Glued the two large parts with three small parts in the middle. Additionally nailed the parts and the base was ready. Part 3: Frame The frame is simply a triangle made of three pieces, with short sides cut at a 30° angle. Most jigsaws can cut at 45°, but not at 30°. Had to buy a new jigsaw with a 30° bevel capacity. Cut out three sides, cut short sides at a 30° angle, but didn’t put them together just yet. The lens needs to be perfectly aligned with the Sun-facing part of the frame, otherwise the Sun projection isn't circular but elongated. My solution was to carve a hole with a little step as shown on the image. The inner hole is Ø46.5mm, the outer hole is Ø50.8mm. The outer hole is the exact size to let the lens fit, but with a little bit of friction. Had to carve several holes to find the minimal size the lens could fit in. The step is just large enough to have enough surface for the glue to keep the lens in place, I didn't want to reduce the aperture too much. I used an X-Carve for carving and Easel for modelling. With all 3 sides ready, I could assemble the frame. It appeared that my 30° angle cuts were not very precise, but after some sandpapering the sides started fitting together alright. Glued the parts together and left them to dry for a day. To apply some pressure on the joints, I wound several twine loops around the frame really tight, made sure all sides fitted well together and left it to dry like that for a day. Part 4: Mirrors When selecting mirrors I was looking for the smallest mirror that fit the cone of light. Small mirrors are a lot easier to place, and they let me better control the length of the light path. I considered using elliptic mirrors, but they were bulky and really hard to place. All mirrors are first surface mirrors, otherwise planning their locations would be a lot more confusing. This was my original plan of placing the mirrors: As you can see, all the angles and distances were carefully measured, and I wanted to simply make mirror holders of those exact dimensions. This was clearly a bad idea. I 3d-printed some parts like this: And only later I realized that the frame angles are not exactly 60°, and that there are drops of glue along the edges that don’t let me fit the pieces deep enough in the joint between the sides. I cut angles from all the mirror holders: After I put the first mirror in place I realized the angles are all wrong, and that I needed to re-do the holder. Separating the mirror from the holder was a huge pain, which resulted in an accident. The mirror fell off the desk and got damaged. Luckily, only the back side got damaged, the front side was still working: The final designs of mirror holders looks like this: The holes in the front surface let me apply pressure on the back of the mirror if I ever want to separate it from the holder. The recesses collect the excess glue to avoid mirror skewing when gluing them. All other holes are simply to save the filament. Part 5: Placing mirrors What I learned is that you can’t plan positions of several pieces with high precision and just hope that it all comes together. I needed a feedback about the precision of mirror positions. I used a laser pointer to verify mirror positions at each step. In the picture you can see that the laser is firmly set in a hole in another piece of wood, with layers of isolation tape on the tip of the laser pointer to make it stable. A clamp holds the piece of wood in place, ensuring that the laser ray goes in the same direction as a solar ray would. A crosshair of black thread at the center of the lens ensures the laser goes exactly through the center of the lens. When placing each mirror, I marked the spot where I expected the laser to end up. While gluing the mirror holder to the frame, I kept the laser as close to that spot as possible. If for some reason, the laser couldn’t hit the expected spot, I did my best with placing the mirror, and recalculated locations of the following mirrors. I saw the first sunspots after placing all the mirrors and simply holding an eyepiece in hand. Part 6: Eyepiece holder I tried eyepieces of different focal length and liked the picture I got with a 10mm eyepiece the most. An eyepiece needs to be in a very exact spot to produce a sharp image. At this point it was obvious that my frame doesn’t match the model, and that I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong with the frame. I didn’t want to rely on the model and moved forward with trial-and-error. I printed several parts to hold the eyepiece, with different eyepiece locations: The part in the photo was a total disaster. It needed quite a lot of filament, at the same didn’t have enough surface area to be glued to the frame, and not enough surface area to hold the eyepiece firmly. The next iteration was a lot better: This part has a lot more surface area, and needs less filament to be printed. I intentionally printed the hole for the eyepiece too small, and had to sandpaper it a little bit, to make the eyepiece stay firmly fixed. Adjusting the focus is done by sliding the eyepiece up and down until the Sun becomes a circle with well defined borders. Part 7: Dust All optical parts should be kept clean. Dust on the mirrors and the lens will make the image darker. Dust on the eyepiece will show up as artifacts on the projected image. Unlike sunspots, the artifacts will not move with the Sun. To clean the eyepiece I used compressed air. To clean the mirrors I used isopropyl alcohol. Part 8: Fire safety Don’t leave devices with magnifying lenses lying around. Once the Sun happened to be in such a spot that its light went right through the lens, burning through the cap of the eyepiece. Luckily, nobody was hurt and no other damage was done. Part 9: Future work Build quality of the base is very poor. The frame tilts sideways when adjusting its altitude despite all my efforts. I’d like to build a new base, but leave all the work to the machines. I already have a model for an X-Carve to make both base parts, compatible with my current frame: A notch along the edge of the half-circle should eliminate the tilt. The precision of the machining should make the base very stable. Maybe next year, when sunspots become a common daily sight, I’ll get to this project. Thank you for reading this far! I hope you enjoyed it.
  2. this little active region put on quite a show and i captured till i ran out of drive space. 160 frames x 40ms delay. (220 frames in each stack) (8 seconds per video capture) (160 captures) Animated with https://gifmaker.org/ Cropped with avidub. Logo applied with avidub . Levels adjusted with avidub. Files converted with PIPP and registax 5.1 Three pass Processing done in ImPPG (.xml files attached) 127mm x 1200mm explore scientific first-light achromat with Meade 2x tele-negative barlow. Basler aca720-520um camera. Baader planetarium 36mm B-BCCD filter for energy rejection 1 angstrom calcium filter from Apollo Lasky @ http://calcium.solar https://explorescientificusa.com/products/fl-ar1271200maz01?_pos=8&_sid=9637d7ccc&_ss=r https://www.meade.com/meade-series-4000-126-2x-short-focus-barlow-lens-1-25.html https://www.baader-planetarium.com/en/baader-b-ccd-filter-(blue).html https://www.baslerweb.com/en/products/cameras/area-scan-cameras/ace/aca720-520um/ http://virtualdub.sourceforge.net/ https://greatattractor.github.io/imppg/ http://www.astronomie.be/registax/download.html https://sites.google.com/site/astropipp/downloads http://www.firecapture.de/ Thanks for watching! 1.xml 2.xml 3.xml
  3. 200 frames total. (this one gave me a bit of trouble aligning!)
  4. Hello! I have been really inactive here, so apologies. Here are a few images of the Solar Eclipse, happened on 21 June 2020. It was annular, but partial from Mumbai region (around 60% covered). Maximum phase of the eclipse was at around 11:30 a.m. IST. This is actually onset of our 4-5 months of monsoon season, so getting decent skies was a tough part. Luckily got decent cleared patches here and there with occasional rains. I had to use whatever I had to make a comfortable view of the eclipse, thanks to the lockdown. I simply took a box, made a whole of the size of the eyepiece on one end, cut the opposite side and attached a paper. I had to do little bit here and there attachments for perfect angle. But was really happy with the results. One of the best experience was when I was seeing the Sun while it was drizzling at the same time. Thanks! -Rhushikesh Deshpande.
  5. Hi Folks, I finally made the leap and purchased the Sky-Watcher SolarQuest Mount from FLO. I was a little sceptical about a perceived "one trick pony" but it does it well. and is such a simple set-up. I've not seen an awful lot of information on these so though I would share my initial thoughts and an unboxing video in the link below. Tracks the sun for hours and stays in the centre of view the whole time. The 8 way slider is for fine adjustment if required with quite a slow slew rate. It takes 8 x AA batteries which I was a little nervous about how long they would last but as its only making slight adjustments, seem to be lasting although there is the option of a 12v external supply. It's a very compact set up for storage and travel and a cinch to set up. Place on level ground using the built in bubble and turn on. Its surprisingly quick to level, get a GPS fix and track, tracks through the thinner clouds and if you do get thicker clouds you get a warning LED light up. Simplicity is genius. I know my setup might look like a cardboard box painted back inside ( I call it the command centre) but hey, it works. Happy for any questions you have.
  6. Hi! Newby here... What's the best software to do solar tracking and imaging on a Raspberry Pi (Astroberry)? I have been learning how to use Kstars/Ekos/INDI and it's working pretty well at night, but since now the nights are super short and the sun is more "exposed" I'm also trying to do solar imaging. Astroberry oacapture, but how can I control the mount to perform solar tracking? Normaly I use EKOS for this, but then I can't use it with solar film capture. Please let me know which software you use to connect the mount, focuser and camera (QHY-II-5L-C). It's ok to control the mount and focuser in a separate software, but using two separate INDI sessions seems to crash it. Advice and recommendations are welcome! Thanks & Clear skies! Tiago
  7. 125mm x 1200mm + Coronado pst etalon / 15mm blocking filter = Basler 1920-155um
  8. Managed to get some solar observing in this week, trying to get back into it after quite a break. Having been away some time I'm definitely out of practice., so I'm trying to record my amateur attempts and publicly shame myself on YouTube so I can learn from them as I go along. Also need a tracking mount, its hard trying to do manually and focus at the same time. I'm in absolute awe of some of the stuff you lot produce, absolutely fantastic. This footage was from Wednesday 15th April 2020, very different compared to April 2014. Solar Minimum v Maximum comparison
  9. Hey all, I made an acquisition and processing tutorial a while back (3 years ago? Yikes!) and it is fairly dated in terms of what I'm doing these days. I've been asked for a long time to make a new one showing what I'm doing these days. Specifically how I'm processing a single shot image for both the surface and prominences and how to process them together to show prominences and the surface at once. I've abandoned doing split images and composites and strictly work from one image using layers. Acquisition does not use gamma at all anymore. Nothing terribly fancy, but it's not exactly intuitive so hopefully this new video will illustrate most of the fundamentals to get you started. Instead of an hour, this time it's only 18 minutes. It's real time from start to finish. I'm sorry for the long "waiting periods" where I'm just waiting for the software to finish its routine, it lasts 1.5 minutes and 30 seconds tops typically at first. The first 4 minutes is literally just stacking & alignment in AS!3. I typically will go faster than this, but wanted to slow down enough to try to talk through what I'm doing as I do it. Hopefully you can see each action on the screen. I may have made a few mistakes or said a few incorrect things or terms, forgive me for that, this is not my day job. I really hope it helps folk get more into processing as its not difficult or intimidating when you see a simple process with only a few things that are used. The key is good data to begin with and a good exposure value. Today's data came from a 100mm F10 achromatic refractor and an ASI290MM camera with an HA filter. I used FireCapture to acquire the data with a defocused flat frame. No gamma is used. I target anywhere from 65% to 72% histogram fill. That's it! The processing is fast and simple. I have a few presets that I use, but they are all defaults in Photoshop. A lot of the numbers I use for parameters are based on image scale, so keep that in mind, experiment with your own values. The only preset I use that is not a default is my coloring scheme. I color with levels in Photoshop, and my values are Red: 1.6, Green 0.8, Blue 0.2 (these are mid-point values). Processing Tutorial Video (18 minutes): https://youtu.be/RJvJEoVS0oU RAW (.TIF) files available here to practice on (the same images you will see below as RAW TIFs): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zjeoux7YPZpGjlRGtX6fH7CH2PhB-dzv Video for Acquisition, Focus, Flat Calibration and Exposure (20 minutes): (Please let me know if any links do not work) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Results from today using this work flow method. Colored: B&W: SSM data (sampled during 1.5~2 arc-second seeing conditions): Equipment for today: 100mm F10 Frac (Omni XLT 120mm F8.3 masked to 4") Baader Red CCD-IR Block Filter (ERF) PST etalon + BF10mm ASI290MM SSM (for fun, no automation) Very best,
  10. Made a solar finder out of a spare skywatcher finder-scope using the pinhole camera principle. Removed lenses, covered front with foil and added a pinhole with a needle. Held in place With elastic bands (could use something more permanent but this is very easy to replace). The lens cap still fits over the foil for protection when not in use. On the rear I used some kitchen parchment taped to the inside of the adapter that holds the “eyepiece stalk” and added a crosshair. Pinhole projection gives a solar disk about 3-4mm and whole thing is adjustable as per the normal finder-scope. Tested yesterday and works a treat, I can now get the Quark on target without having to use the WL wedge with 25mm then 8mm to get it aligned first.
  11. For some reason I've found time to use the Solar Film I've had for 2 years...fitted to 25 x 100 bins. I may have to paint them though.. ps... the Wine was nice. Stay safe all
  12. From the album: Solar Images

    © CC BY SA John Bracegirdle 2020

  13. 160mm x 1600mm + Lunt LS50C etalon. Thanks for looking! <br>
  14. I asked a few weeks ago about charging two batteries from one solar panel. I’ve now got a solar controller which can do this, see below, but I’m confused by the instruction manual, especially how I should set the “charging priority”. I assumed the unit would charge battery 1 until full, then move on and charge battery 2 until full, then go back to 1. I’m not sure what this charging priority is - image of the relevant page from the manual below. I’d be grateful to hear what you think it means. Thanks. James.
  15. Hello all! i am finally wetting my feet in AP and will be starting with solar, i will be using my Lunt LS60 pressure tuned with B1200 and starlight feather touch focuser on a GP mount with NO TRACKING, do i need TRACKING for solar? is hand tracking feasible?? considering the scope and its features i am looking for a suitable starter camera. I do understand that a mono camera will be best considering mono will fully utilize the sensors capability, but i wonder how so many here on SGL capture beautiful images in such detail in colour? is false colour added after? i would love a colour image for print purposes i don't mind working in mono but i would love my final processed image to be in colour. Im so new to AP of any kind and i have no idea so your advice would be amazing, my budget for a camera would be around US $350, there are many cameras in my local astronomy buy and sell which i will list below. Aside from the camera itself do they typically come with processing software? if not what software would be good for solar? i am a photographer and i always work in RAW format images for developing in Adobe Lightroom, having RAW format images would be fantastic. In a nutshell im not looking to earn first place in solar imaging on SGL but i would like to utilize my experience post processing RAW images and apply my skills to solar images to produce an image i can be proud of, please weigh in and suggest some cameras within my budget as i will need to invest in a small laptop computer to boot. These cameras fall within my budget, obviously the higher Res the camera the better but some of you may have had great results with the cheaper options below?? i forgot to mention that my goal would be a full disc image in colour which confuses me because although mono is best of course the beautiful full disc images ive seen here, some with the ASI178mm are in colour?!! Orion Starshoot DSI II Monochrome Celestron Skyris 236M monochrome Celestron Skyris 132M monochrome ZWO ASI290 mini Mono ZWO ASI120mm mono ZWO ASI178mm mono
  16. From the album: Solar Images

    The Sun Coronado PST & QHY5L-II

    © MGough 2016

  17. From the album: Astronomical Objects

    one with less zoom
  18. Stub Mandrel

    Suin3

    From the album: Solar

    This morning using a fog filter
  19. We have a fledgling Astronomical Society at my place of work and we're intending to have some telescopes available for colleagues to view the transit of Mercury in November. While the majority will use appropriate solar filters it would be good to have at least one set up for projection. However, we only have reflectors and Schmitt or Maksutov Cassegrain scopes among the members. I was considering buying a small refractor second hand to use for this but thought I'd ask for advice here first. Which is the best type of scope to use for projection? What do we need to look out for (overheating & fire risks for example)? What is the best umbrella to protect kit from the inevitable deluge on the 11th November? Thanks Mark
  20. I've made a pinhole projector out of a carpet roll tube which is about 8' long. I made a small window in the bottom end, added the white platform for the projection in the bottom, and covered the top with a small patch of tin foil with a hole in it. I have tried pointing it at the sun so that the shadow is at its smallest but I cannot get a projection of the sun on the white plastic surface I put in the bottom, what am I doing wrong? The only thing I can think of is that the projection is too dim and cannot be seen, if that is the case then what is the answer? I'm thinking maybe I need more shade around the viewing window, or maybe I need to use paper instead of white plastic to project onto (can't see why though - white is white). Any pinhole projector experts here who can advise please?
  21. Here's a 10 frame animation. 1 frame per minute. It shows the movement of this large prominence over a very short time frame. A full frame shot to show the relative size of this huge prominence. And another shot with a black dot that shows the relative size of the Earth. Tech Details: Lunt 80mm Ha telescope, ZWO ASI1600mm cooled camera. Processed in AutoStakkert!2 and ImPPG, colorized and layered in PhotoshopCC.
  22. Apologies if the sun vanishes for a while - my new Lunt arrived and is now unboxed and ready for use - hoping for some sun this afternoon. I got the skytee 2 so I can have the TV85 alongside with the Baader wedge. It'll be interesting to compare viewing through both scopes.
  23. My first attempt at photographing a Transit and I decided to try for the 2nd and 3rd Contacts, but of course as those in the UK will know, the final phase of the Mercury Transit was clouded out. So, here's my attempt to capture "2nd Contact" using a Canon 600D (unmodded) at eyepiece projection with a Baader Hyperion 17mm, Baader Solar Continuum filter, Lunt Herschel Wedge and a Skywatcher ED80 DS Pro on a HEQ5:
  24. Hope this is the right place for my post So with the 9th of May approaching I want to try the following add a solar filter to my Skywatcher Explorer 250 Add a camera instead of the eyepiece and then via the laptop project onto a flat screen in the club house so members of the public can see it in total saftey So a few questions 1 - so the skywatcher cover has the removable 2 inch cap and reading online it seems for the sun this is the best approach, leave the cover on and have a filter over the smaller hole - can I buy a premade cover for the 2 inch hole 2 - Cameras - I have a choice of QHY5, QHY5 II or an oldder Philips Webcam spc900nc - any thought on which would be the best to use ? 3 - What software would be most appropriate for this project Thanks in advance John B
  25. After opinions please ... I have a C8 that I use for planetary imaging / visual and a 250 px Dob for DSO visual . I haven't touched the Dob for what seems like forever and keep using the C8 more and more . I have about £300 Christmas / birthday money and keep thinking about selling the Dob to maybe fund something like a Lunt 35 or 60 second hand to throw on the AVX ? Have any of you been through this process and were you happy ? Cheers for reading
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