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Midpoint

First White Light Solar Images

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According to my log, it's been nearly a year since I last managed to set up my scope (24-03-2012) which goes to show just how bad the weather last year was. Here's hoping for a better 2013!

Fortunately, as it looks like a few of you have also noticed, the sun was out today with not too many clouds about and I just happened to have treated myself to a solar filter for my Nexstar 6SE at Astrofest last weekend. After a failed and cloudy attempt to try it out yesterday, I finally had my first solar observing session. I have to say, I was impressed with just how clearly you could pick out the sun spots and my poor attempts at photography just don't do it justice. :)

I first tried getting a few images with my 550D. Achieving focus was much harder than I expected. Not being able to view much surface detail in the live view and the view finder image being awkward and small didn't help here. But here's the best of the lot (tinted for artistic effect):

gallery_7592_2395_4051.jpg

ISO 200

Exposure 1/400

I'm trying to decide if I should use a higher ISO and shorter exposure, it was pretty close between the above and ISO 400, exposure 1/1000.

I also had a go at trying to image a couple of the sun spots using a trusty old SPC900 web cam. This again proved much harder than I expected to achieve focus and so I'm actually very impressed with what Registax was able to do with my captures! In fact, trying to focus the web cam really opened my eyes to how much even a light breeze can affect image stability.

gallery_7592_2395_6095.jpg

gallery_7592_2395_5534.jpg

So there we go, my first daylight observing session under the confused gaze of the neighbours. I need to work on my focusing technique a bit more and learn how to identify sun spots so that I can actually label them in my images.

What a rambling post that duplicates a bunch of images that are already in this forum :p

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It's tough to get back into the swing of things after a long break, so I think you've done well here. Having a laptop to work on for focusing is a real benefit. I'm impressed that anyone can manage it through the viewfinder.

If you have a number of images it's worth trying to stack them. I usually take around 100 to 120 and stack around half to produce my final image. I think Steve and Roger are pretty much in the same ball-park. It's possible to take them using a £15 programmable remote from Amazon if all else fails.

James

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Hi,

Nice first try after a long break. I like the close ups of the sunspots, very good. It isn't easy to see anything in the bright sunlight, either the laptop screen or the camera. I usually image from a door way or my garage at home so the scope is in the sun but the laptop out of the sun. At work, I image from the car with the drivers door providing the shade.

A handy tip, if you use a laptop start with your back to the sun and the laptop screen in the shade of your body. As you are facing away from the sun and your eyes focus on the laptop screen your pupils will open to the largest and allow you to see the screen with the best detail. This is what I do to focus then I put the laptop down whilst I run the image, you don't really need to see whilst running an avi. It might look a bit odd, holding the laptop in one hand whilst the other is half way round your back trying to focus, but it does work. Others use an umbrella or a dark coat to get some shade.

Robin

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I hadn't thought about getting a programmable remote, I'll look into that. Do you know if you can do the same thing with EOS Utility?

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No idea about EOS Utility, but I use AstroPhotography Tool for controlling my 450D. If you can use a laptop then that or Backyard EOS will probably make your life much easier.

James

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Great start there,

Unfortunately the imaging plan part of EOS Utilities only works with lenses attached , not if you're hooked up to a scope.

Would recommend "APT" for this . . . http://www.ideiki.com/astro/

I'd also recommend Rogers' excellent tutorial . . .

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Oh, yes, I really shouldn't have forgotten that. Roger's tutorial is very good indeed and a great starting point for adventures in imaging both the Sun and, with very little modification, the Moon as well. Definitely give it a read through.

James

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No idea about EOS Utility, but I use AstroPhotography Tool for controlling my 450D. If you can use a laptop then that or Backyard EOS will probably make your life much easier.

James

Is it possible to do all the control via USB or do you need to connect a serial line as well? If so, presumably to where a remote connects on the 450D?

Thanks

Steve

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