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Ultra cheap, extra safe solar observation


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A bit of tinkering  ...

On the principle that best way to observer the sun safely is indirectly I have built the following

One blue peter style white light filter


One hacked about web cam


One aging XP laptop running sharpcap


All connected to a 4" achromat on an unguided but driven equatorial


Which with a bit of tinkering in registax and no experience whatsoever gets me this;


(there doesn't seem to be a lot happening on the sun at the moment!)

Next step is to replace the laptop with a raspberry pi running a web server and add a focal reducer so the solar image will fit on the web cam sensor. Lining up roughly on the sun is easy enough just by overlapping the finder mounting ring shadows but with a field of view that seems to be less that 1/4° getting it onto the sensor is tricky.

Safe parts are that noone ever sees an eyepiece in the setup and it can all be watched remotely so noone even needs to touch the scope.

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I've been setting up for tomorrow's eclipse.   The sun (if visible) will be shining on my back garden, but not into any part of the house.  So I have binoculars (one side masked) on a tripod in the garden shed. With the door pulled nearly closed, I can dim the shed, catching a band of sunlight on the bin lens.  Then project the image on to a screen of white paper in the shadowed part of the shed.  I'm not sure how sharp an image I'm getting.  When I last did this (1999, cheaper/ smaller bins) I could see sunspots.  Couldn't detect any today, although when the sun moved behind a neighbouring tree, I could focus to a really sharp outline of the twigs.

Now all I need is some clear sky around 9.30 tomorrow morning.  I'm not getting my hopes up too high... :rolleyes2:


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