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Which Solar Filter Do I Choose??


NSastronomer
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Hi Neil,

Thanks for the info!

I also have a Meade NGC 70mm refractor scope I bought locally for $40 bucks, it actually has very good optics, I took some test pics of terrestrial objects with my DSLR connected to it and they look pretty good, not "camera lens" quality, but pretty good none the less.

Maybe I'll play around with solar viewing with that scope as well as you mentioned your doing with yours.

Chris :)

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Well, I finished my solar filter, it's not pretty, but it will hopefully be effective.

I used the metal 6" stove pipe cap for fire places, and sandwiched the film filter between 2 rings of cardboard with double sided tape, and double sided taped the cardboard assembly into the metal housing. I know, it's ugly, and rushed of course.

The only thing I have to do is to line the inside of the metal filter housing with foam weather stripping to make sure it does not scratch my scope.

Also, I connected my dash cam to the old Meade 70mm scope just to test it, and it seems to be working OK, so I can't wait to try it on my 127SLT once the weather clears up. We have another Nor'easter coming Monday/Tuesday, and it's cloudy with flurries off and on until then, bummer :)

I never realized how much dust was all over everything until I seen these pics, lol

Chris :)

 

solar-19march2016-1-sm.jpg

solar-19march2016-3-sm.jpg

dash-cam-on-meade-19march2016--11-sm.jpg

dash-cam-on-meade-19march2016-sm.jpg

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On 3/19/2016 at 13:45, Leveye said:

Kendrick in Canada also makes custom solar filters for observing or photographic use. Check them out. They sell just the rings.

I've been looking at those, I will probably invest in one of those once I can get a good image with the black poly Thousand Oaks filter first I guess.

I'm having trouble getting the sun in focus for some reason.

Today I tested out the filter for the 1st time, (It was actually sunny, YAY, snowstorm tomorrow though, lol) and I just could not get a sharp image no matter what I did. I connected my Olympus E-450 DSLR directly to the 1278SLT scope (meaning no diagonal mirror, direct to tube) and was able to get proper exposures no problem, but I just could not get the image sharp no matter how I focused back and forth. I don't know why, I've imaged other things with the DSLR, and it seemed OK, not camera lens sharp, but sharp enough anyways.

I connected my webcam and got the same results. I'm confused.

For some reason, it won't let me attach a pic here, I don't know why, I've resized it to very small, but it keeps saying "You are only allowed to upload 1024K". Hmmm...

Chris :)

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I have both a glass-filter for full-aperture of my 200mm Newt. And a Thousand Oaks for my ST80. I've been told the TO filter is less sensitive than the Baader-Film one's. But I prefer the less-intense orange solar-disk it gives me for extended observations - like the up-and-coming transit of Mercury.

Dave

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Hmmm...it's letting me upload an image now, werid, it wouldn't let me earlier.

Here is a pic I took today with the Thousand Oaks filter film, it was shot at around 15/s (can't remember exactly, sorry) at ISO 400, no barlow, Olympus E-450 DSLR connected straight to the tube.

I tried it both with the diagonal and without, the result was basically the same, as was also the same with my webcam attached. I'm wondering if there is something out of whack with my scope. I touched this up very slightly with paint shop pro, just enhanced the contrast a bit, but that' all.

I don't know why I can't seem to get it in focus. I should get better results than this with my Celestron 127SLT NexStar telescope, this camera, and this filter shouldn't I??

At least I can see the sunspots, that's a start i guess, but I'm pretty disappointed thus far. I'm a perfectionist, and used to call myself a photographer many moons ago, so I know what a "good" image looks like, this is not one of them...lol.

Chris :)

20march2016-1st-sun-pics-1-sm.jpg

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It might just be the seeing or haze - here are two examples using the Baader film, both focused and taken using setup on different days and both stacks of many shots and both sharpened and processed to bring out the detail. The second ruin the seeing was poor and I was able to get best focus on the edge of the sun, on the first one the seeing was better and I could focus on the sunspot. Zoom in and judge the difference for yourself.

Whole_Sun_11_2_16.thumb.jpg.bf256191b976

 

56efcbcd7b50e_WholeDisk.thumb.jpg.c83b25

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

It might just be the seeing or haze - here are two examples using the Baader film, both focused and taken using setup on different days and both stacks of many shots and both sharpened and processed to bring out the detail. The second ruin the seeing was poor and I was able to get best focus on the edge of the sun, on the first one the seeing was better and I could focus on the sunspot. Zoom in and judge the difference for yourself.

Whole_Sun_11_2_16.thumb.jpg.bf256191b976

 

56efcbcd7b50e_WholeDisk.thumb.jpg.c83b25

Those are great images, thanks for posting them.

The quality of the first image is what I am expecting/hoping to eventually achieve , I knew I wasn't going to be able to capture the X-ray spectrum or solar flares, or the alien space ship near the sun (just kidding obviously, lol) with a $20 filter, but I was hoping to just get sharp decent images that would capture at the very least sun spots and hopefully some other anomalies or irregularities if they occurred.

Maybe it was a combination of bad seeing, and possibly even some camera shake form the wind, as there was a bit of wind, but I did take some frames of above 1/60/s at a higher ISO, and they also looked the same, only grainier of course. My camera only goes up to 1600ISO.

My camera has a 2sec or 12sec self timer delay, so I chose 12 second delay to ensure all shake form the tripod was hopefully gone, I'm going to have to harden up my tripod, I know it's a known issue with those and I have read about the fix for that.

I can imagine I must have looked funny to the neighbors out in my back yard with a telescope sweating under a large bath towel just so I could see the LCD or even to focus the camera, without putting the towel over my head and the camera, I couldn't see a thing, especially when I tried to use the live view on my LCD.

Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate the guidance!

Chris :)

 

 

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Are you stacking your images?

I use a remote timer, so 100-200 fames is easy to get. I use 800 iso, which is as sharp as anything with the 450D.

I pre-process them using PIPP, stack in Autostakkert!2 and sharpen with Astra. I then use photoshop or photopaint for final tweaks (such as making them yellow).

 

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2 hours ago, Bobby1970 said:

You did remove the protective film from the baader material didn't you?

Its a very fine clear plastic material. If left on it would degrade the image quality.

 

Hi there,

This is not Baader film, this is the Thousand Oaks black polymer filter film. It was a 6X6 sheet, and came sandwiched between 2 pieces of card board. There did not appear to be any kind of layer attached to it.

This is just a single frame, not stacked. I was using my DSLR, not my video camera, so I only took like 10 or 12 frames before I was unable to bend my neck any more to focus the camera.

It was a bit uncomfortable for me as I am disabled with severe chronic pain, especially in my neck, crouching under the telescope with my neck pointed upward under a towel in the hot sun while kneeling on concrete slabs is not exactly fun, so I'll be glad when I get a monitor hooked up and can sit at a table next to the scope and focus the scope that way.

Thanks again for your advice guys!

Chris :)

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Hi Chris,

A camera with a flip out screen might be a good idea for you!

If you have a canon DSLR the interval timers are quite cheap on ebay.

By the way, I meant to mention the various software I mentioned is free, and worth trying with  even just a relatively small number of frames.

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22 hours ago, NSastronomer said:

I've been looking at those, I will probably invest in one of those once I can get a good image with the black poly Thousand Oaks filter first I guess.

I'm having trouble getting the sun in focus for some reason.

Today I tested out the filter for the 1st time, (It was actually sunny, YAY, snowstorm tomorrow though, lol) and I just could not get a sharp image no matter what I did. I connected my Olympus E-450 DSLR directly to the 1278SLT scope (meaning no diagonal mirror, direct to tube) and was able to get proper exposures no problem, but I just could not get the image sharp no matter how I focused back and forth. I don't know why, I've imaged other things with the DSLR, and it seemed OK, not camera lens sharp, but sharp enough anyways.

I connected my webcam and got the same results. I'm confused.

For some reason, it won't let me attach a pic here, I don't know why, I've resized it to very small, but it keeps saying "You are only allowed to upload 1024K". Hmmm...

Chris :)

I always try to focus using the edge of the sphere/disc be it the Moon or Sun. Seems to help. Just back and forth to dial it in. Of course stacking video frames is the best way to do this type of thing. I do get great results from single shots with my DSLR. Hope you can figure it out. Zooming in with liveview really helps. I have a USB focuser on my SCT now. The only way to roll for me. 

Edited by Leveye
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7 hours ago, Bobby1970 said:

Apologies, i only quickly scanned through the thread. 

Ignore everything i said. :-)

lol

 

Hey, no problem, you tried to help, thanks for that!

I can never read all of the posts on these things either, and I actually RUN my own message board for opals & gemstones...lol

:)

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3 hours ago, Leveye said:

I always try to focus using the edge of the sphere/disc be it the Moon or Sun. Seems to help. Just back and forth to dial it in. Of course stacking video frames is the best way to do this type of thing. I do get great results from single shots with my DSLR. Hope you can figure it out. Zooming in with liveview really helps. I have a USB focuser on my SCT now. The only way to roll for me. 

I do that too, I'll pick a feature, and try to bring it into crisp focus. I tried to use the sunspots as the focus reference, and it actually looked "OK" on the view finder, but in reality once I looked at the actual shots on my PC, they were way too soft.

I really want a focuser for my telescope, I hope I can find a used one one of these days, I've already far exceeded my budget for this, but that's always the way these hobbies are :)

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Well, it must just be the seeing, I used my new replacement Celestron 127SLT MAK and I still couldn't seem to get anything in super sharp focus.

I tried my webcam with the Thousand Oaks black poly solar filter with Sharp Cap, I tried using my Olympus E-450 DSLR, I tried using my modified car dash cam, all results were similar, even when stacking with Registax.

This is a single frame picture taken with my Olympus E-450 set at 400ISO, 1/50th shutter speed. All I did to it was slightly boosted the contrast in Paint Shop Pro.

It's still not super detailed, or crisp by any means, so I'm guessing since 2 different scopes rendered the same results, it's just the "seeing" that isn't good.

I'm wondering if I'm ever going to get good results with this setup or not.

Chris :)

27march2016-sun-1.jpg

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

A bit of judicious sharpening and contrast enhancement helps, but there's not a great deal going on (small dark patch just up and to the left of the big spot.

Try using PIPP then Autostakkert, followed by wavelets in registax.temp_sun.jpg

 

Thanks Niel,

So, this resolution is normal for a single frame of a DSLR??

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2 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I would say so. You need to stack 50 or so frames but don't expect miracles. Also you have a fairly boring active region there, when you get a bigger one there will be more to bring out :

AR12443.jpg

 

Thanks again Niel,

My cheap webcam that did so well on Jupiter just couldn't seem to comprehend the Sun for some reason, I couldn't bring it into focus, and it was all washed out, even adjusting the brightness contrast gamma ect didn't seem to make a difference for some reason. On top of that, a bunch of crud somehow got onto the imaging chip, and I just could not get it off no matter what I did. lol.

The car dash cam I converted for imaging took OK videos, but they were like the DSLR image, soft focus looking, and I can't stack the images that the dash cam records because it records in .MOV format, and registax does not accept that format.

I don't know what "free" software I can get to convert the .MOV to an .AVI file, I guess if I could do that then the HD dash cam could be of use as I could then stack the images in registax.

Any suggestions?

Thanks again for all your help and suggestions!

Chris :)

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Seeing does make a huge difference, and focus is critical. You should be able to get better results I would think. These were hand held with a smartphone but using a Herschel Wedge rather than solar film which I would expect to be sharper.

Green ones are unprocessed, using a Baader continuum filter. A good green filter can help sharpen up details. Sometimes IR leak can cause fuzziness too if you've modified the webcam so an IR cut filter can help. The mono ones are processed but still all single shots on the phone and processed on the phone. I did have the advantage of a massive Active Region to image though!

image.jpeg

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Those are great photos!

Thanks for sharing them.

I would be blaming the telescope, but as I mentioned, I received my 1st telescope with a scratched lens, so I received a replacement, and I had both telescopes here at the same time to compare them before I shipped the first damaged one back to amazon, both telescopes produced the same results.

Since I'm using 3 different imaging devices (a modified webcam, a DSLR and a modified car HD dash cam) and tried 2 different telescopes, and they all seem to produce the same results, I can come to one of 2 conclusions:

1) I suck at imaging...lol

2) The seeing must be playing a role here.

I've tried multiple exposures with the DSLR and multiple camera settings, even sharpening and vivid settings, nothing seemed to change the final image quality.

I purchased a webcam adapter that screws in to where the lens unscrews from the webcam, and it has a coated glass element inside it, whether or not it is an IR cut filter, I don't know. I've been thinking about obtaining some filters, an IR filter, light pollution filter ect, but funds are an issue right now.

If I could get images like yours, I would be happy with that level of quality.

It must be the seeing, because visually, when I'm focusing on the sunspot with my naked eye via the DSLR view finder, it does not look totally in focus, so if to my naked eye it does not look sharp, I don't expect it to be sharp in the images.

Again, I would blame the telescope for this, but what are the odds of both 127SLT MAK scopes having a focusing issue?

Thanks again for your advice!

Chris :)

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