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I'm posting in the hope it helps anyone else considering a Daystar Scout SS60. The video's not quite representative of what one sees looking through the scope, but gives a general idea of field of view through a 24mm EP. When observing, much more prominence detail and surface texture is visible to the eye and the colour feels less red than it appears in the vid.
I'd have taken this video sooner if I'd realised that afocal video would work so well, so I'll try again next time the sun's available earlier in the day during better seeing. The video's taken by holding an iPhone against an Explore Scientific 24mm eyepiece and adjusting exposure (i.e. afocal video photography). Although I find a Plossl as easy (if not easier) to use as a wide EP for observing, it's simpler to align a smartphone with an eyepiece that has a wider field of view, for afocal video. Hence I used a 24mm ExSc (see below for detail). It seems a fairly quiet solar day, not long after the notoriously quiet 2020 and I believe is still close to the beginning of the sun's new 11 year cycle (hopefully it will become more exciting soon but not as exciting as having any Carrington Events pointing towards us).
I spent some hours, from late morning, watching these prominences form, dissipate and reform. The prom on the Western limb was very tall and bright, looking like a large rectangular tower block, which gradually split, faded as the top looped over to the north, then the top looped back again to the south. At one point this loop appeared to join - forming the outline of the head of a man, whose figure, with arms out, was clear and rather funny. Wish I'd taken this video sooner (or had the ASI183 to hand). The prom quietened and reached its current state (3pm ish) as seen in the video.
The long group of prominences to the South - 4 main and some smaller - were more dim than the prom on the Western limb initially, but they remained impressive, ranging from good to very small and appeared at one point to be as clear row of pine trees, especially the larger right hand prom, with spiky 'branches' and a distinctive triangular fir tree shape, which gradually brightened then faded to this view. The tip of the ‘sharks fin’ to the left of the group extended out to the east then receded.
I'm afraid it's not easy to see the detail in such a simple video - it's slighly more visible to the naked eye. By the time I took this video it had gone 3pm, there was more haze and a lower sun and none of the prominences were particularly impressive.
There were No sunspots easily visible, although a Plage appeared to be visible close to the Westerly limb. Little surface detail other than orange peel, despite tuning the scope (better with the SS60s dial to left of centre for this today). I still need to lots more time with the scope to get the best from it.
I'm a Ha beginner having only observed in whitelight before and only having used this scope twice before, once in combination with a ZWO ASI 183MC astrophotography video camera. Medium seeing, 6/3/21 'third light' on the Daystar Scout SS60 Scope with fixed chromasphere quark built in - 930mm f15 60mm.
Various Eye pieces used: Plossl 40mm, Meade Super Plossl 26mm, Explore Scientific 24mm and 11mm 82 and 68 degree EPs gave good clarity and contrast, but the seeing's not good enough for close viewing of proms. ioptron motor, roughly pointed north was perfectly sufficiently good to keep the sun in view for at least 45 mins at a time. I'll edit this post to add a pic or two of the equipment setup in a moment.
3 images attached are: Afocal Smartphone still image (contrast increased in smartphont), plus two shots of the setup.
Sunday 24th May, from 7:30pm BST, 200p F/5, EQ3-2, diy Onstep Goto.
I've enjoyed watching Venus wane to a thinner & thinner crescent recently, but have never observed Mercury. Having the 2 planets & the Moon only a few degrees apart this week was an opportunity not to be missed. But the gap between the trees & the hill to my West is only about 1 "fist" wide - maybe 40 minutes of observing time. And the late sunset time means Venus would have moved behind the hill before becoming naked-eye visible.
I don't have a permanent setup & can't see Polaris from my patio so I observe from a very rough "polar alignment" & have marked the tripod leg positions on the patio so I don't need to Polar, or Star align every session.
So, having made sure to "Park" the scope at the end of the previous night's session I could just plonk the setup on the marks, "Unpark", "Goto Venus" & lo and behold a tiny crescent Venus appeared about 1 degree from the centre of the the 9x50 Finder in a sky that was clear of cloud but still pure white from the solar glow ! Isn't Goto wonderful ?
Venus was such a beautiful thin 4% crescent with "horns" stretching to the meridian. At first it was shimmering but that must have been a heat plume because a tiny tweak of the focus steadied the image. The seeing was surprisingly good for the low altitude. I enjoyed the view at up to X250 (4mm TMB), before a Goto to Mercury.
Mercury was not visible in the Finder but was a tiny dot in the 32mm Plossl. At higher powers I saw it as a 45% crescent. I know it was about 62% illuminated so the sky must have been too bright for me to see its full extent. I don't claim to have seen any detail - the brightness just reduced steadily from the limb towards the terminator.
I still couldn't see the Moon naked eye so did another Goto & looked in the Finder. Nothing ! But the bright sky must have been fooling my eye because when I forced myself to focus at infinity it popped in sight. The visible crescent was about half the thickness of a crosshair ! In a 20mm Plossl I could see about 6 medium sized faint, ghostly craters along the limb of a 4% crescent.
So in about half an hour I had my first sight of Mercury, & seen my thinnest crescents of Venus & Luna. Isn't this hobby fantastic ? 😀