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Hi. What gives better visual? Baader film to cover your entire aperture or a Lunt herschel wedge? I have a Revelation 80mm F6 achro made from all aluminium with a single speed crayford which i love for it's portability, but will it be better with the baader film or herschel wedge for solar? I'm a bit lost at quite what the visual difference is though the price difference is clear.

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Wedge is marginally better , but the improvement over Baader film is in no way proportional to the difference in price ... :happy8:

Given that our star is virtually asleep at the moment (as far as whitelight observing/imaging is concerned) I'd recommend Baader Solar film for starters ... :happy7:

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Both are safe if used properly. Wedge is substantially more expensive. From a safety perspective if something goes wrong with the fitting of the film filter (e.g. it gets knocked off or blown off) then clearly the results are disastrous if looking through the scope at the time. With a wedge there's only really a chance of a warm leg if e.g. the wedge falls out of the scope.

In terms of quality of view, I found the wedge offered a noticeable improvement in the view over the film filters but as with most optical equipment, the difference in price does not reflect the difference in quality - the same with eyepieces and telescopes, cameras and lenses. 

I find the find in poor conditions the views are quite similar but when the seeing gets better for short periods, the detail is much enhanced through a wedge and allows for higher magnifications. e.g. with film I found it unusual to go above around 50x but with my wedge I can get to 100-150x occasionally and generally around 80x which helps to see a little more detail in the spots.

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Film will save you money and you probably wont see much difference considering things like seeing.

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Thanks for all the helpful comments. If I were to just use the film, which filter will show much surface detail?

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Kind of the same sort of answer. The Baader Solar Continuum filter is the best I have used but expensive. I have in the past used cheap blue, yellow and green filters and they work OK but narrowband filters like Oiii and UHC work pretty well too. If you have any then try them first.

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9 minutes ago, TSRobot said:

Thanks for all the helpful comments. If I were to just use the film, which filter will show much surface detail?

Baader Astro Solar. 96x to 127x on very good days with my 127mm catadioptric, 115x to 150x with the 300mm dob (full aperture), up to 102x with the 80mm apo, 85x with an 80mm achro. Obvious grain, and sunspots like sunflowers, especially with the 300, of course. Plus, the white color gives the highest contrast between dark and bright areas, and does not mess up the colors when inserting filters at the eyepiece.

Edit: I thought you were asking between several types of aperture film filters, mylar or otherwise, then I reread your first post and saw you specifically asked Baader filter.

Edited by Ben the Ignorant
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Wedge for me. I used film for a bit, then switched to the Lunt 1.25" wedge. A definite improvement!

The Baader's rather grandly named, Solar Continuum filter works well with the wedge. I assume that it does the same job with the film as both wedge and film basically block x% of the Sun's rays.

Paul

PS. Don't expect sun spots every day. The sun was a blank green disk today!

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Agreed, a wedge definitely gives better results. I think the scope used does matter, fast f5 achros struggle with spherical abberation so I think a longer focal length achro or decent apo help the view.

Seeing conditions make a big difference though. On a poor day there will not be so much difference, on an excellent day I use x200 plus with binoviewers and the views can knock your socks off. Even when a blank disc, the granulation is good to watch.

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Thanks once again all. I do have the SW UHC filter 1.25. So maybe the baader film might be the cheapest way, but I guess if I get the lunt wedge then nothing else will be needed. I do have a 130pds which is clearly no go for the lunt wedge, but might show more detail with baader film due to greater aperture?

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Wedge for me as well, but it is a very big leap in money, I went for the Lacerta wedge and use an O111 filter.

Also agree with Stu a longer focal length scope does help.

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32 minutes ago, TSRobot said:

Thanks for all the helpful comments. If I were to just use the film, which filter will show much surface detail?

Baader Solar Continuum

 

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I'm getting the impression that higher magnification scopes are better for the sun and its surface detail. Both of my scopes are a little short for the higher magnifications needed it seems so maybe the film is best lest I invest in a longer all metal refractor which would breach my two scope allowance :icon_biggrin:

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I started out with the Baader Film in a Kendrick filter and now use a Baader 1.25" Hershel Wedge. I'm not a regular solar observer but the difference between the film filter and the wedge is noticable to me in terms of resoloution. Both do their jobs well though and the Baader Film approach is a lot less expensive. Depends how much you want to invest in solar viewing I guess :dontknow:

I do solar outreach and I prefer the safety of the Herschel wedge as outlined by Moonshane. My society are not keen on using film filters for outreach sessions.

 

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I was advised get a wedge which luckily I got second hand and never looked back I have had some great views and took some cracking pictures. 

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I bought a wedge simply because i was wasting money buying film and constructing the filters very badly. The wedge and the filters i bought (ND 3.0, Solar continuum and variable polarizing filter) were expensive. The Solar continuum filter alone cost the same as the 2 other filters combined. I honestly have not used any of my solar gear very much (blame the weather and life in general). When i do get to use it, i love it to bits. Its brilliant to be out in the sunshine and seeing sunspots and surface granulation. I use a 70mm Celestron Travelscope with my wedge.

P.S.~ most wedges come with ND 3.0 filters already in place. My wedge didnt (should be a law against selling wedges without ND filters). The variable polarizing filter isnt really needed. A single polarized filter/Moon filter would do fine (if you even need one). The mirrors on the wedges are polarized already. 

TBH the Sun when viewed in white light through a wedge and appropriate safety filters.........isnt bright. Its not uncomfortable to look at.

*Disclaimer*

I think i covered all the safety aspects of solar observing.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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6 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I bought a wedge simply because i was wasting money buying film and constructing the filters very badly. The wedge and the filters i bought (ND 3.0, Solar continuum and variable polarizing filter) were expensive. The Solar continuum filter alone cost the same as the 2 other filters combined. I honestly have not used any of my solar gear very much (blame the weather and life in general). When i do get to use it, i love it to bits. Its brilliant to be out in the sunshine and seeing sunspots and surface granulation. I use a 70mm Celestron Travelscope with my wedge.

 

Ah so high mags aren't essential to enjoy the sun! What magnification to you begin to see surface detail?

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With my wedge and 70mm scope, i use an 8-24mm Hyperion zoom EP. I rarely, if ever go as high in magnification as the 8mm. It depends on a lot of thing though such as weather conditions,what scope you use etc. 

By amazing coincidence, the Sun is the same size from our point of view as the Moon (or the other way round). Magnification wise, i treat them the same. Sunspots are many many times larger than craters on the Moon, so if you can happily observe lunar craters in detail, then you will certainly see solar sunspots very well indeed with the same magnification.

Hope this makes sense. I am certainly no Solar observing expert (or an expert of any sort where astronomy is concerned).

Surface detail on the Sun such as granulation and finer detail around sunspots does need higher magnification and certainly for granulation, you would need to use either a continuum filter or a cheaper coloured filter. Solar continuum filters turn the colour of the Sun a funky lime green (you get used to it quickly), so i would suggest a light green coloured filter.

Coloured filters sets are pretty cheap. You can pick a set up for maybe 30-40 quid. How effective they are on any object (planets etc) is a hot debate. Some people swear by them, others find them useless. I one of the latter, but for Solar observing they seem to work.

 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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3 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I am certainly no Solar observing expert (or an expert of any sort where astronomy is concerned).

Me neither though to non astro friends i sound like the astro guru, then in SGL i bow to other's knowledge. Like this link for a Solar finder scope https://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/dollar-store-mustard-bottle-sun-finder/ i find things all over the place i'd never have thought of in million years.

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16 minutes ago, TSRobot said:

Me neither though to non astro friends i sound like the astro guru, then in SGL i bow to other's knowledge. Like this link for a Solar finder scope https://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/dollar-store-mustard-bottle-sun-finder/ i find things all over the place i'd never have thought of in million years.

Havent seen that before. Now you remind me.................i really must try (ard) invest in some kind of Solar finder. You would think its easy to point your scope at the big yellow ball in the sky and find it instantly. Quite to opposite. Pretty difficult to locate. I use the basic "shadow" method. I point the scope in the direction of the Sun and when the shadow of my scope is the shortest, i know im close. 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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44 minutes ago, TSRobot said:

Ah so high mags aren't essential to enjoy the sun! What magnification to you begin to see surface detail?

No, not essential at all. Can be quite enjoyable viewing at x50 or so. The sun is quite quiet currently so there can be days (or longer) when there is not a lot going on. Although we at around solar minimum at the moment, there still seem to be some nice active regions every now and then to look at though.

Perhaps it may be an idea to try solar film on your 130PDS for starters before committing more funds to it. I suspect the additional resolution would be noticeable over the 80mm f6. I do think the Wedges give more but the benefit would be at higher powers and the sun is low currently so probably less likely to show the benefits of the wedge than during the summer.

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Wedge for me too! :)  

And maybe later you could add a Baader solar continuum to use in combination with the wedge.

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Wedge for me as well. 

1.25" Lunt for the ZS66 travel setup and 2" Lacerta for the ST102.

Ade

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15 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Havent seen that before. Now you remind me.................i really must try (ard) invest in some kind of Solar finder. You would think its easy to point your scope at the big yellow ball in the sky and find it instantly. Quite to opposite. Pretty difficult to locate. I use the basic "shadow" method. I point the scope in the direction of the Sun and when the shadow of my scope is the shortest, i know im close. 

For aiming my Mak for a solar align to find planets in daylight (the 127mm is a bit large for doing solar projections), I use the 6x30 straight-through finder, with my hand a few inches behind. For coarse align, I minimize the finder shadow, for finer align, it's projecting a solar image on my hand.  You might criticize this on safety grounds, but I am not about to crouch down and look up through the finder. Or hold my hand there till it starts to feel hot. This method would not be good with other people present though.

For a projection, I use a 102mm refractor with low magnification (x20). It's easy enough to line it up, minimising the shadow of the main scope.

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