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DaveS

Wot, no sunspots?

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I know we're at or near the solar minimum, but I'm not seeing *any* sunspots at all.

Meg90, Lunt Herschel wedge, Baader solar continuum and poleriser, Mead 9mm plössle.

The focus looks good, as the limb is sharp, but wondering, do I need more magnification? Better optics (All through)? More experience? I'm new to this, as I've been looking at something other than just DSO imaging, but cannot see any detail at all. Assuming I need higher magnification to see granulation.

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You're not going blind Dave, it is a spotless Sun today. We had a nice little group go across the disk last week but that was the first for a while. Best you can hope for on a regular basis in white light at the moment is some good complex faculae. H alpha and Ca-K are a little more interesting,

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Still on the way down for a while (maybe)? I'll have to (re-)check the
notion that is is possible to identify spots from the upcoming cycle. 🤔

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Yep, not much going on at the moment. Hopefully we'll have some more activity soon.

Saturday was a beautiful day here. We held a telescope and astrophotography workshop at a state park facility. I setup my Lunt 80 outside and had probably 250 people come through and look. That last little spot was right on the edge and moving away. Some people had a hard time picking it out. Had a few prominences pop up, but nothing really big or lasting. Next time I think I might get a big monitor or a TV and set it up under a canopy so people can see it without having to look through the scope and I can actually point stuff out rather than having to explain it.

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It is very quiet indeed at the moment. Last minimum I didn't have H-alpha or Ca-K gear, so the best I could manage was white light in my C8, and even then there were times when not a single spot could be seen, sometimes for a whole month or more.

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1 hour ago, DaveS said:

I know we're at or near the solar minimum, but I'm not seeing *any* sunspots at all.

Meg90, Lunt Herschel wedge, Baader solar continuum and poleriser, Mead 9mm plössle.

The focus looks good, as the limb is sharp, but wondering, do I need more magnification? Better optics (All through)? More experience? I'm new to this, as I've been looking at something other than just DSO imaging, but cannot see any detail at all. Assuming I need higher magnification to see granulation.

There were a couple of white light features on the leading limb yesterday bit I'm like you I got the limb in focus and could not see any features at all. For me I think it was wind plus thermals from rooftops and observing in the afternoon when the atmosphere is more lively that scuppered it.

I've only ever seen granules twice and both times were when I was not having to observe over nearby houses.

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Nice "beard" of proms [in H-a] when the heavy cloud cleared briefly.
Probably a "crew cut" if you are "upside" down like me.
Which means the 'tuft' on the top is actually a goatee.
Tall prom at my 8.00 but it didn't show on Gong.
I hope you're all taking notes because I shall be setting questions for homework.

What we want is measles! When do we want it? NOW!!  :wink2:

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I had some reasonable views in WL yesterday. The AR was right on the limb, but when the seeing steadied for the odd moment, the dark umbra was nicely defined within an area of plage. Lovely faculae too a little further in on the disk. I was only at around x100 and the granulation was coming and going, here and there I spotted some very nice swirling patterns within it. However, I would love some nice chunky ARs to view now, enough is enough ;)

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Thanks for all the replies, had my cousins around with their significant others, so haven't been able to reply.

I'll keep looking, hopefully something will pop up in between the clouds. I think I'll look for either a shorter EP or else a Barlow. Not sure I can afford a Powermate.

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Posted (edited)

Dave,

You don't need to go massively OTT with the mag, as @Stu said, granulation tends to start to be visible at about 100x, though I regularly see hints of an "Orange Peel" texture at less than that with the ZS66 and Solar Continuum Filter, but not something you'd definitely claim as clearly defined granulation.

I find that part of the trick is to get an idea of where the sunspots are from an online image source, focus on the limb, then slowly change focus, as I find that the rest of the disc is at a slightly different focal point under WL, not miles away but when the sunspots are sharpest the limb is marginally less than sharp.

These are useful sources of info:

https://www.raben.com/maps

http://www.sidc.be/silso/home

I picked up a Lunt LS-60 DS late last year, and only started viewing in WL late in 2017 so have come into Solar at the most frustrating time.  There is normally something to see in H-alpha, but even that has been a bit underwhelming lately, except last week. 

 Ade

Edited by AdeKing
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I think I was using x72 or so, perhaps a bit low.

Going to check out FLO for something suitable.

The Lunt CaK module looks horribly tempting, though my yellowing cornea and lens might make that an imaging only option.

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Ca-K is imaging-only for me. With an eyepiece slotted in the module I can see the solar disk but it is generally bland and devoid of detail.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, DaveS said:

I think I was using x72 or so, perhaps a bit low.

Going to check out FLO for something suitable.

The Lunt CaK module looks horribly tempting, though my yellowing cornea and lens might make that an imaging only option.

I tend to use a zoom eyepiece as it makes fine tuning the magnification to the conditions easier.

The short end of my Lunt Zoom only gives me approx 55x mag with the ZS66.

The Lunt 7.2-21.5mm Zoom works well for me and is available without the Lunt branding at much less cost.  @John has previously commented that the Orbinar version works well with the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x Barlow.

I can always bring a Lunt LS60 double stack over for you to have a look through when there is something worth seeing and fine weather coincides with a trip to Bridport.

 

Edited by AdeKing

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7 minutes ago, David Smith said:

Ca-K is imaging-only for me. With an eyepiece slotted in the module I can see the solar disk but it is generally bland and devoid of detail.

That's what I thought, and what I heard, that us "oldies" (ie anyone 40+) might be able to *see* the disk, but seeing details isn't going to happen.

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5 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

I tend to use a zoom eyepiece as it makes fine tuning the magnification to the conditions easier.

The Lunt 7.2-21.5mm Zoom works well for me and is available without the Lunt branding at much less cost.  @John has previously commented that the Orbinar version works well with the Baader Q-Turret 2.25x Barlow.

 

 

TBH I hadn't thought of a zoom eyepiece, having assumed them to be of inferior quality, and only good for bodging. I'll be looking for something that goes to an equivalent FL of  around 4.5 mm or so (The 9mm + 2x barlow)

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With the arrival of The Solar Minimum H-alpha continues to offer interest.
A secondhand solar telescope could rekindle interest when WL [or the Dark Side] has waned.
Demand to see through it though. I paid dearly for a secondhand PST with an opaque ITF.

I never saw through my PST but went on to build a H-a scope around an existing 6" f/8 refractor.
Not remotely cheap, by the time I had finished, but it has completely taken over my daytime hours.
There is so much to see in H-alpha, even when the sun is a complete blank, in my 7" with Herschel prism.
I see loads of surface detail when insert the Neximage 5 but rarely in WL with an eyepiece even at 300x.
 

 

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I don't want to spend any more money if I can help it, as I'm primarily an imager.

I already have something like £20k worth of kit on order or just down the line. No budget for a Ha scope. Or food for that matter.

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2 hours ago, AdeKing said:

 

I find that part of the trick is to get an idea of where the sunspots are from an online image source, focus on the limb, then slowly change focus, as I find that the rest of the disc is at a slightly different focal point under WL, not miles away but when the sunspots are sharpest the limb is marginally less than sharp

Thanks for posting this tip, I'm going to give this a try.

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17 minutes ago, Paz said:

Thanks for posting this tip, I'm going to give this a try.

I find that this tip is more obvious when the sunspots are relatively small and subtle.

When they're larger they are obvious enough to catch your eye as you initially focus, but when they are small they are easily missed when you first focus the disc and take a bit more tracking down and small adjustments to focus. 

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34 minutes ago, DaveS said:

I don't want to spend any more money if I can help it, as I'm primarily an imager.

I already have something like £20k worth of kit on order or just down the line. No budget for a Ha scope. Or food for that matter.

Fair enough Dave, but like imaging solar viewing can become a slippery slope. 

I started out spending £10 on solar film just to "give it a try" and just over a year later have two herschel wedges and a Lunt LS60 DS.

My wife is not amused but is somewhat pacified by the fact that she doesn't have to go hunting around the garden for me in the dark when I've got the solar scope out. 

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Interesting review of the Daystar Ha scope (60mm aperture; double stack like selectivity ~0.5A; and sub £900) in the S@N magazine this month.

Live on water for a while, and the odd crust of bread ;)

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