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** HELP** Today I tried my first solar observation and the results - if I could call them that - were hugely disappointing. All I got was a fuzzy circle of white light with absolutely zero detail and no obvious focus point. The rig was a Nexstar 4SE with an astrozap Baader 5 Solar objective filter and eps of 40/25mm and also a 15mm all tried with and without a Svbony 1.25” UV/IR Eyepiece filter. The viewing was around 12 - 2pm so the sun was close to daily zenith and the sky was clear. I spent 2 hrs on it and at no stage even came close to any discernible image. Any ideas why I just wasted 2 hrs and possibly a pot of money!!.....

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The Sun's disk currently has two active regions.  One of them has a visible spot on the receding limb at about 4 o'clock.  That should be easily visible with your set up.  Use your 40mm EP and get the Sun's limb in view then check focus carefully.  Other than spots you are not likely to pick out any detail in white light unless the seeing is spectacularly good when you may see some faint granulation.

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Hi I was out today and 2 Sun spots between 6 and 7 o'clock on the surface 

Download space weather live app this will tell how many Sun spots and were to look , I did find focus was very sensitive today 

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Some days solar viewing is just rubbish. Varies quite a bit from day to day.

This from Solar Monitor the app I use to check to see if there are any spots.

0446F826-45B1-4A17-8A07-2B9F463947E4.jpeg

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2 hours ago, martin77 said:

** HELP** Today I tried my first solar observation and the results - if I could call them that - were hugely disappointing. All I got was a fuzzy circle of white light with absolutely zero detail and no obvious focus point. The rig was a Nexstar 4SE with an astrozap Baader 5 Solar objective filter and eps of 40/25mm and also a 15mm all tried with and without a Svbony 1.25” UV/IR Eyepiece filter. The viewing was around 12 - 2pm so the sun was close to daily zenith and the sky was clear. I spent 2 hrs on it and at no stage even came close to any discernible image. Any ideas why I just wasted 2 hrs and possibly a pot of money!!.....

It does sound like you have a focus issue of some sort, thought not sure why. Even when there is no activity at all, you should see a sharply defined limb to the sun, and your description seems to suggest you didn’t reach this point?

I use a 4” refractor for solar, with a Herschel Wedge, and it is rare that I don’t see granulation even if the disk is otherwise plain. When seeing is good, it can be quite dramatic.

Not sure what to suggest. I assume the combination of diagonal and eyepieces focuses normal ok on the Moon for instance?

Just as an observation, the seeing conditions are often better in the morning or evening, not necessarily when the sun is at its highest. This time of year is less affected but when the days are hotter, the seeing conditions during the heat of the day are often very poor, so catching it before things have had a chance to heat up, or when they are cooling down is often better 

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

It does sound like you have a focus issue of some sort, thought not sure why. Even when there is no activity at all, you should see a sharply defined limb to the sun, and your description seems to suggest you didn’t reach this point?

I use a 4” refractor for solar, with a Herschel Wedge, and it is rare that I don’t see granulation even if the disk is otherwise plain. When seeing is good, it can be quite dramatic.

Not sure what to suggest. I assume the combination of diagonal and eyepieces focuses normal ok on the Moon for instance?

Just as an observation, the seeing conditions are often better in the morning or evening, not necessarily when the sun is at its highest. This time of year is less affected but when the days are hotter, the seeing conditions during the heat of the day are often very poor, so catching it before things have had a chance to heat up, or when they are cooling down is often better 

Thanks Stu - yes the set up works fine for Lunar observations etc. I did, as a precaution check that the scope was focusing on land based objects and they were clear as a bell so I can only think the issue lies elsewhere. Perhaps it doesn't like the Objective filter. I held it up to the sun to check for pinholes etc and there was a perfect image of the sun visible and just the sort of image I would expect to see through the eyepiece only bigger. 

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I would not recommended holding the filter up to the sun to check for pin holes , you only have one set of eyes, when I use my Kendrick filter on the Orion optics VX8L the view is amazing and really sharp like STU said , I even got same nice photos on my phone , the only difference is I don't use IR/UV filter on the VX8L 

But use them on the refractor with the wedge , Now the strange thing is visual is great with the wedge but photos not as good ???

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It does sound like you hadn't reached focus. Try to focus on the sun's limb to start with and this should become sharp. Then look for any active regions as in spots or the lighter areas which are more pronounced near the limb in white light. This was today's sun with a baader k-line filter and Hershal wedge.

449503383_20210307-145038UTellabryant-baaderk-line.thumb.png.a5eea41d49135c8c95c9e4af1003a571.png

Edited by Nigella Bryant
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I have a set of Lunt 8x32 Sunoculars. I use them frequently to look at the Sun, to find out if its worth dragging out my scope and HA Chromosphere filter.

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10 hours ago, Nigella Bryant said:

It does sound like you hadn't reached focus. Try to focus on the sun's limb to start with and this should become sharp. Then look for any active regions as in spots or the lighter areas which are more pronounced near the limb in white light. This was today's sun with a baader k-line filter and Hershal wedge.

449503383_20210307-145038UTellabryant-baaderk-line.thumb.png.a5eea41d49135c8c95c9e4af1003a571.png

Nice shot Nigella! I presume the k-line filter is for imaging only?

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42 minutes ago, Stu said:

Nice shot Nigella! I presume the k-line filter is for imaging only?

Yes, definitely only imaging, anything in the UV/IR ranges should be treated with respect. Well I guess all solar observation/imaging should be, our eyes are precious.

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