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Show us Your Solar Observing Set-Up


johninderby
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My solar observing set-up

Lunt60 HA B1200 and TS80/80 APO on SkyWatcher Skytee 2 Alt-Az Mount

The Lunt60 Ha is well known and does work extremely well with impressive views of surface details and proms. You would have to spend significantly more to better it. I use a Pentax XF zoom with it and it performs just as well if not better than a Baader Ortho for solar observing.

The Telescope Service TS80/480 FPL-53 triplet APO was bought as a small portable scope but works outstanding well for white light solar observing. While you don't really need an APO for this purpose, as I already had the TS80 then why not use it. A 2" Hershel wedge is used with a 2" variable polarising filter and a Baader Solar Continuum filter mounted on the 1.25" to 2" eyepiece adaptor. As the bottom of the variable polarising filter just rests on the safety ring in the bottom of the eyepiece holder of the wedge I can adjust it by simply rotating the 1.25" to 2" eyepiece adaptor.

Having recently bought the new Skytee 2 mount I thought it would make a perfect Alt-Az dual mount for an HA scope and a white light scope. Weight capacity certainly isn't a problem as it will handle a couple of decent sized newts. The mount moves very smoothly both in Alt and Az even with such a light load. I've found that leaving the Az axis unlocked and just using the Alt slo-mo knobs works really well. I did replace one of the standard dovetail clamps with an ADM one which I already had, which I feel is much more secure, and I'll be replacing the other one soon.

John

NB

Please note that while this Herschel wedge is designed to work this way some designs need an external ND filter to operate safely.

Edited by johninderby
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I use a double stacked SM60 filter arrangement on an ED80 most of the time for Ha.

Then there's the PST88 mod which give fantastic views. I've recently been playing with one of the SM60 filters on the front of the PST etalon to give a 60mm doublestack and once again the views at 0.4A are excellent.

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Nice. I have the same Lunt and love it, though it just sits on an EQ6. Do you find the white light view a worthwhile addition? I have a Pronto that could serve on my setup in a similar way to your own.

Olly

White light observation is worthwhile when there is some sunspot activity. At those times it's interesting to compare the two views as you may see detail in white light that isn't obvious in HA and vice versa. Admittedly when there is no sunspot activity white light observing can be a bit boring.

Your Pronto should work OK although you don't really need a quality scope for white light. I have been considering getting one of these as a dedicated white light scope.

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Telescopes-Ascension.asp?p=0_10_1_6_505

I used to have the black tubed version a couple of years ago and it had very sharp optics although it was just an achromat.

John

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Is it safe to use only a variable polariser with a Herschel prism? Or should there be an additional N.D. filter too?

I'd like to think that I could get away with just the variable polariser, instead of interposing even more filters between the image and the eye.

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I use my PST on one side and a William Optics SD66 with a thousand oaks filter on the other on my original SkyTee mount.

I find it handy to go from HA and then white light especially if there are a number of sunspots to view. I appreciate you can tune the PST to give a 'white light effect' but I enjoy the view through the small frac.

Mark

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The variable polarising filter is on the eyepiece side and allows you

to fine tune the brightness for maximum contrast. Actually I probably only use the variable filter to dim the image by up to 15 to 20%. Not a lot but it can make a big difference in contrast.

The manufacturer has used a built in filter to limit the brightness so you can't harm yourself if you didn't use the variable filter.

John

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Thanks Merlin66. To reiterate, Folks, I'm Old Wizard Merlin with a raven on my shoulder, not Merlin66.

I purchased my Herschel Prism from Teleskop Service; no N.D. filter was fitted, but they recommended BAADER's N.D.3. I fitted one into the bottom of the eyepiece tube, holding it in place with a circular spring. By itself, it let's too much light through ( my raven tells me a N.D.5 would have been better ), so I combine it with a BAADER Solar Continuum Filter.

The point that interests me is this: does the N.D.3 block radiation that a variable polariser doesn't?

Incidently, the front tube ( that fits into the focuser ) on the Herschel prism has an internal thread. Surely this can't be for filters, can it? I'd always understood that filters should be placed after the wedge, not before it. The raven's not sure.

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Ok, from the sublime to the ridiculous...here is my solar set up.

Pros - very good for 'group viewing' of high contrast sunspots and transits of Venus (occasional use only)

Cons - can't see anything else!

Good fun though and people like to see the disc moving over the screen.

P3242463solarforstar.jpg

Edited by runoffshed
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I don't do a lot of solar observing but I thought a white light filter would be nice to have for this active solar period. The filter is a Kendrick which was very kindly provided by kev102 - thanks Kev :)

The scope is a Vixen ED102SS on the Skywatcher AZ-4 mount. The eyepiece is an Ethos 8mm which gives 83x magnification in this scope:

post-12764-133877562727_thumb.jpg

post-12764-133877562734_thumb.jpg

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I would have recommended the filter AFTER the wedge....

basically the ND3 (or ND5) filter does the same job as the circular polarised ones...maybe be a combination of them both would give a comfortable image brightness.

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Ok, from the sublime to the ridiculous...here is my solar set up.

That is awesome in so many ways :)

I used to do solar projection onto card with my old Tasco POS refractor when I was about 10 years old. So this takes me back.

Something to build in the summer I think. Any plans/parts list?

Cheers

Ian

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That is awesome in so many ways :)

I used to do solar projection onto card with my old Tasco POS refractor when I was about 10 years old. So this takes me back.

Something to build in the summer I think. Any plans/parts list?

Cheers

Ian

Hello Ian, like all my best ideas ..... it's someone else's!

A guy in the states built a back projector for solar work that I think he called the "Solar Gun" - basically a refractor projecting onto a sheet of material held as a screen behind the eyepiece. The problem is that the direction in which you are looking at the screen is obviously looking towards the sun, so you need another shield / screen to kill the glare.

Anyway, a few years ago, a member of the BAA - I'm afraid I don't know his or her name came up with this variation in which a flat or prism bends the light 90 degrees so there is far less glare and it's a far more comfortable viewing position. Because they used a flowerpot to hold the screen material, they called it their Flowerpot Projector. I copied this idea and made this for a public viewing of the transit of venus in 2004 and luckily it worked really well.

The lens is an old 50mm diameter job of focal length 900mm, a prism bends the light, a simple Kelner eyepiece projects it and a flowerpot holds a circle of tracing paper for the back projection. (I've heard that shower curtain can also be used very successfully for the back projection material.

Hope this helps and thanks for the interest

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Hello Ian, like all my best ideas ..... it's someone else's!

Isn't that always the case John? :)

Truly think that is a great bit of kit. Hell, if someone made it out of shiny black and brass metal tubing you could sell it for hundreds :p

I'm inspired and am going to look into it further.

Thanks again John.

Cheers

Ian

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A guy in the states built a back projector for solar work that I think he called the "Solar Gun" - basically a refractor projecting onto a sheet of material held as a screen behind the eyepiece....

Found it, the "Sun Gun": MAIN

Cheers

Ian

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I am a frequent solar observer, and it will even be more frequent with the long summer nights I think ;-).

This is my favorite setup: Meade 5000 127mm APO with Baader filter for white light, ED80+ Lunt CAK filter, and Lunt 60 double-stack for Ha. And all nicely aligned with the two Skywatcher guide mounts on EQ6 Atlas goto.

clear skies,

Janos

post-13278-133877564242_thumb.jpg

Edited by jarbi
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Jarbi, that set-up is my ultimate dream! I'm new & have a pst, I would love that setup in the future but want to build to appreciate it properly. I don't own a nightscope yet what order would you advise me to assemble it?

Thanks for your time & help!

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This is a pic of my solar set up.

Yes it's a pair of PST's on a platform that makes them HA binoculars.

You might note that one of them is double stacked for increaed surface detail. Incuidentally with this et up you get to view surface detail and prominences at the same time due to your brain merging the images......

jamie-albums-sgl4-picture6117-img-1406.jpg

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To complete the solar observatory you also need the 60l grey storage box; the lid hinged with Gaffa tape and held open with a piece of fence wire and a dark sheet to cover the tub and you. This stops the reflections getting to the laptop screen when imaging.

The cheapest observatory I've ever built!

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