Solar Observing March 7th 2012 and New Solar Scope (ATM)

Alright, this post is about Solar Observing and before I get into the meat of the post, I feel that I need to state: DO NOT EVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT THE PROPER EQUIPMENT! Okay, that is out of the way and I'll repeat that at the end of the post. Below you can see my relatively new solar scope.

Well, with all the activity that is happening with the Sun of late, I decided today to take out my new ATM solar scope and have a try at using it and at looking at the sunspots and other items.

This scope cost $25.00 and was built by local ATMer Chuck Hards. Chuck published several articles with Sky & Telescope back in the late 1990's. These scopes are made of a tube, a one speed focuser and a 1 1/4 diagonal . Baader Solar Film is used on the main lens to offer protection for the eye as they look. Here are some shots of the new scope. The mount is just a simple camera tripod, but it works!

In the picture above I am using a 32mm Orion Sirius Plossl eyepiece as the finder. I find that in the scope this works the best for me. If needed I have a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece that also works and can be a step down for me.

Here you can see the simple single speed focuser and the 32mm plossl in the diagonal . The focuser is racked about 1/2 of the way out. To find the Sun, I simply am the refractor at the Sun before I put in the eyepiece. When the sun appears in the diagonal I then put in the 32mm ploosl and the Sun is in the field of view. Works great!

After I get the Sun in the 32mm I can either put in the 25mm for a step down, but I usually put in the 17mm Orion Stratus that I still own and have. The 17mm provided some very crisp views of Active Region 1429 with Active Regions 1430 and 1429 quite visible. With the 17mm Stratus it was easy to see the two main sunspot regions in Active Region 1429 with the smaller sunspots also readily visible. The Sun moved quicker through the 17mm. In the 32mm and 25mm all three active regions were visible also, but with not as much detail.

I brought my son out and he spent time observing with me and talking. In actuality, he got quite excited about viewing the Sun and seeing the sunspots/Active Regions. His younger eye made out more detail than mine, but overall, we both enjoyed viewing our nearest star. On my note, I love spending time with my son, soon, I fear, the pace of his life will mean these times become fewer and farther in between.

Here you can see the filter that is put on to the front of the lens. I have a black sharpie in some of the pictures on top of the hot tub because there were two pin holes I need to blacken out. It worked like a charm and now there are no pin holes.

So, I've opened up a new world of observing and all for $25.00! The solar scope worked wonderfully and now I need to find some solar templates for sketching. It was fun to see the Sun active. As a reminder from the start, DO NOT EVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT THE PROPER EQUIPMENT!