First light

Standard

Warning to casual readers:  never look directly at the sun, especially not through any optical equipment, e.g. binoculars or telescope – permanent blindness is the likely result.  The photographs were taken through a specialist solar telescope and these features cannot be seen in any other way.

The only thing to be said for having a filthy cold is that I was at home when the heavy lid of the sky began to break into fragments – a rare event over the last rainy weeks – though the wind was gusty still, driving the fragments before it.

Sheltering myself and the viruses from this unkind environment by remaining firmly indoors, I attached the shiny new Coronado (given by the nearests and dearests) to my camera tripod – sadly, it is not compatible with the mount of the 5″.

Indoors not ideal - at least the wind couldn't blow it over

Indoors not ideal – at least the wind couldn’t blow it over

Finding the sun was surprisingly simple, aligning the tube with a convenient shadow from the window frame, and tracking up and down until a bright dot appeared the little display window on the top of the telescope body.

Clouds and glazing bars in the sun finder

Clouds and glazing bars in the sun finder

Somewhat to my surprise, I could indeed see a beautiful red image, and jiggling about to find the sweet spot revealed a whopping prominence on the sun’s limb, with smaller eruptions fringing other sections.  I could also begin to see detail on the disc, though like all optical observation this will need some training of the eye, practice to focus accurately, and experiments to fine-tune the hydrogen alpha wavelength, as the instrument is supposed to let you do this.  For now, I concentrated on trying out eyepieces, changing from the 20mm supplied via my longest eyepiece (32mm) and then 15, 12 and 9mm.

There were certain disadvantages to the observing session:  the blue bits of sky were considerably smaller than the interrupting grey segments; during the blue bits, the sun spent a surprising time behind the glazing bars of the window; the heavy solarscope threatened to take the mount over at every adjustment; the image wobbled like a jelly on the flimsy support; and violent sneezing discommoded concentrated attention.  However:  my sore nose, sore throat, sore eyes and sore lips wore a definitely smiley expression.

I have no idea how I will ever take a proper image of the sun with my new equipment; nevertheless I snapped, less as astrophotography than for souvenirs of first light.

Can see the large prominence, though not with the beautiful sharpness the eye could see

Can see the large prominence, though not with the beautiful sharpness the eye could see

Clouds broke the observing into two minute chunks :(

Clouds broke the observing into two-minute chunks 😦

Can just about see the smaller prominences in this photo. One day I might learn to focus the camera ...

Can just about see the smaller prominences in this photo. One day I might learn to focus the camera …

Advertisements

2 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s