Staring at the Sun, 6

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6/25/2010. Today I am trying to make routine what seemed novel a few days ago: focus maniacally, expose generously, open in Maxim, extract red channel only, combine multiple frames, adjust midtones in Photoshop. Here are this morning's best photos, featuring some striking magnetic lines.



Barlow on eyepiece projection adapter, cropped. 1/4 second, ISO 400.
LS60THa, double-stacked. Canon 50D


Barlow on prime focus adapter. Disk detail: 6 frames averaged in
Maxin DL5 after red Bayer extraction. Limb detail: one of the six frames.
Lunt LS60THa, double stacked, B600, 1/20 second, Canon 50D, ISO 400.
Click the image for a wallpaper-sized version; see below
for best four of six images combined.


Let me interrupt this show with a little bit of tell. Or "why I do not need a TeleVue SolSearcher, SunSeeker, Heliolocator, or whatever they're called." The clamshell ring that holds the telescope is notched to let one of those jimbos be attached via a couple of 10-32 screws. The notch itself makes a good sunfinder.

Step One:
Just aim the telescope more or less at the Sun. Note the shadow cast by the notch in the clamshell and its relation to the top locking screw that holds the blocking filter in the Crayford focuser.






Step Two:
Shove, slew, or otherwise maneuver the telescope until the shadows of the notch and the thumbscrew align.





Step Three
Then slew in R.A. until the notch's shadow passes a little over the top of the thumbscrew. This will take some practice. Not much, but some. You'll quickly develop a feel for how far the thumbscrew should be pulled out of direct sunlight. This puts the Sun into the eyepiece every time.

  fun finder


4 images stacked

Lunt LS60THa, double stacked, 0.25 seconds, ISO 400, Canon 50D.
Best 4 out of 6 exposures, opened in Maxim, Bayer red plane extracted,
stacked (added) in Photoshop CS4, then processed twice, once for limb detail, once for disk detail.


After a week's practice, I seem to have a method that does a fair job of recording everything I can see in the eyepiece. The photos still lack the delicacy and clarity of the eyepiece view, but this is real progress. Next: photographing more than I can see in the eyepiece.


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                   © 2010, David Cortner