Flintstone Stargazing

December 9, 2007

A star visible in the daytime!

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Observation Journal, Sun — Tags: , — Ed @ 12:32 pm


The Sun on 12/9/07

This is by far the most detailed picture of a star I’ve ever taken. The star is “only” 8 1/2 light-minutes (93 million miles) away . Of course, I’m referring to the Sun. I bought a mylar solar filter for my telescope a week and a half ago off of eBay and I haven’t been able to use it until today. We’ve either had clouds or I haven’t been available since then. I’ve been trying to get a picture up the entire time, but until today I wasn’t able to get one.

Taking pictures of the Sun is difficult for a number of reasons. First, you must use a solar filter. Failure to do so is asking for permanent blindness. Second, you have to guess how to align your scope since you can’t see Polaris during the day. Of course, I align my scope often enough that I can get it reasonably close. Third, when pointing the scope (since I can’t really look at the Sun to aim the thing) I have to roughly guess based on the shadow of the telescope on the ground and then move the thing around by hand until I find it. Finally, when looking at the Sun, the laptop screen is nearly impossible to see because of glare. I wound up putting an umbrella on the table I use to shade the computer so I could see it. Anyway, it was a thrill to finally be able to use this thing.

You can see some sunspots in the bottom right picture. I first saw this grouping of sunspots mentioned on Andrew’s blog. If you look at his image, he gets better color because he’s using a glass filter rather than a mylar one (like mine). You can also see how the sunspots have moved in the past 3 days as the Sun rotates. At least I’m assuming that that is what is bringing them more into view. Someone let me know if I’m mistaken. Also, Andrew was right – it’s active region 978. And SIDC (the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center) says that “NOAA active region 978 is increasingly dynamic and we now expect C-flare activity from this region in the next 48 hours.” I wonder whether I’ll be able to see anything with my scope.

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5 Comments »

  1. Cool pic. I suppose it would be easier to target with an autoguide 🙂

    Comment by stelmodad — December 9, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  2. Probably, but I know yours boots up with the “DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN” warning. I would be a bit surprised if they added the Sun to the database. Also, you’d have the problem of initial alignment if you hadn’t aligned it the previous night or morning.

    Comment by Ed — December 9, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  3. I think it’s in the DB; have recollection seeing it when I was scrolling through the solar system list.

    Comment by stelmodad — December 10, 2007 @ 7:21 am

  4. I don’t think that the sun is listed in the DB?!.I am of course speaking about Meade.I am not sure if any other manufacturer offers this?.I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is probably due to the liability factor.I will go through Meades DB again to be sure but,as I said I don’t ever remember seeing it offered as a object.
    Ed,that is a really nice shot.I am hoping to get another shot of it…maybe tomorrow.Unfortunately,mother nature is teasing us again with clouds and snow showers 😦 .Using a laptop is like you said,almost impossible due to the glare.One almost needs to be in a enclosed area to get a good focus.Perhaps sunglasses would help?.It is truely nice to see some activity though.The sun has been quiet for almost 3 months now!.

    Comment by Andrew — December 10, 2007 @ 9:55 am

  5. Just had a thought. I would think that using a welders shield would work quite well.

    Comment by stelmodad — December 10, 2007 @ 11:22 am


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