Deep Sky

The Solar Adventure

We have been fascinated by the sun since Barlow Bob first introduced us to Hydrogen Alpha images of the sun outside the Holiday Inn at NEAF in Suffern, New York.  We use a Coronado SolarMax 40 filter connected to the front of the Tele Vue 85 but Barlow Bob occasionally comes over with his "Bob-O-Scope" (specially modified TV 102i with Coronado 90mm and Coronado 60mm filters stacked in front of a BF30 blocking filter) and gives us absolutely astounding views of the sun.

For white light viewing, we made a solar filter from Baader solar film and some cardboard.  We used a Thousand Oaks glass solar filter on our Celestron G5 and much prefer the Baader solar film.  Recently, Thousand Oaks released a solar film and we made a filter for the Tele Vue 85.  In side by side comparisons the Baader and Thousand Oaks films performed about the same on the Tele Vue 85.  We prefer the silver/white color of the sun through the Baader filter and use it most of the time.

We have tried taking pictures of the sun in H-Alpha light using the Nikon Coolpix 4500 with less than satisfactory results.  The pictures taken through the Nikon don't have much contrast, and focusing is difficult (nearly impossible).  Recently, we used a Philips ToUcam Pro (840K) web cam to take pictures and the results were quite good.  Unfortunately, the CCD sensor of the web cam is so small that we can only image a small portion of the sun.  Other people seem to get good results with the Canon line of cameras so maybe a Canon 20D digital SLR is in our future.

Click any picture for a larger view or click here to browse through the pictures.

Sunspot 798 - September 2005

This sunspot alone is responsible for making September 2005 the most active solar month since 1981. There were 9 X-class flares from this sunspot and some of the caused Northern Lights here. Picture taken with Canon 20Da through Barlow Bob's wonderful H-Alpha filtered telescope.

Comparing Scopes

He's everywhere! He's Everywhere! You can never have too many solar telescopes.

2 July 2005 - Solar Activity

It may be nearing solar minimum, but the sun remains active. Got some nice solar surface detail with a Philips ToUcam Pro.

2 July 2005 - Solar Disk

Stitched together 4 shots from the ToUcam to form a full disk image.

10 November 2004 - Aurora

Nice view of the Aurora from our back yard. The Aurora lasted for hours, shimmering skies, dancing curtains of green and red. We've never seen anything like it before!

Baby Bob-O-Scope

Coronado PST with Solarmax 40 filter stacked on front, piggybacked on the TV 85 with the homemade Baader white light filter

August 11, 2004 - Prominences

Another picture with the Coolpix 4500 processed in Images Plus to highlight the prominences

August 11, 2004 - Surface & Filament

Picture through the Bob-O-Scope with the Nikon Coolpix 4500 showing nice surface detail, and a large filament

July 21, 2004 - Solar Disk

Nikon Coolpix 4500, "Bob-O-Scope", sharpened using Richardson Lucy algorithm

July 21, 2004 - Prominences

Taken with Nikon Coolpix 4500 and processed in Images Plus to show the prominences.

July 21,2004 - Sunspot & Prominences

Philips ToUcam web cam shot through Bob-O-Scope. Registax processed a 30 second video. Contrast enhanced and colored in Images Plus. The yellow color is a little easier on the eyes and shows more of the surface detail.

July 21,2004 - Sunspots

Web cam shot through the Bob-O-Scope. Much more contrast than the Nikon Coolpix 4500. Incredible surface detail. Registax processed a 30 second video. Final sharpening and coloring in Images Plus.

Chuck at Bob-O-Scope

Philips ToUcam connected to Barlow Bob's solar telescope and Chuck in the driver's seat

July 20, 2003 - White Light

Nikon Coolpix 4500 picture through Baader solar filter. Afocal photography using 18mm eyepiece in TV 85. Exposure 1/1000 second, f4.1, camera zoomed to 22.2mm, ASA 100 equivalent.