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Thread: Solar Photography

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    Cool Solar Photography



    I've been perusing the images here in the forums and enjoying the beauty of so many astounding objects.

    When I see close up images of the sun, where they show what I describe as "texture" but must be rolling flames on the surface of the sun, what type of magnification is used to get these amazing shots?

    Case in point:

    http://www.astronomyforum.net/member...26th-2017.html

    I realize there are extremely strong filters and protective measures used to take these images. I'm just wondering about the actual telescopes. I don't suppose a huge aperture is important. Any scope would get enough light shooting the sun. I'm asking about the magnification. I'm surprised more specifics aren't provided in the image descriptions, or am I just missing them?

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    Default Re: Solar Photography

    That's shot through a special telescope. Those are Hydrogen alpha solar telescopes... such as a Lunt or Coronado.

    Whereas a typical solar filter on a regular telescope is more or less like an extremely strong pair of sunglasses (massively cutting the total amount of light that can pass through the filter), those "white light" solar filters are broad-spectrum filters which allow all wavelengths in the visible spectrum to pass through (just not much light gets to pass through -- so they are safe to use.)

    A hydrogen alpha solar telescope blocks the entire visible spectrum completely ... except for the Hydrogen alpha wavelength (roughly 656nm - a red color). The sun is basically a ball of hydrogen and the most dominate energy emission line for hydrogen is the hydrogen alpha wavelength. By blocking all wavelengths except for that one... you can view the sun's chromosphere (a white light filter views the suns photosphere). The chromosphere is where you see the prominences & filaments.

    The least expensive of these scopes are the Coronado PSTs (PST = Personal Solar Telescope) and I think the basic model is around $600. But the Coronado PST isn't particularly friendly for imaging cameras (there are some that work). A larger Ha solar telescope such as a 60mm or 80mm aperture ... or even 100mm aperture ... tend to be much more camera-friendly and give you more options (but of course they are more expensive instruments.)

    The other question is how much of a bandpass you want... for example a .7 angstrom bandpass is pretty good for prominences on the edge of the disk... but offer less contrast on the surface detail. A .5 angstrom bandpass provides much more contrast in the surface detail, but the prominences aren't as bright (you still see them).

    I use an 80mm Lunt with a "double stack" (two etalon filters that allow me to tune the bandpass) but one is removable. If I only use one etalon then the scope is .7 angstroms... but if I insert the 2nd etalon it tunes down to .5 angstrom.

    Some of the images you see of the Sun are actually taken in two parts... a set of image data for "surface" detail and another set of images for "prominence" detail ... and they are merged in Photoshop to produce the combined result.
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    Default Re: Solar Photography

    Since that is my image, perhaps I should comment too.

    That particular image was captured using a SkyWatcher Pro 100ED refractor (f/9) equipped with a UV/IR-cut filter in front of the diagonal to reduce much of the heat in the light path. The cam was an ASI174MM-cool camera (monochrome). Between the cam and the scope was the "heart of the beast", a Quark Chromosphere device that filters out all light around a very specific band of Hydrogen-alpha light.

    The Quark has a 4.3x barlow lens attached and when combined with the f/9 focal ratio of the scope provides an effective focal ratio of f/38.7... hence the magnification you mentioned in your original post.

    The surface was captured at an exposure of 10.0ms, and the proms were shot slightly a slightly slower exposure of 16.7ms.

    Regarding Tim's reference to the shifted bandpass above, the Quark provides the ability to vary the wavelength in 0.1A amounts... five on the blue side and five on the red side.

    We don't often publish our data with the images, but will always share in the group if asked. Look closely at the image above where I place a code regarding the device and the scope. "Q-100" means a Quark with a 100mm scope.

    I hope that answered your question. Please drop by the rest of the solar-heads where we hang out at: Solar Viewing & Imaging - Astronomy Forums | Telescope Forums & Reviews | Astronomy Community

    We're much more laid back in the group, and discussions are more like a solar-facebook. Plenty of pics and lots of help.

    See ya there.

    Clear Skies
    Last edited by Lowjiber; 11-05-2017 at 11:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Solar Photography

    Thank you, both, so much for tons of great information.

    Kudos, Lowjiber, on your skill as a solar photographer. Great shot!
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