I've been on this forum since mid-September I think, and this is still my first astronomy report! Here it goes!

I've been into amateur astronomy for about a little over a year now, and one thing I have never even really thought about viewing was the sun, solely for the reason that I didn't feel like spending $100-200 for a filter that would really only allow me to view one object. However, with my recent purchase of a used 10" LX200GPS (which is having major mechanical problems!), I was able to view it because one of the included accessories was a solar filter. It actually started off with my sitting in my front yard today trying to see if the problem with the Autostar II controller was going to persist, and about two hours before sundown I noticed the sky was very clear considering it had been cloudy and rainy all day. So I figured, what the heck? I'll try the filter out. Popped it on and made sure it was tight, and after skimming the skies where I figured it would be for about a minute, I finally saw it! It was no Hydrogen-Alpha view, but it was certainly a spectacular sight. I felt like while I was messing with the focuser I could make out a small amount of granulation, but because it isn't a microfocuser I could never seem to hit that perfect spot. Anyhow, I was able to focus in on a few (three or four dots and odd features) sun spots that were in the lower left hand corner of the sun, and was able to share the view with my parents and a few neighbors that were returning home from work before the sun set behind some palm trees. That's certainly something I'll never forget, and I now see why a solar filter would be a nice accessory to add to the arsenal. It would also be a convenient activity in the day during star parties. I hope to image it one day soon enough!

Clear skies,
Dakota