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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Backyard Solar Astronomy

Over the weekend I took a break from JBOT amplifiers and did something I've been meaning to do for a long time: solar astronomy. I pulled out my old 4.5 inch Tasco reflector telescope and aimed it at old sol. I know, I know, this can be dangerous, but we were careful -- note that Billy is standing on the other side of the business end of the telescope. In his hands is the paper onto which we projected the solar image. I'd always wondered how I would get the sun into the telescope's field of view without risking my eyesight by using the finder scope. This turned out to be no trouble at all: I just looked at the shadow cast by the tube of the telescope and --using the shadow as my guide -- moved the tube until it was lined up with the sun. We snapped a picture of our results. I think our crude effort compared very favorably with the picture from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. You can see the same sunspots in each image (ours is reversed because we were using a reflector). These images are from 12 November 2011.

Our picture


NASA's picture

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3 comments:

  1. Excellent results. My oldest son is taking astronomy and we have been making observations as part of the class. It is really fun to get to spend time together exploring the cosmos.

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  2. Great Spott!!

    73.......Steve Smith WB6TNL
    "Snort Rosin"

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  3. Fun stuff. I remember when I was about your son's age doing the same thing, looking at sunspots as projected onto a screen from my uncle's borrowed refractor. There was even a "solar filter", but I was wise enough to not rely on the threads on the little filter piece that went inside the eyepiece being robust (or not knowing how good the filter film was after ~20 years of disuse).

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