Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Solar Photography - First Attempt

My first shot at solar photography was somewhat successful. I was hoping to capture stunning sun spots but there were only a couple of tiny ones to my disappointment.

Equipped with my trusted Celestron NexStar 8SE (8" SCT) and my camera (Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi), I secured the solar filter to the scope and started taking some pictures. The type of filter that I use is Baader Astro Solar Filter (ND-5 rated). It is made by Celestron.

After getting the alignment right, I made the following photographs by using prime focus method (through the telescope) with and without f/6.3 Focal Reducer. Without the focal reducer the Sun doesn't fit in the field of view of my telescope.

The Sun, with a focal reducer. This is false color temperature (from the following shot).

The Sun, 1/4000 sec exposure. This is true color through the filter. I had to play with the exposure so that one can see the spherical shape.

This picture is without a focal reducer (as you can see - it no longer fits in the field of view). I enhanced saturation, shadows and color to bring out the spherical form. Notice two small sun spots on the right side.

This is the close up of the sun spots. I enhanced contrast and highlights. You can also see that the Sun doesn't have a smooth surface the way it appears through the filter. It is actually granular. By playing with the contrast you can see the variations in temperature (thus the brightness).
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