Sunday, 24 April 2011

First light with my new solar filter..

Yesterday my solar filter sheet turned up.

It took ten minutes to fit it to my filter holder, and another five hours for the skies to clear sufficiently to allow me to test it.



Around about 5.30 p.m. the skies were perfect for observing with the Tal 1.




I well see why astronomers get hooked on observing the Sun, it was mesmerising as it hung there shimmering with life giving heat.

I've always been a night time astronomer, the sun always took second place to the moon and stars.






I think from now on, observing our nearest star is going to be high on my list.



First image with the new solar filter.

Helen and I went to our local bootsale in Haverfordwest
yesterday morning,
where I picked up for £1 this digital camera.

It has a 3.1Mp chip and a video mode that captures AVI's.




After setting up the Tal and solar filter, I managed to capture this image.

I've added a bit of colour with Paint shop Pro.











Also the video setting on the camera allowed for this AVI.


video


First impressions of my "Heath Robinson" solar filter are certainly encouraging.

I've got the bug for this white light filter. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend investing in a "Thousand Oaks" filter or suchlike.

And an added bonus....your'e not likely to suffer hypothermia whilst you observe...!!!  :0)

Here's hoping for more blue skies.....

Mark

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Sun Filter Project....

I thought it time to make myself a solar filter for the TAL telescope....

Before I say anything...please be careful when viewing the Sun, only use approved sun filters and projection methods.

Even looking at the Sun with the naked eye for a few seconds can cause harm.  

I found this out the hard way about 32 years ago...

I still have the small scar on my left retina to prove it.

As the prices of ready made filters range from £40 to £90 for my particular telescope, I decided to make one incoporating the Baader solar film., which cost £18.

I would buy the ready made item, but at the moment all my pennies are going towards my next project. That of building my observatory.




The initial idea for my construction method is described here:-
http://www.baader-planetarium.com/sofifolie/bauanleitung_e.htm     with slight alterations made by me.




















I've placed an order for the solar film....
But I bet with the bank holiday post, I'll probably receive delivery next tuesday/wednesday...



This is how I intend fixing the solar film to the holder.








When the solar film arrives I will post some more pictures of my progress....

Clear "Blue" Skies


Mark

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Trying out the Tal ...down to Newgale...



Earlier this evening I got it into my head to try some astro observing from our local beach ...Newgale.

Helen and I got to Newgale at just gone 8:00pm, the night was drawing in fast.

I set up the TAL scope and first on the list was the three day (or thereabouts!!) moon..... a lovely crescent.

Mare Crisium took on the appearance of a smiley face. The 25mm plossl gave a good view...also the 15mm kellner ( I think it's a Kellner) was surprisingly good , giving quite sharp images.

I left the smiley moon and waited for the stars to switch on in the darkening twilight.

Sirius was first, followed quickly by Betelguese.

A couple of minutes later Rigel said hello.

Looking through the 25mm plossl and using a X3 Barlow, the lovely blue secondary of Rigel could easily be seen.

As Leo was well positioned two more doubles, Algeiba and Regulus went down in the observing log.

Castor was next ...what a beautiful double....

Then once again back to the smiley face of Mare Crisium...followed by a look at one of my favourites Aldebaran.....

It was about 9:00pm by now we were ready to head off home.

Whilst  I was observing, Helen had been beachcombing and had brought back enough driftwood to build a log cabin......!!

Finally before packing up I trained the Tal onto Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici......another beautiful double ...

As you can probably guess I like observing double stars   :0)

I managed to find some telescope room in the car amongst the driftwood, then we headed home.

I haven't tried mobile observing for many months...

This was my first attempt at Newgale....

Well worth the effort.....  I'll be back!!!

Clear Skies

Mark

Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling! Up above, the slow moving clouds...