Photo samples: Sun


Photo samples: Sun


      I made my first sketches of the sun in 1970 with my 60mm Jason-Empire refractor and a solar filter. The filter, which screwed onto the bottom of an eyepiece, shattered while I was using it in 1971 during a long observing session. My guess is that the sunlight was concentrated too much on the filter. Telescopes do not come with such filters any more. I bought a good solar filter for my Criterion 6-inch Dynascope in 1974 which covered the front of the telescope tube. Shortly thereafter, I was photographing the sun. I sold my Criterion to a good friend after the 1994 annular eclipse of the sun. About three years ago, I was missing not being able to watch the activity on the sun, especially with the solar maximum coming in 2000, so I bought an Orion ShortTube 80 and a solar filter to resume my observations.
      Although there are now telescopes and satellites that produce a continuous record of the sun and its immediate vicinity, there are amateur astronomers around the world who virtually dedicate themselves to observing the sun. The activity can be done in the country or the big city and is not only enjoyable, but the amateur astronomer of today can produce photographic records of the sun that can still be very useful to professional astronomers.

The Annular Solar Eclipse of May 10, 1994


At 16:25 UT on May 10, 1994, this photo was taken through the 6-inch reflector. I was using Fuji 100 and a 50mm lens. Even with the solar filter, enough light came through to allow an exposure of 1/1000 of a second.



At 16:58 UT on May 10, 1994, this photo was obtained through the 6-inch reflector. This was right about the time of maximum coverage for where we were observing in Troy, Illinois. Sadly, we had a program planned for the grade school my oldest son was then going to, but the day before the eclipse the Troy Superintendent of schools cancelled it because he thought it would be too risky. Again I was using Fuji 100 and a 50mm lens, but the exposure this time was 1/500 of a second.



At 17:49 UT on May 10, 1994, this photo was obtained through the 6-inch reflector. I was using Fuji 100 and a 50mm lens, with an exposure of 1/1000 of a second.


General Images


On May 5, 1979, I took this picture through the 6-inch reflector. On this occasion I had a 50mm lens on the camera and shot through the 7mm lens of the reflector to produce this close-up of an interesting spot group. This was obtained with an exposure of 1/1000 and Kodak Plus-X film.



During April 12 to 15, 1979, I took a series of pictures through the 6-inch reflector to track the rotation of the sun and record the evolution of some sunspots. On this occasion I had a 50mm lens on the camera and shot through the 18mm lens of the reflector. I then enlarged the images and have now scanned these into Photoshop to produce this sequence. I used an exposure of 1/1000 and Kodak Plus-X film.