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Pursuit of the sun spotter certificate

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:25 am
by edward-fraini
I have been doing daily sunspot observing for almost four weeks now. I began with the process using a Seymour filter that renders a yellow sun. It works reasonable well. I was not satisfied with my ability to distinguish penumbra features; there was just not enough contrast to see them unless they were fairly large. So I set out on a path to build myself a Baader solar filter. You can find a lot of information on how to do this on the WEB and there are some pretty good You Tube scenario’s available. Here’s a clue, a lot of the reference talk about using simple glues like school glue to fasten the film down. This did not work well for me. In the end I defaulted back to double stick tape which is exactly what the sheet that will accompany your film recommends. I know follow the directions, but the glue idea seemed better when I started.
So the approach I took was to buy an extra dust cover for my Celestron 6Se. Using a dremel and a circle cutter I removed the center of the dust cover. Using the same dremel set up I cut two rings out of 1/8 inch pressed board. Then I mounted the film between per the instructions from Baader. One additional mistake I made was to place a heavy book on the assemble to get good adhesion. This resulted in stretching the film a bit. So I do not have a clean look to the film. Next I plopped the assembled rings into the dust cover and secured it with silastic around the edge.
Here is the good news. This Baader film renders a white image which seems a bit bright but the shape and form of the sun spots is much better. The penumbra are easy to see and sketch. In addition significantly smaller spots appear with the Baader film.
So if you are interested in pursuing your sun spotter certificate I highly recommend you make use of the Baader film.

Re: Pursuit of the sun spotter certificate

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:03 pm
by rene-gedaly
Gee, Ed. If there's a less popular program than Lunar, it's Sun Spotter! But which celestial objects could be more accessible than those two. Well, I'm thinking about starting both. Since I'll be using my 3.5" refractor if I do, I'll follow your advice and get the Baader film for the sun spotter. I have a sun filter for the 90mm but I'm not seeing enough.

Re: Pursuit of the sun spotter certificate

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:15 pm
by edward-fraini
I think you will appreciate the added aperture. You will be sketching the sun spots and a larger scope will help. But first I would give it a trial run. One more tip, as the atmosphere, and the earth for that matter, heat up it gets harder and harder to see detail in the sun spots. So I set up my solar scope in the back yard in a place I could see the sun about 20 degree above the horizon. I keep it under a tarp when not in use. So each morning before things heated up to much I was out making my drawings. Here is a link that helped a lot. I could never see all they plotted but it did help me tweak out some detail.


This second is not posted before you make an observation but I found it helpful anyway.

Once on a link you can explore other pages on the respective sites.

Looking forward to seeing some of you sketches.


Re: Pursuit of the sun spotter certificate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:47 am
by rene-gedaly
2013 was a relatively great time to do Sun Spotter, Ed. I didn't see anything at all the few times I tried in January. Thought it was because of my untrained eye. Still could be. But sunspot activity for 2017 has been pretty low and getting lower. Totally neglected to take solar cycle into account.

Solar minimum in the 11 year solar cycle is in 2020 and due to peak again in 2025 (but that peak will be lower still than what you experienced in 2013). That's what we've grown up with, the 11 year solar cycle.

I saw a new, 2014 model NASA researchers came up with that "forecasts that the sun will enter solar minimum somewhere in the last half of 2017, with the sunspots of the next cycle appearing near the end of 2019." The source is here: ... olar-cycle.

If I do start Sun Spotter in earnest, it could be a total wash but nevertheless fun to follow along and find out if the new theory is right. But if it is, I won't earn the Sun Spotter...negative observations don't count.