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Why Solar Imaging


My nighttime astronomy was going nowhere, with night after night of lost sleep and being too groggy the next day to be productive. I knew I still loved astronomy but I was not willing to stay up until 1 or 2 am to enjoy it.  First is the light pollution in my area and the urban life of close neighbors - simply made Night-Time Astronomy less than enjoyable. To address this, I invested in solar filters - like Daystars Calcium K, Badder Wedge, Daystar HA, Continuum, and finally bought a dedicated lunt dual-stack hA telescope.  With this setup, my sleepless nights were a thing of the past and light pollution will not interfere with my imaging.

After years of nighttime astronomy with countless sleepless nights due to long viewing times, I wanted to explore what options were available to me for daytime solar. After some research, I discovered several companies offering dedicated solar telescopes, solar filters for white light, calcium, sodium, and Hydergon Alpha. Initially deciding on a solar setup was daunting and some parts even confusing.  After a few weeks and visiting the forums I made my choice and purchased my first solar telescope.

What do you do after a week of doing visuals of the sun in a double-stacked Hydergon Alpha system?  You buy a CMOS camera for your next level of enjoyment, and so the journey begins.

I had been thinking about taking up solar observing last year and did eventually make a purchase for a Lunt Solar Telescope with the Double Stack Module. It has taken almost 8 months to become familiar with the entire process from setup to post-processing the images.  I and doing white Light using Lunt and Badder Solar Wedges, H-Alpha using a Lunt Telescope, and now 8 months into Solar I picked up a Calcium filter for H-Line Calcium wavelength. If you are not aware of the difference between Calcium K vs Calcium H it is more about what the human eye can see and as you age Calcium K becomes harder to see, thus I went with an H version.

I hope you enjoy the images. Although it may appear not too impressive, these images take a lot of effort and time to acquire.  So, If you want to take things further yourself and learn how to image the Sun then explore the many articles that take you through some imaging tips here on the TrueToad.  Finally, to whet your appetite I will be sharing a few imaging tricks here to get your images looking fantastic!  It’s not easy but it is fun and addictive.

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