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LS 6 for solar observations

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#1 deaconbill

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 12:18 PM

What are LS6 users using for solar filters? Are you making your own (Baader) or is their a glass one that will fit properly?

#2 franciscosjb

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:37 AM

I would like to know this too, I know that my LS 6 was not made for solar observation but theres got to be a way for safely solar viewing, I would love to see the solar spots!
Current Scope / Meade ETX LS 6" ACF /

My God, It`s Full of Stars!!

#3 cozmicray

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 01:42 PM

I have a 3 hole focus cap I use on my LX 200
Plug two holes and put a piece of bader solar film on third
works great with off axis opening
but
this over the lip lid doesn't work on LS -- need inside front cap

You could cut a piece of foam core the diameter of your front corrector
and cut an off axis hole in it and cover hole with solar filter
You can get a 8x10" sheet of bader solar filter for about $20
Make sure it fits tight or has something to keep it in
don't want wind or something else removing it while observing.

While your at it, cut some more circles to plug your finder scope and
anything else that might point to sun.

A piece that shields your eye to eyepiece look also is handy

Have Phun

#4 deaconbill

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:17 PM

Follow-up.

I had made a full aperture filter with thousand oaks film. Had to get creative with the cardboard strips because the odd configuration of the short front lip and the bulging (dovetail under that plastic???) connection to the mount. Works OK at low powers (60x or lower), but too little detail at high powers. I chose this film because it is very rugged, but it is not the quality view I am looking for.

I have ordered a sheet of Baader and will use it to make a new full aperture filter. An off-axis filter was suggested. Off-axis may work well for just seeing the spots, umbra, penumbra and brighter facula, but to make out penumbral filaments or to distinguish granulation, or to get a more accurate count, off-axis probably won't cut it.

The ND of the Baader film is the same regardless of size, so safety is not the question.

But lets talk safety anyway.

Solar observing is the only truly hazardous observing one could d, unless you observe in a swarm of cobras. One cannot be too careful. That is why Meade does not support solar viewing outside of the Coronado series. This scope seems to be programmed in such a way that it will not track the Sun. I can live with that.

Most of the experienced observers already know this, however, in reading some of the posts, this scope has a strong appeal to those who are new to the hobby. That's GREAT - welcome to the hobby! I cannot recommend Solar Viewing with a Meade SC scope. Tha being said, I have safely used a compound scope and a reflector for years in observing the Sun, but not without some serious consulting and planning.

1. Always do a safety check EVERY TIME you set up, especially when using Baader film. It is pretty strong, but thin and still prone to pinholes or small tears. I cannot tell you how many times this personal policy has probably saved my vision.

2. Never use an SC, or any compound optics for projection solar observing. That is a recipe for disaster if any adhesives that are used in the interior of the optical tube. Also, the heat build up could be very, very high in a very short period. Also, do not use a Herschel wedge with a compound scope. It cannot adequately redirect the kind of heat that can be generated.

3. I normally replace homemade Baader filters about four times a year on my 4 inch, which might be over-kill, but, hey, I'm using these eyes for a lot of things besides observing. I will likely make new filters 5 times annually for the 6 inch. (More surface area to develop a defect)

4. Treat your filter wityh great care.

5. NEVER use any type of filter in an eyepiece or at the diagonal connection as your only filter. They WILL heat and break! A front aperture filter is the only safe way to go. Many different filters can be applied to the eyepiece AFER th light is filtered at the front.


I'll post a follow-up to this followup in a week or two.

#5 cozmicray

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 09:12 AM

Why do you say off-axis doesn't make it?
Cutting out secondary does a lot for bright objects. (conrast, diffraction effects of secondary)
Are you using special filters for you solar work.
Not many Hydrogen Alpha scopes out there for amatuers larger than 4"

#6 deaconbill

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

No, I am not using H-Alpha. Just white light observations.

You make a good point about the secondary. Bypassing it is a good idea and off-axis is an option. In fact, I made one today and it works fine. Contrast was improved, but overall the view is no better than my 4"Mak-Cass.

LS6" is not a large scope, and the effective aperture of off-axis is only around 2.5 to 3 inches. I primarily us Baader Hyperion eyepieces. They are really very good eyepieces, but there are 8 elements in 5 groups. I bought them primarily for use with my 12.5" dob. The down side with a six inch scope is that they suck a lot of light from the view. A full axis filter is bright yet still safe with the Baader film. I am betting that it will be bright enough for my eyepieces. I can accept a slightly lower contrast view, and the Hyperions do a much better job of handling the diffraction than do Plossls. So, you are right, my desire for full aperture is based on equipment.

I do have Plossl(s) that I used for the 4", but I want to use the Hyperions.

BTW, I was in Hobby Lobby and I found one of those round brown cardboard craft hatboxes and thought. . . Hmmmm.

Son of a gun, if the main piece of the box wasn't a perfect and tight fit for the LS6"! A quick off-axis hole and some Baader film and I have a solar filter.

The item number at Hobby Lobby is: 222844 S/S Round PM Box and it cost me a whole $3.99!

#7 deaconbill

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:55 PM

Anybody know how to track for Solar observing? GPS works in daytime - alignment of course won't. Any hints would be appriciated.

#8 deaconbill

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:52 PM

OK. Solving the tracking issue was way too easy. When I set up for visual solar observing, I press "Mode" after the scope starts talking. It finds home on its own. Then I can slew the scope where I please with the directional buttons.

To track, I centered the Sun in the eyepiece, selected "Objects" >"Solar System">"Moon" then pressed "Media" to silence media. "Enter" asks me if I want to sync "Enter" again starts tracking the object.

Perfect? No. I suppose I could enter its coordinates and store it in "Asteroids" or user defined objects. But this quick method does the job. It is accurate enough for a planetary ccd camera to photograph a spot or group of spots as the object is bright. It held the sunspot in roughly the same FOV for about six minutes before any noticeable drift. I just centered it and synced it again.
I imagine that this would work on Venus and Jupiter before it is dark enough to do actual alignment when an eager public starts arriving at a star party a bit early. Allowing the unit to find its GPS location may improve tracking - but really, six minutes + is plenty good enough for my purposes. Was this helpful? Click "Like This"
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