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Solar Analemma. This outstanding image from Alexandra Hart taken over a period of 4 years charts the midday position of the sun in the sky throughout the year. The north–south component of the analemma results from the change in the Sun's declination due to the tilt of Earth's axis of rotation. The east–west component results from the nonuniform rate of change of the Sun's right ascension, governed by combined effects of Earth's axial tilt and orbital eccentricity.

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Visual Solar Observing

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DeepSolar64
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Visual Solar Observing

Post by DeepSolar64 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:48 am

All,

Just curious, how many here regularly visually observe the sun? Not as just a way to find the sun etc to image it. Most of you guys/gals here seem to be primarily solar photographers/imagers. That is something I do plan to get into in the future as soon as I can finance the equipment. But for now I am visual only. I write descriptions in log books on what I see vs taking photographs. Of course, along with the GONG network, SDO and all of you guys images it gives me great direction on what to look for. All of you do beautiful imaging work. I have so much to learn.

James
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ffellah
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by ffellah » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:18 pm

Hi James: I do enjoy very much observing the sun in detail, specially when either I do not have enough time to image or the seeing does not allow it. On top of that, we do outreach with the observatory and it is very rewarding to see people’s reactions to being able to observe the sun directly. It still feels amazing to me after few years that as amateur astronomers we are now able to observe the sun so well with our scopes. The great thing still is that when you point a telescope at the sun you never know what you are going to see.

Franco

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by marktownley » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:52 pm

Hi James. I always enjoy looking at the sun visually, I don't keep any records / logs etc, I just enjoy the view. Then I default to some imaging :D

Mark
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Montana
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by Montana » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:39 pm

I always observe visually first. I marvel at the Sun every time I align and enjoy the view first. To be honest it is better to observe first as the eye can see all the faint prominences and details the best and then when you come to image you know what you want to target. But I don't write anything down, I just go ooh and aah and then grab the Hubby and get him to look too :lol:

Alexandra

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by krakatoa1883 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:27 pm

I always observe the Sun visually before any imaging session, if spots are present I draw and count them every time, then go to the Quark for a quick look to H alpha features. Imaging comes last.
Raf
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by DeepSolar64 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:05 pm

Thanks for your replies. And you guys/gals do not have to take records. Your photos largely do that for you! Once I do get into solar imaging I probably still will keep a visual log. I do it with planetary and deep sky observing as well. It is a well forged habit.

I agree that nothing replaces the visual experience but you all take such great pictures!

James
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by hopskipson » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:31 pm

I also enjoy visual observing. It helps with stress relief! Today was a very short session. In NYC it was mid 60's and partly sunny. A few high wispy clouds made for a challenge. There was one large prom and some plague areas that were kind of hard to see through the cloud layers. I tried "double stacking" my LS60 with my Quark Chromosphere. It dimmed the view but definitely added some contrast. No time for imaging today but tomorrow looks promising.

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by GreatAttractor » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:09 pm

I observe quite rarely, but here's my advice: once you max out with the 'scope (& double-stacking options), I strongly recommend getting a binoviewer. I have a Baader Maxbright with 2x 15 mm Plössls (just regular ones) and the views with the 50 mm and 90 mm H-alpha setups are wonderful. I also had just one session with Mak 180 (in white light) a few years ago - large sunspots also look great (if there are any...).
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by pedro » Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:32 pm

Hi James

I always observe visually the sun in all my observing sessions. Sometimes I use a binoviewer as well. Usually I do it before going to the dome to image (PST or Taka FS60 + SM60)

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by DeepSolar64 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:57 am

Yes, A binoviewer would be awesome. I have learned from binocular viewing that two eyes are always better than one! And Pedro, you have an FS 60! That is one of two small scopes on my want list, the other being an AT 72. I use my smaller scopes far more than my larger reflectors. Quick set-up to-go portability matters.
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by krakatoa1883 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:54 am

Agree, a binoviewer is a worth addition to any solar setup for observing both in WL and in H alpha. The details of large spot penumbras through a binoviewer are a wonderful sight.
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by MalVeauX » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:24 pm

Heya,

I do visual, even when imaging. When the sky is questionable, I will do visual, even if just for 1 minute sometimes. The benefit of an observatory is that its there and setup, I just walk out and literally take a look without doing much. I mostly enjoy low power binoviewing for quick views and just scan around the surface and limb.

I would do it a lot more if "sunny Florida" was actually sunny all the time, but it's not!

Very best,

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by eroel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:06 pm

James:
As an old timer, I started in the early fifties just doing visual astronomy, at that time it was hard to get some photos because you needed a box camera with a film plate, know how to develop the film and how to process it, then came 35mm film in many versions and 35mm cameras that made things a bit easier, then we started experimenting with cooling the film, but always first it was a visual view of what we wanted to image, BTW, we also did many sketches of the Sun, Moon and Planets.
At those times we had to plan our visual views, we had to open our Star Atlases to find the star and nebula objects, or check Moon craters in a specialized Moon book or Planetary atlas, then we used setting circles to find the objects and after all that we used to try to get some images.
We used to track the objects and guide them through the photo, it sure was an experience to keep the reticle at the center of the guide Star, then manually guide with the buttons of the early handpads that were big boxes usually homemade.
Well that is prehistory, but today with goto scopes, digital imaging and processing, I still take a view before taking a shot, specially to tune the filter, find a nice composition and tweak the focus.
Best regards,
Eric.

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dhkaiser
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by dhkaiser » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:45 pm

Looks like a new AR near the NE limb, see Gong.

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by george9 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:17 am

I do visual only, except real-time monitoring at wavelengths I cannot see, like CaK. Image processing is too much like my day job, so I avoid that. I do love tweaking the equipment because that is more mechanical.

Amen to binoviewers.

George

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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by BigDob » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:11 am

I’ve enjoyed visual for for a lot of years.
A friend had a PST then I bought a Quark and enjoyed it
Now I’ve got a dedicated solar scope and love what it shows me.
I actually wish I could grab a few photos , but that’s a whole new ball game
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by Martin_S » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:59 am

James, I tried visual solar observing but found I was limited to around 30 mins maximum viewing time due to my location in the sub tropics .
My setup now is totally remote .Everything is done from indoors even etalon tuning and focus.

When I have an observing session , I wheel my mount outside,plug in 4 cables and I'm observing with less than 6 minutes setup time.
I usually start early morning and finish around lunch time .

Martin
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dhkaiser
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Re: Visual Solar Observing

Post by dhkaiser » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:10 pm

Impressive setup, I'm envious.

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