Astro photography

Coronado SolarMax II 60

This shows the set-up for using a digital SLR with the Coronado SolarMax II 60 scope in an eyepiece projection configuration. The telescope contains a sophisticated light filtration system that isolates the hydrogen alpha wavelength at 656.3 nanometres. In addition, at the front end of the scope there's an energy rejection filter that blocks infrared, ultraviolet, and virtually all other visible wavelengths. This telescope is just for looking at the Sun and nothing else. Only a properly filtered telescope can be used for observing the Sun. The black mechanism to the left of the scope is a tracking mount, which keeps the Sun centred in view by compensating for the Earth's rotation.

Viewing the Sun in just hydrogen alpha light makes it possible to see the solar chromosphere. This relatively thin layer (about two thousand km deep) of the Sun's atmosphere is located above the photosphere. The photosphere is where we can most easily see sunspots, and it is viewed with dense, white light filters.

The solar chromosphere is the region that shows spectacular prominences of gas and plasma lifting off the surface of the Sun. Powerful magnetic fields in the Sun lift these plumes containing billions of tonnes of matter into space, far beyond the chromosphere, sometimes reaching out over one hundred thousand km. Without hydrogen alpha light filtration the chromosphere can only be seen for a few brief moments during a total solar eclipse. This solar dedicated telescope makes it possible to observe the chromosphere on any sunny day.

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Steve Irvine
R.R. # 2
Wiarton, Ontario
Canada N0H 2T0
(519) 534 2175