Friday, November 18, 2005

20051118 - Sunspot 822 & Venus on the Rock

Session name: 20051118.1030
Location: The Rock, a hilltop at the southern end of Central Park.

:: TeleVue Ranger (TVR), Obj-70mm, FL-480mm; Thousand Oaks Solar filter
:: Takahashi FS102 (Tak102), Obj-102mm, FL-820; Homemade Baader Film filter

Today I setup on The Rock again with the TVR and Tak102. Each scope was filtered as noted above. Actually, there were 3 ways to observe; the Tak filter has a viewing window cut out with Baader film. I snapped a few photos while a passerby, Alex, stopped to have some looks through each. Alex also stayed while snapping photos through both scopes and we chatted about different public astronomy events around town. It was difficult to get focus on the small LCD display on the Canon PowerShot S200. The setup is a just a hack job using a piece of black folder plastic cut to the size of the eye relief of a TV Plossl 20mm eyepiece. The camera is held in place by rubber bands. Both scopes and filters performed fine though the Tak photo came out better, maybe because the image is larger at 41x versus 24x in the TVR.

The gear atop of "The Rock". I consider this location off the beaten path yet more than a dozen passersby would come around and have looks through the scopes and viewing window. Almost everyone saw the large spot "naked eye" through the viewing window.

It was cold and breezy under a clear blue sky. The seeing was not good at all. To see fine details, I had to wait for steady air.

Here the viewing window is rotated down for unaided view, i.e. no magnification. The large, dark spot of Sunspot 822 was clearly visible almost central to the solar disk. TVR is pointed at Venus.

Sunspot, Tak102 w/Baader Film. This image appears white and black. I observed mostly at 63x, sometimes at 91x. In the Tak102 I was able to see 18 spots, this includes two small spots detached from the large, dark spot within the penumbra. The smaller, lighter spot with 3 umbra surrounded by a narrow penumbra was toward the east limb. There were four, very small spots the northeast of the central pair of spots. 13 spots plus some "contrast lines" were observed between the two framing large spots. One of the spots that apparently had a tail, occasionally appeared as two spots.

Sunspots, TVR w Thousand Oaks Filter. Despite that I wasn't able to get focus for the snapshot, the image was very good when seeing permitted. Almost all the features that I could see with the Tak were apparent here, except those 4 small spots neear the middle. I was able to clearly resolve the 3 spots in the eastern spot (the blur below the large spot). The diagonal and camera were rotated causing the image to rotate 40° ~ 60° clockwise.

I finished up the afternoon on Venus. I never saw it naked eye but it was easy in handheld bins and the scopes. In the scopes it really suffered from the turbulent air as focus was nearly impossible to get. This photo was taken about 1:00pm.