Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Daily solar snapshots

The sun is so dynamic that I really want to capture a snapshot everyday. But like most of us, with a day time job, it's really a hard thing to do.

With that in mind, I started to investigate if I can have a remote controllable setup via Internet. If that can be done, I could do it during lunch break at office, to control my setup at home. After a lot of fine tuning, basically the setup is ready. By using "remote desktop", you can control the whole setup via Internet easily. To solve the pointing issue, a webcam with baader filter can be used as a remote finder. Focusing can be done cheaply via a Shoestring FCUSB together with a JMI NGF-S. T-max tuning is harder, but we can always leave it untouched after fine tuning once. Finally, I gave up this project due to safety reason. I've two kids at home and the unattended setup might be too dangerous for them.

There's another possibility. With my newly acquired 450D + 200mm f2.8L + 2x, I can capture the solar disc in white light (Thousand Oaks Solar Type 2+) hand-held! Given that I can do it so easily, and with a solar disc not too small to track sunspots, it's perfectly easy and do-able during lunch break.

That would be great if some manufacturers to come up with a blocking filter specially designed for DSLR lenses. If that's available, H-alpha is also possible. Of course, without this "dream product", I can still do H-alpha with my Borg 45ED II, and even CaK. I shall try out the Borg 45ED II based setup once the adapters are ready. Hand-held is my target mode of operation, to minimize the setup and tear down time.

With just 325mm of the Borg, it should be as easy, but then the 90 degree diagonal will make hand-held harder than straight-through. However, with just a 10mm blocking filter, the field of view is more limited, yes it could cover the solar disc and have quite a lot of rooms left, but then you need some more field of view for easier searching.

Once the gears are ready, time for experiment.

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