Daytime Observing: Part Two

Just before one o’clock, I took a break from prepping the purple bedroom for ceiling painting and went down to the lower patio to try some solar observing with the XT8.  The telescope was still in the shade (barely) but could be tilted into the sunlight out of the shadow of the house.  This created the ideal observing site, for me at least, as I could stand mostly in the shade and still use the scope to observe the sun.

I removed the dust caps and installed the solar filter on the end of the tube.  I selected a 28mm eyepiece, which would show me the entire solar disk.  I looked down the tube to the ground and used the silhouette of the scope to orient on the sun (the smaller the shadow, the better aligned).  Bingo!  Found our closest stellar neighbor on the first try.

I could clearly see six sunspots.  I tried the 15mm and the 9mm, but became disappointed in my inability to achieve a crystal clear focus when I zoomed into one of the sunspots.  I nudged Terry away from his computer in the band room to see what he thought of the various eyepieces and how well they focused on the sunspots.  He seemed to have the same experience I did.  The 28mm provided the best and crispest view.

Sunspots for Sunday 8/5/2012 courtesy NASA’s SOHO site (click image for more information)

After a few minutes out in the heat, I decided enough was enough and brought the telescope back into the house, carefully putting away the solar filter in its protective cover and box.