Going H-alpha: 2018, April 6th. A sunny day and 53F!


A clear, sunny day with only a little cloud coming from the west. Set up my modified 6" f/8 H-alpha telescope [125mm f/10 equivalent] on the big mounting up on the observatory platform. Sharpest views so far! One prominence was so razor sharp it looked like shrubs at the bottom of the garden. Tremendous detail in the largest prom. Which developed throughout the day as I tried various eyepieces.

The Sun's surface features were also sharper and more even than before. Though picking out detail was a matter of tilting my viewpoint. I had another go at tilting the D-ERF too and was pleased to see the background red blush had diminished slightly.

Throughout the day I took handheld snaps with the Canon short zoom. Still not a patch on what I could see visually.

Later I tried iCap with my Neximage5 but it was months since I last tried it and I had forgotten enough to make it pointless. A new iCap software edition is also available. The sky grew progressively more milky around the sun so I took everything down again at 5pm after spending hours trying different things.

I am amazed how well wireless works so far from the house and the indoor wireless router. No problem at all watching a trial UHD 4K video on YouTube on my 4K laptop. What was difficult was seeing anything on the screen in bright sunshine. Even with black backgrounds reflected in the screen it was a real struggle. So, I need a proper enclosure to make the laptop useful for solar. Not to mention providing shelter and a working surface when observing after dark. I still prefer a 'proper' mouse to the touch pad.

I think I'll hang something on the northern side of the pier. Where I can view the laptop inside a box. The top surface can act as a [rimmed] shelf for all the bits and pieces I need at the telescope. Presently, there is far too much climbing and descending the ladder to fetch things as they occur to me.

I have several clear plastic boxes for housing the drive electronics and optics [separately] with lock down lids for carrying them up and down. The telescopes have to be carried up and down too, of course. I also have to remove the cradle to allow the protective covering to lie compactly over the mounting. The Tollok bush stays safely in place on the Dec shaft after I remove the ten [cradle] fixing screws with a hex key.

The bush will only let go of the shaft if the special screw holes are used to push the compression/expansion cones apart. A nice safety feature which allows repeated dismantling without damage or risk. It takes far more torque to release the bush than to tighten its 10 clamping screws. I swapped the original screws to stainless steel, hex socket to avoid the inevitable rust. Though the Tollok bush is plain steel it has mostly resisted rust provided it is covered.

Sunday 8th was another sunny day of my staring at the sun in H-alpha. Much less detail to look at today. There was one, light fuzzy patch and a dark wavy line on the surface at 8 'clock and only two small prominences at 12 o'clock and four. A tall, barely visible, narrow jet rose vertically at about 3 o'clock in my star diagonal view.


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