Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aphelion! July 5th Solar image

Of note, earlier today (Universal time) the Earth was at aphelion; the farthest point from the Sun in its elliptical orbit. This actually happened at 0500 UT, which translates to 10:00 PM July 4th here in Tucson (last night). At that time, the Sun was 152,092,424 km away...regardless, on to the main event...

Lets get ready to rumble....In the Earth corner, it's me and the Canon T2i shooting through the TEC 140 and our atmosphere. In the Space corner it is the Solar Dynamics Observatory shooting through no atmosphere...

The winner by unanimous decision (one judge - me!), is me! Seriously, when everything comes together this camera is capable of taking some fantastic images. I am really having a great time using the Canon T2i and when my pictures look like the image below it is very rewarding. This image was taken with my TEC 140 using my Discmount DM-6 Alt-Az mount (no tracking) so I was having to re-center the Sun between each shot. I turned on the mirror lock-up feature of the camera and used the two second shutter delay to allow for any vibrations I was inducing into the system to settle before the image picture was taken. Keep in mind that this is a single shot; not a mosaic or even an integration of several images. The only processing done was slight sharpening and adjustment of the brightness and contrast. Technology is amazing...I have virtually no experience in astrophotography and the camera has allowed me to easily take pictures such as of today's Sun. Anyway, without further ado, the champ!
Click to enlarge

And for reference, here is the image taken from SDO, about 8 minutes later than my image at 1400 UT:
Click to enlarge


  1. Really nice shot Alan. Are you able to capture these images with just the Herschel wedge? Or do you have to put a neutral density filter into the imaging train too?

    1. Thanks Mike- The Lunt Herschel Prism has a permanently installed ND 3 filter, so that knocks down the brightness...I did not use any filter other than that, although I have previously played with an Orion Moon filter and using longer exposures and higher ISO's...