A new member of the family is on the way- The Coronado PST (Personal Solar Telescope)

The Coronado Personal Solar Telescope As I wrote in another entry, planet Mercury will be transiting the Sun on November 8 viewed from here in the eastern USA. I do have a solar filter for my Celestron 8i, and I used that combination during the Venus Transit in June 2004. I’ve long wanted to be able to observe the sun more routinely, but setting up that whole rig can be tedious, particularly because that configuration will only display sunspots. If there are no sunspots, I get a nice picture of a featureless ball for my efforts.

Visible Sun Features, Image © Greg Piepol, used with permission

Coronado has made their name with very high-grade hydrogen-alpha filters for solar viewing. Pictures in hydrogen-alpha reveal the beautiful texture of the Sun’s surface, as well as sunspots, solar prominences, granules, filaments, and more. Until a few years ago, it was far too expensive for most people to own a hydrogen-alpha filter or telescope, but no more. For $499, at this writing, I’m getting a scope that will give me views like those you see here, weighs about 3 pounds, and fits on top of a standard camera tripod. Oh sure, I could still spend $20,000 and get the latest and greatest Coronado scopes, but… well actually, I couldn’t. At this price, I am thrilled. I plan to leave the scope set up on my tripod, check this current picture of the Sun in hydrogen-alpha light once a day, and be able to be out and observing in under two minutes.

(solar image © Greg Piepol, www.sungazer.net, used with permission)

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