Do you want to know how to photograph the sun?
Unlike imaging the moon or the soft glow of celestial specters—special precautions need to be taken—so you don’t set your eyes on fire.
Here’s a quick list of everything you’ll need:
A Glass Solar Filter
T-Ring Adapter (for specific camera model)
DSLR Camera (with manual settings)
If you find yourself staring at the sun without any properly designed gear…you’re doing something wrong. Very wrong. If you become hypnotized by sparkling colored orbs floating across your field of vision…then you’re doing something wrong. Very wrong.
**No! Your stylish Oakley sunglasses will not protect your eyeballs!**
There are a few ways to photograph the sun:
Glass solar filters are designed to fit snugly around a telescope’s objective lens—reflecting 99.999% of sunlight. This is the safest way to remove the sun’s glare. I don’t recommend using a filter which screws onto an eyepiece (unless you love the aroma of burning telescope).
You don’t want concentrated sunlight being focused through an eyepiece…if the glass cracks…while you’re gawking at the sun…you guessed it! Your eye will turn to molten goo. Yup. It’s true.
Glass solar filters are more expensive than solar films and other products, but the extra investment will help maintain the integrity of your eyes.
I recommend purchasing a glass solar filter from a reputable dealer and avoid dubiously priced products.
** Be Smart! Protect Your Eyes! **
A glimpse at the sun through any telescope will incinerate your retinas before you can comprehend anything is wrong. Remember that.
Projecting the sun onto a piece of paper (or cardboard) is also safe, and it’s possible to photograph the projected image. Galileo used this technique to track the migration of sunspots.
I don’t have any experience using the solar projection method, so I can’t comment on specific details. Sorry.
In order to safely center the sun in a telescopic eyepiece…you need to learn how to read your telescope’s shadow.
Yeah, that’s right.
What? Did you think that you were just going to stare at the sun and aim your telescope? Haha…
…If shadow reading sounds like a pain in the ass…it’s because it can be.
When a telescope is aimed directly at the sun—pay attention to the shape and size of the projected shadow.
The more compact its shape, the more precise the alignment will be. Simple. Easy. Scientific.
** Don’t become frustrated! Visually aiming the telescope is an ill-advised maneuver **
A long focal length telescope complicates the process even further. A low power eyepiece (40mm) will cut back the magnification—making the sun much easier to locate.
Prime focus is a viable solar photographic method—the technique involves attaching a camera to a telescope (via an appropriate T-ring adapter).
** It can be difficult seeing the sun through a camera LCD screen **
Try these settings if you have difficulty seeing the sun through the camera LCD screen:
ISO: 1600 (or higher)
After the sun is visible through the camera LCD screen, then dial-in the proper exposure settings.
**Remember to Focus!**
Sunspots should be used as focusing targets (when ever possible):
Magnify Image 5x—Focus
Zoom Magnify Image 10x—focus
The atmosphere affects solar photographic resolution. Greatly. Take a look at the image below this sentence—the fuzziness was caused by a restless atmosphere, which blurred and distorted the photograph. Wonderful.
Photograph the sun during calm days.
Avoid photographing the sun during shitty weather. Simple. Easy. Scientific.
The Sun Is Bright As Hell
Even though a typical glass solar filter blocks more than 99% of the sun’s light, the remaining radiation is still pretty damn bright, so don’t underestimate it! Or you may overexpose your images…and no one likes that. So don’t do it. Please.
Decreasing the exposure time will make subtle detail more apparent (granulation, sunspot anatomy…) so don’t be shy! Experiment and discover what works for you.
** Important Reminder **
Common Sense. Use it.
** Solar Photo Album **