Posted on Monday, July 18, 2016
By Kadri
Observing an astronomical object through a telescope seems like something you might not really have to train or learn, but standing by the side of the telescope and constantly telling people to look in longer, change the position of their eye, etc. made me want to put together my view of what every different kind of observer sees as they look through a H-Alpha solar Telescope (Coronado SolarMax II in the case of these images).
How have you seen this Sun? Credit: Kadri Tinn

To begin with (left to right and from the top down):

  • There are a lot of people who despite your efforts don't want to look through the telescope despite telling them that it's perfectly safe.
  • Then there are the people who catch a glimpse of the Sun from a distance from the eyepiece, to make sure they're safe - they'd probably see an out-of-focus image of the Sun and no features. And they'd describe it as a red dot
  • Naturally in a lot of locations you'd happen to observe the Sun when it's not quite clear. But there are still enthusiastic people who want to look in for a second and not wait for clouds to pass - occasionally they could see some sunspots or filaments, but it's mostly just black clouds.
  • For the more leisurely observer, who has more than just a couple of seconds to spare - they'd notice the prominences on the edges, and any large sunspots.
  • For the thorough observer who might want to stay observing for hours - they'd see the tiniest sunspots, plages and filaments, prominences etc.
  • And finally we come to the astrophotography enthusiast, who mostly doesn't see much of the sun through the eyepiece, but rather on a camera or computer screen - the colors will of-course get changed, and so will contrast, but they'd see all the details (including dust on their camera sensor).

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