The afternoon of Sunday 7th July 2013, for once, saw mainly sunny skies for one of our solar observing events in Dalby Forest. The forest was busy with visitors and many stopped by for a look at the Sun – a first for the majority. Society members were also joined by regular Starfest attendees Mark and Julie Buckingham of North Devon Astronomical Society and a visit from Duane Cox of Bishop Auckland Astronomical Society.
A number of members telescopes including Coronado PSTs (Personal Solar Telescope) and Coronado 60mm SolarMax Hydrogen Alpha telescopes as well as Maksutov and refractor telescopes with white light glass solar filters were set up outside the society observatories.
One question we get asked a lot on our solar viewing days is whether or not it is safe to view the Sun through the equipment. Please be assured that the equipment used is absolutely safe and specifically designed for the purpose. Viewing the Sun through homemade equipment can be more risky, so we do not use filters made by hand to eliminate the risk associated with potential perforation of the film used in these methods. All the filters on the telescopes are professionally manufactured high quality glass filters, and the PSTs and SolarMax telescopes are specifically designed for safe solar observing in the Hydrogen Alpha wavelength of light.
A lovely sun spot region (AR1785 / 1787) was visible throughout the afternoon along with many prominences on the solar limb and a couple of filaments showing high contrast against the surface.
In addition to the Sun, we were also lucky enough to view Venus in daylight through an Orion 140mm Maksutov with Venus being visible with a phase of an estimated 80%.
Society members also took advantage of the dry conditions to complete some maintenance work on the observatories. The observatories are available for society members to use from the Autumn when the dark, clear skies will (hopefully) return. For information on joining the society as well as other perks of joining SARAS, please visit our membership page.
See our events calendar for the next solar observing event to be held in Dalby Forest.