Solar observing beyond white light


The Quark eyepiece offers views of the sun in the Calcium H wavelength. You can see a 360° model of the filter at www.skyatnightmagazine/quarkcah.

It used to be that viewing and imaging the Sun was a tricky and potentially dangerous affair: indeed, only the most experienced astronomers ventured into the imaging side of things.

But today, many wonderful advances have made viewing our nearest star a safer affair.

Daystar Filters are among those leading the way in this arena with new and innovative products. The introduction of the hydrogen-alpha (Ha) Quark eyepiece heralded a new era of low(er) cost Ha viewing and imaging with unprecedented detail.

In our July issue Mark Townley takes a look at a new specialised version: the Quark CaH. With this eyepiece you can view the Sun in the Calcium H wavelength, giving a purple view different to what can be seen with the usual hydrogen alpha filters.

What an exciting time to be observing, when we can view our host star in a range of wavelengths and no longer need to be confined to the normal white light view. See what Mark made of the Quark CaH eyepiece in his review this month and why he gave it five stars out of five.

Meanwhile, Tim Jardine got to test-drive iOptron’s AZ Pro mount, which features their ‘level and go’ technology.

I’m all for making setup easy and, according to Tim’s review, the AZ Pro is a step closer to that goal. One wonders what these mounts will be doing next: making a cup of coffee?

The AZ Pro also features a built-in lithium battery so there are no trailing cables to get tangled up, which is a neat idea.

Finally, it’s not all high tech and gadgetry, as I take a look at Meade’s Mini Lightbridge 130, a simple telescope that can kick-start anyone’s exploration of the cosmos.

Read this month’s reviews and more in the July issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, out 23 June.

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