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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 18, 2014 12:02:42 GMT -6
Chicago Astronomer and Chicago Park District Joint
Solar Session Event
20 July 2014
After postponing our joint event for quite awhile - (due to weather and day after day of lake hugging thick fog), the Chicago Astronomer and the Chicago Park District will conduct a free and family friendly Public Solar Observation session Sunday, the 20th of July 2014. We will share views of the solar disk starting at 10:00 am and concluding at 1: 00 pm. The mighty C11 Beast will be properly filtered for safe solar viewing, as will the C102mm Refractor. Hopefully we will have a H-Alpha scope to utilize as well.
We will organize this long over due session at Fullerton and the Lake front by the "Theater on the Lake" site...which has been made available to us for this very cool session...
I cannot advise our fans on the parking situation, as we have not worked this site prior, but if you can bike there, do. (For Chicago Astronomers who wish to work this event, you must contact me first before making the trip.)
Weather can be fickle and could change, but as of Friday afternoon, the conditions look good for a Sunday morning session with the Sun. Consult this thread and Chicago Astronomer social media feeds for updates and confirmations.
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 22, 2014 11:16:52 GMT -6
A successful Solar Sesion by the lake on a Sunday afternoon....
Our joint Chicago Astronomer and Chicago Park District Solar Session has been postponed several times due to weather and heavy fog along the lakefront...and finally, a clear weekend. I jumped at the opportunity to set-up the C11 for this long awaited session.
Popping the Chicago Park District magnet on the SUV, we had rock star parking...just a few away from our set-up site and made unloading/loading an much easier task...
I had the C102mm Refractor riding on top of the C11, both covered in reflective Mylar to keep the temps cool...
Keeping the tube shaded and cool is imperative to steady viewing, shading as best we can, the internal thermal currents down to a minimum. I have had scopes out in the blazing Sun for many a solar session, where the tube gets too hot to touch...and I can only imagine what's going on inside....possibly damaging the guts of the scope.....by just the radiant heat hitting the tube. The mylar wrap is the best solution and worked well - keeping the tube cool to the touch. For this first usage of the Mylar wrap, I crudely taped it along the tube, but in the future...I'm thinking about velcro attachments for a neater appearance and better coverage.
And for Astronomer comfort, I always set-up the Astrobrella for much appreciated shade whilst at the scope..
And...with our banner up...we are ready to show our guests the face of the Sun - safely and comfortable.
I had a Baader film full aperture solar filter on the C102 and a glass Orion full aperture solar filter on the C11...
I prefer full aperture over off axis filtering, as I feel more resolution is available to the observer and higher magnifications possible...even with the central obstruction of a SCT. I also used a yellow filter at the diagonal on the C11 to increase contrast and people expect some color....but this was not always a good thing. More on this later.
With the great assistance our Chicago Park District coordinator Kathleen and assistant...we started our solar session...
Our visitors were amazed that they could view the solar disk through a telescope without harmful effects. For many, it was a special moment, never having the opportunity to study the solar features first hand....as it's always something you see on Youtube or the like. I had fans stay longer than usual contemplating the sheer size of the solar disk and the related sunspots, (which were minimal this day).
But for the few, all they saw was just a bright disk and some saw nothing at all and biked away.
For the majority of our fans, we gave them quite a solar show....
Our location was the nexus of cyclists, boarders and skaters, bringing great amounts of traffic to the area. Chicago Astronomer support crew member Maria was on hand and was taking pics...
I got that little clamp-down umbrella at the now defunct Dominicks's Supermarket for cheap...and I tell you, it has come in handy a great number of times....even for night time observation when I need to cut down glare from a street light and such.
It was very busy, as I attended to Sun lovers...discussing the birth of Sunspots, Earth climate and other related subjects.
Back to the yellow filter....
Apart from full solar aperture filters mentioned above, which do not impart any colors to the image, I used a 2" yellow filter on the C11 Diagonal, which gave the solar disk a nice yellow tint. I like it, as it brings nice contrast without darkening the view. On the C102 refractor, I left it without any color filters...which displayed the solar disk in it's natural white color. When our visitors peered thru the C102 first and then thru the C11, many questioned why one was yellow and the other white. I had to explain the purpose, throughout the day, which was no big deal, but in the future I will use color filtering on both or none at all.
And we continue...
When I set-up the C11, I had a great expanse of wide open sky, but as the time progressed the solar disk would soon duck behind close-by trees. I had some of our fans assist me in moving the whole telescope a few feet south and we were in business again...except I had to realign the scope back to the Sun's path....which is not an easy task. One would think it would be simple enough and quick, considering how bright the Sun is. Using the minimized shadow technique I get the solar disk back in the field of view...
Last week, the Sun displayed a great number of Sunspots, some huge...but as they turned away and rotated out of view, very little took their place - with only two relatively small sunspots this day.
Here is a timely article on the recent lack of Sunspots from Phys.org...
Even so, a nice Umbra/Penumbra display was evident and allowed me to explain about solar magnetic fields and the birth of sunspots...
With the lake behind us, we had a great refreshing locale to show the Sun to those who follow the Chicago Astronomer and for those that the Park District staff notified at Montrose beach. We were starting to get some clouds wafting in from the northwest and at time had to pause for a bit till they passed, but it just gave us the chance to discuss solar mechanics with our guests who waited until clear...
Without proper alignment, I had to nudge the scope from time to time to get the disk drift back in the field of view, but it was just a slight adjustment. The Astobrella was very useful, lest I get baked in the solar radiation. Highly recommed to all solar Astronomers everywhere.
I was also asked time and time again why the telescopes were wrapped in aluminum foil. Explaining about the solar heat and problems it can cause, it made sense to those who asked.
Another solid successful joint Chicago Astronomer and Chicago Park District event for our park visitors. We offered views of our closest star, gazing directly into the face of the sun and enjoying what she had to offer us thru safe filtered optical instruments. It's not often one can do this, but the Chicago Astronomer delivers urban skies....day or night.
On to the next joint session, which is the Perseid Meteor shower at Northerly Island on the 13th of August for an all night event enjoying urban meteors, telescopes and Astronomers.
Post by Paulie pchris00 on Jul 22, 2014 14:37:58 GMT -6
I like the Mylar wrap to keep scopes cool. I had considered it for the Transit of Venus, but my budget was limited, and I had to do without. Luckily it was a mild early summer day, and starting at 5:04 PM, the day's most intense solar rays were hours behind us by then. I had completely forgotten about thermal protection for solar observing, but again at this point, I think I would rather wait until I have a full aperture glass filter.
Also, if you have any Mylar left, you could make a nice hat that will protect you from the gubermint's mind control rays.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton