Wednesday, March 7, 2001

I see the light! Fun in the sun

Just went out back and took a peek at the sun with my 10x50 Ultraview binoculars. Three nice spots on ole Sol today. The after-effects remind me of looking at the bright moon through my 10" Dob... I have a darkish spot remaining in my vision.

Using the binos was fun. At first I tried on a pair of eclipse sunglasses (the astronomical equivalent of Frank Zappa's Cheap Sunglasses).. and felt I could see a naked eye spot. Well, maybe. So I thought "why don't I take my big glass solar filter and hold them up in front of my binos"....

Instead, I saw a poster tube that looked about the right size to fit over the objective end of the 10x50's. A quick check showed the tube to be just right. I exacto'd the tube into pieces that fit down over the barrels of the binos. Then I cut pieces of the Baader solar paper and rubber-banded it over the two tubes. Onto the binos and out I went.

At first the view was very shakey, but I recalled Jay Freeman's famous "observing with binoculars" talk that I'd heard at the SJAA years ago, and his recommendations on how to hold binos. I regripped the binos back near the eyecups and placed my thumbs and forefingers around my eye sockets. Viola! Nature's own image stabilizers! The view was great!

Now I have image stabilized solar binos on the cheap! Quick, easy and fun.

I bet these sunspots would be good through a bit more aperture....

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