How i capture Sun

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Sun (AR 2651)Hello to all,

Today i would like to show  you a mini tutorial of how i photograph the Sun, our main star; so step by step I will show you my techniques. Hopefully it will be useful to you.

First of all, the instrumentation that serves the purpose.

Note: Some instruments are not suitable for the Sun, like my telescope, however, they still work if we want to frame all the sun in high resolution.

You need:

  • A telescope, if your focal length is short you must use a barlow 2x lens for reach the 1000 mm (focal length) or more close about this number (usually i use APO 80/500 + Skywatcher APO barlow 2x – 2″), if your focal length is long you don’t need the barlow lens.
  • A finder scope
  • A motorized mount with keyboard for control the mount (usually i use an Newtonian EQ6 Pro, equatorial mount with Weights)
  • A reflex camera (usually i use Canon 550D) + remote control (for shot in remote).
  • Filters for the Sun (i usually use Baader Astro solar filters) to be applied at the end of the telescope and also at the end of the finder scope.
    WARNING: Do not remove the filters, you can burn the sensor or also your eyes! Pay attection!

Please note: I will only show you with my instrumentation.

First part: practice.

  1. Place the mount with the telescope in a zone where you can see a good part of the sky.
  2. The mount must be leveled in bubble with the ground.
  3. Power on the mount, and with keyboard choose “setup mode>tracking> (i use sideral tracking)” and find the position of Polar star in the sky and then do the polar allignment with polar scope (make an big approximation), if you use N-EQ6 mount.
  4. Place the filters at the end of telescope and at the end of finder scope (as well and pay attection to wind, it must be stopped and well covered).
  5. Place the reflex camera (DSLR) into focuser “DSLR>T2 ring> 2″ adapter nose>focuser” (i repeat, if you use short focal lenght like 500 mm you must use a 2x barlow lens to reach 1000 mm so “DSLR>T2 ring> 2″ adapter nose>barlow 2x>focuser”).
  6. With finder scope find the Sun (always with FILTERS!), then stops with the knobs the position; with keyboard adjust the posistion on “live view” of the DSLR, place Sun about the center of “live view” screen of the camera (still not focused), then with focus knobs adjust the focus while also adjust the ISO and exposure (usually i do a zoom 10x in sunspot to focus the Sun, so you will have a right precision; with ISO 100 and 1/500s of exposure) and stop the focus knobs.
  7. When you are in focus and the Sun is placed at the center of “live view” screen in the DSLR, you can start to make right ISO and exposure (i repeat that i usually use ISO 100 and 1/500s but it depends of the telescope or barlow that you use).
  8. With remote control, you start to shot a several photos in sequence (click  several time the botton in your remote control to shot multiple times).
    Please note: Every photo must be shoted in RAW mode and not in “.jpg”. Usually i shot about 60 photos (you shot more photo you can and pay attection to camera memory) of the Sun (not problem if the Sun moves, but you need that the Sun result always in its full disk, in “live view” screen and not outside of “live view screen”).

Finished practice part.

Second part: Post Production.

When you have all photos captured of Sun into pc, you can start to elaborate them

1) You must convert all .CR2 files so you open Photoshop and then drop all files in it. It will immediately open “Camera Raw”, then just  click “1. Select all” (see picture 1 how to select all images) and clcik “2. Save image” .

Pic 1Picture 1

2) It will open another window to save all file and set like in picture 2. Then you must wait for the end of operation.

Pic 2Picture 2

Now all your files are converted into “.jpg” and ready to elaborate with Registax sofware, so open it.

1)  Go to “Select” and click it, then it will open a new window where you can find all your “.jpg” files (mainly Registax put .avi but you can choose: find .jpg). See picture 3.

Pic 3Picture 3

2) Then just see picture 4, how to set first operations.

Pic 4Picture 4

3) Once you have set the alignment points, you can click on “align” botton and wait for the end of operation, see picture 5.

Pic 5Picture 5

4) At the end of align operation, you can limit your range of frame by using the frame bar selection like at begining (Registax put the 30% best frames first in frame bar and you can choose to limit range of you best frames), once done click on “Limit” botton. See picture 6.

Pic 6Picture 6

5) Then clcik “Stack” (leave setting as default), see picture 7.

Pic 7Picture 7

6) At the end you are in “Wavelet” window where you can pull out the details, by using layers but you can use also other beautiful features like histogram and RGB Balance. See picture 8.

Pic 8Picture 8

Once all is done, save the image in “.tiff” and you can process it a bit more with Photoshop.

The End.
Thank you for reading, i hope you enjoyed it.

Remember to Live,
Life is Beautiful.
© • Cristian Cestaro


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