inally, finally, finally I got my solar filter out. It’s clear in sunny Orlando, the heat wasn’t too bad and other than the twangy shit-kicker music coming over the back fence (where the neighbor is working on any one of his many cars) I decided it was a good day to try out my new solar filter.
So I got it out and carefully mounted it over the barrel of my scope, handling it like it was a loaded weapon (you don’t casually knock around what is potentially a live laser beam). Anyway, got the scope mounted and pointed the right way. Decided to look through it without any eyepiece, just to find the sun. Did the trick I read about, lining the tube on the sun until it’s end on, but nothing. I couldn’t find it. This was a problem I hadn’t considered.
Finally I uncapped the sighter scope and carefully moved the scope about until I saw the sun on my palm (at which point I snatched it back). Now lined up, I could look into the lowest eyepiece I had and gaze directly at the sun.
And there it was, sunspot 2689, with a scattering of little blemishes following it. Looked at it for a while and stepped up to my 11 eyepiece but that made it actually trickier to see and lent no further details so I backed down again. Very fascinating to look at these and see them for what they are, gigantic disturbances in that roiling nuclear furnace.
After looking for a bit, I left the tripod (an equatorial and hence a back-breaker) outside (the moon’s up tonight and I can save the carry-trip out). Brought everything else in. The black eye-piece and tool cases were pretty hot, so I’m glad I didn’t leave them outside all day.
Anyway, tonight (if it stays clear and our tandem ride to dinner doesn’t end in disaster) we’ll do some long-neglected moon-viewing.