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Astronomy Now's guide
to solar observing

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If you're thinking about taking up solar observing this summer be sure to consult our fantastic video guides, in which Astronomy Now's equipment expert Nick Howes first introduces you to the different types of solar telescope available and the different wavelengths used to observe the Sun, before guiding you through aligning your telescope with the Sun, which can be a surprisingly difficult feat! If you want to take things further and learn how to image the Sun then Nick takes you through some imaging tips, before heading indoors to suss out the basics of image processing. Finally, he shares a few imaging tricks to get your images looking like those you can see in the magazine's picture gallery. Don't forget to send us your images to gallery2010(at), and remember, NEVER EVER look directly at the Sun, with your naked eye or through a telescope, as this will cause immediate and permanent blindness.

1. Introduction to
solar telescopes

Coronado PSTs, Lunts or Solarscopes? Nick introduces the range of solar telescopes on offer.



2. Observing the Sun in
calcium wavelengths

Many solar observing is done in white light or at hydrogen alpha wavelengths, but the purple hue of calcium wavelengths is another option to explore different depths of the solar atmosphere.



3. Safe solar observing

NEVER ever point your telescope or look directly at the Sun. Nick highlights some important rules of solar observing.



4. Aligning your solar telescope

Aligning your solar telescope safely with the Sun is easier said than done. Nick talks you through setting up your telescope mount and different ways to find the Sun.



5. Imaging the Sun

Take things a step further by attaching a camera to your solar telescope, and you can capture prominences, filaments, sunspots and more.



6. Image processing basics: Registax and AviStack

So, you've snapped hundreds of shots of the Sun, now what? Nick explains how to stack your images using two of the most widely used software packages, Registax and AviStack.



7. Image processing tips
and tricks

Sharpen up your images and add colour and definition. Nick reveals how to create images you can submit to our Picture Gallery!



Find out more!

Read more about imaging the Sun in Nick Howes' article featured in the 2010 Yearbook, and learn more about the science being conducted at the Sun by an array of space telescopes in the July 2010 issue of Astronomy Now magazine, on sale now!