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50mm Spotting Scope

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tst
50mm Spotting Scope

Hi All.

In the past, for white light  solar observing, I've normally used my 6" F/8 Newtonian. To get away from the thermal and portability issues of this set up, I've been considering using my 50mm 10x - 30x spotting scope.

My question is would a 50mm scope operating at 30x be sufficant to use for daily sun spot counts?

Thanks in advance.

Steve 

HRHA
HRHA's picture
50mm Spotting Scope

Hi Steve,

You'd be in good company with the smaller scope, Wolf used a 37 mm scope for his observations. However, it may be difficult to see these solar minimum sunspots that are now A type and very small. 

Perhaps give it try and compare the results with both scopes?  

Rodney

 

 

tst
Thanks Rodney

Thanks Rodney,

If the skies stay clear today I'll try to do a  comparison.

Steve

mll
magnification

I use a 102 mm APO f/8 with a 10 mm ocular to give me 80x.  I think I remember reading a number of years ago that this was the prefered magnification and, therefore, this is what I've used.  Is that true?

HRHA
HRHA's picture
magnification

Hi,

I think most would agree that 80 x is a little high, but still OK.  The issue is whether you might be counting pores rather than sunspots with high magnification.  Here's a good reason for the smaller aperture (not too small) scopes and lower magnification:

Rodney

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tst
50mm for solar observing

I was able to do a comparison between the 30X50mm spotting scope and my 6" Newtonian operating at 50X. In both scopes the recent active region 2755 was not visible with the 50mm being limited by magnification and the 6" by seeing. As expected the seeing was much better in the 50mm.

I was able to do a star test on the 50mm and (keep in mind I'm not an expert) the optics appeared to be okay with the shadow of the amici prism only visible in the out of focus image. Though not a good test target, within the limits of a 50mm, it did do a good job resolving fine detail on the moon.

In summary, having a very portable scope, that's easy to move to avoid trees, roof tops, and for taking quick looks through holes in the clouds makes me lean towards the 50mm.

This brings me back to my original question: Is 30X enough magnification for useful sunspot observations?

Thoughts

Thanks

Steve 

 

 

 

 

HRHA
HRHA's picture
magnification

Hi Steve,

I looked in the solar database and I find only one other person with a magnification of 30 x.  All other observers (using the direct method) have greater magnification.  So, I would say it's a little weak on that end.  

Rodney

 

tst
Thanks

Rodney,

Thanks for the feedback. From what I'm reading, is it correct that 50X  the best magnification for solar observing?

Steve

HRHA
HRHA's picture
magnification

Hi Steve,

So many different telescopes and ways of observing the sun, I'm not sure what is the best magnification. I think there is concern in the solar community that folks are not counting pores with too much magnification. 

The AAVSO and SILSO create k- factors for each observer after you've made over 100 observations with you telescope. These are based on the idea that after 100 observations you will or should be consistent in knowing how to count sunspots, and what to look for with size of group (and to not split the groups), and estimating the number of spots in each group, etc. for the total Wolf number. 

So, just pick the best (easiest) scope for your self and be as consitent as you can, once the new cycle 25 begins, and many groups and sunspots can be counted, you'll get a k - factor and just stick with your telescope.  

Rodney

 

tst
50mm scope

I didn't think about the k factor, I'll stick with the 6".

Again thanks for the advice and suggestions.

Steve 

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