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After days of promising that the Sun will shine...it finally has! Although the Sun is out, there is some high haze around so the sky is not totally free of clouds! Even so its time to get the Celestron Evolution 6" SCT telescope outside along with the 6" version of the EclipSmart Solar filter. The Evolution 6" SCT is currently mounted on a wedge. Although the wedge is not necessary for Solar, Lunar, planetary or deep sky observing, the mount is currently being used for some astroimaging so the wedge setup is needed at the moment.
Celestron Evolution 6" SCT ready for Solar action
The EclipSmart Solar filter is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box and comes with four self-adhesive Velcro pads and two Velcro straps. Fitting instructions and a guide for using the filter is also included.
Items included in the EclipSmart Package
The Solar safety film is incorporated into the same type of housing as the telescope's front cover cap - but of course with the central portion of the cap removed for the filter film itself. Fitting the EclipSmart filter is as easy as fitting the telescope's dust cap. With the telescope pointing away from the Sun, the telescope's dust cover is removed and then the Solar filter is "push-fitted" onto the front of the telescope, which was a very snug fit, and being careful not to touch the Solar film itself. The edge of the solar filter is quite wide so there is plenty of the filter housing to hold onto when fitting. For extra safety when observing the Sun, the supplied four self-adhesive Velcro square pads and two Velcro straps are used to keep the filter in place. For each pair of pads, one fits on the edge of the Solar filter housing with the other being attached to the telescope's corrector lens cell. The other pair of pads fit in the same places, but on the opposite side of the telescope tube.
Velcro pads attached to Solar filter and telescope tube
Velcro pads attached to Solar filter and telescope tube showing both pairs attached
Each Velcro strap was then attached to each pair of pads to secure the EclipSmart filter to the telescope tube to keep the filter secure.
With the telescope now ready to go for some Solar viewing/imaging, the Evolution mount was powered on. As the telescope is on a wedge, EQ North Align was selected and the date/time etc information was entered. Next EQ Solar System Align was chosen with the Sun being the alignment target (and "Sun" enabled in the NexStar menu), and the telescope was slewed to the vicinity of the Sun using the telescope's shadow as a guide to pointing the telescope in the right direction. Using a 40mm Celestron eyepiece it took only a few seconds to find the "orange circle" of our nearest Star. Although the mount was not precisely polar aligned, the Sun remained in the field of view for a long period of time. To take an image of the Sun to show you what it looks like with the EclipSmart filter, a smartphone and the Celestron NexYZ smartphone adaptor was used, attached to the 40mm eyepiece. The smartphone was placed in the NexYZ cradle, camera activated and the position of the smartphone was (very easily) adjusted to get the Sun focus and exposed.
Images above showing the Sun on the mobile phone screen with the smartphone attached to the NexYZ smartphone adaptor.
So what did we capture?
Sun taken with mobile device with EclipSmart Solar filter
At the moment the Sun is in, but is starting to come out of, Solar minimum, so it is "quiet". A couple of weeks ago we did have some activity with a sunspot! However today we don't have anything and the high "haze" does not help either. You can see the Sun is a yellow-orange colour to the eye and when photographed, so when sunspots do appear the views and images with the EclipSmart filter will be pleasing. We'll be keeping an eye on our nearest Star, with more observations and images, over the coming summer and autumn months so stay tuned.
If you want to study the Sun with the EclipSmart Solar filter they are available for the popular 6" SCT and 8" SCT/EdgeHD range of Celestron telescopes and are available direct from ourselves.