Thursday, 27 December 2012

Dreary December Sunshine - 27th December

December has been a terrible month for solar observing, despite a frosty start to the month things rapidly took a turn for the worst with endless low pressure system after low pressure system coming in across the Atlantic and stalling over the British Isles as the Russian high pressure block didn't allow them to carry on as usual across Europe.  I've been using a PST on a camera tripod for my winter observing this year as it allows me the portability to move around and snatch the brief solar gaps that occur between the houses and trees which if I used my regular observing rig I would not be able to capitalise on. 

I thought I would try something different today with double stacking it using the etalon from my DS40 setup.  I've tried this before but have never really been 100% happy with the results as they showed banding and uneven illumination.  Today I tried the 'other half' of my double stack etalon configuration with much better results.  The uneven illumination is all but gone, and there is no noticeable banding - there is a little hot spotting as a result of the PST etalon itself, but using my etalon mods as described in the equipment section of this website it should be possible to reduce this still further. 

As can be seen from the animation above, today had far from clear skies, however inbetween the rain I did manage a short observation, even if there were some clouds about.  I'm really looking forward to the new year coming and the sun getting higher in the sky and being able to get some proper observations in.