Sunday, November 28, 2010

Parents' nightmare

As parents, you don't expect your child to die before you. Unfortunately, that is the reality for us. Derek has stopped chemo treatments, because they do not work any longer. See his blog: Our only consolation is that he'll live on for us in his daughters Marina and Lauren and our daughter-in-law Airdrie. Still, it's devastating.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More info on solar scope

Some additional information: I took some trial shots on the last clear sunny day, but found that it was nearly impossible to focus the image accurately. This is due mainly to the small screen on the Canon XT DSLR. When downloaded onto the computer and displayed on the screen, the images were somewhat out of focus.

The camera can be connected to a computer so that at the time of taking the pictures, the image is captured to the computer and displayed on the screen after a few seconds delay. The software for this is on the CD that came with the camera, and I downloaded a program from Canon which allows remote control of the camera from the computer. This way, the shutter can be released from the computer. Now I'm waiting for a clear day to experiment with that. A clear day may be a long time coming here. We're more than half way through fall; rain is the norm at this time of year. Below is an example of the "tuning" referred to in my previous post:

surface details (unsharp mask in Photoshop used to sharpen the image)

prominences (lower edge - no enhancement)

These are a first try - refinement is necessary.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sun view

Today we had a sunny day. I took the chance to set up my new solar telescope  (Derek wrote a blog about it - see This time, I found enough time to experiment with using an additional etalon filter. The "double stack" of filters certainly enhances the H-alpha details on the sun. The bandwidth of this double filter is around 0.5 Angstrom. By tuning the filters it is possible accentuate various details (faculae, flares, prominences, etc.). I also got an impression of looking at the H-alpha sun in 3D. That's an illusion, but it makes the view really interesting. Below is a picture which approximates the view in the telescope.

                                                     Picture by Michael Karrer (

I've also come up with a system to mount a camera - when there is another chance, I'll start taking pictures.