This weekend I got it into my head to try and see some sunspots. See, I’d just listened to an episode of Astronomy Cast where they were talking about solar activity and I thought maybe I could see these spots for myself. So, I broke out my super-duper high-tech gadgets…
…like a tripod, a $50 telescope, card stock, painter tape and a bent piece of wire. Yes, really.
That telescope is a Galileoscope, built from a kit. There’s one piece of card stock taped to the telescope to keep the other end in the shade, and another piece held by a piece of wire about 6″ from the eyepiece. I didn’t actually measure it, that’s just where the wire ended up. I put the rig out in a sunny spot and pointed at the sun. Took a bit of fiddling to get it pointed just right and focusing the ‘scope isn’t the easiest thing. But look! That little disk of light is an image of the sun!
Here’s a picture of what I saw on the card. It looks a lot better live, honest! For some reason, my digital camera doesn’t seem to be optimized for photographing images of the sun projected onto card stock. Stupid camera.
Here’s the same image, with the contrast turned way up.
And here it is flipped, rotated and compared with the latest images from the SOHO site. See? They’re not just dust specks on the lens.
Neat, huh? Just like real astronomy or something.