Now I suspect a lot of you would love to try a little solar photography someday but are worried about the cost. You may even be looking at the upcoming annular eclipse on May 20th or the Transit of Venus on June 5/6 (depending on which side of the International Date Line you are on) and wish you could photograph it but think you need lots of expensive equipment.
Well, I am not the wealthiest person in the world so I always try and find ways to do things inexpensively. Regular readers know that my camera is a Canon Digital Rebel Xti which can be picked up inexpensively on eBay. I have several lenses I have bought over the years. The two zoom lenses are the Canon EF-S 55-250mm zoom lens and the EF 70-300 USM zoom lens (got used for $90). I use these two lenses for my sunset green flash pictures.
To take a pic of sunspots, a partial eclipse, or the transit of Venus, however, you are going to need a solar filter. You can always buy some solar film and make your own, but a company called Rainbow Symphony makes solar filters ready to go. I have bought a variety of stuff from them over the years and had good luck with them. I bought the 60mm solar filter and it fits over the end of both my lenses like a glove. It even snaps into place like it was built for these lenses.
So I took my camera outside, found the sun and snapped a shot.
Not a lot of action up there today,but you can see the smudge toward the right side which is sunspot 1450. I didn't do any adjustments to the photo except cropping and took it with all automatic camera settings (with the flash turned off...the camera sees all that dark area and wants to fire a flash!)
So a rather humble beginning, but I am sure I will get somewhat better results as I experiment with manual settings. I will be working with the camera in preparation for the May 20th annular solar eclipse and the June 4th transit of Venus. I am sure many people have comparable cameras and could get interesting photos. Oh, and don't forget, we are heading toward a probable solar maximum in 2013 so a $10 solar filter is not a bad accessory to buy now!
At left is a prototype of the glasses. The big question online seems to be, "Would you wear them?" I doubt that I would. I have enough trouble dealing with visual input. All I need is some damn drop-down menu while I'm driving.
Well, this works out, I guess. I was going to post this yesterday, but I got involved with other things. With Mme. Z unable to do her blog this week, maybe this will help with a Zoltar fix now.
I received a personal, complimentary reading from Madame Zoltar this past January. Twice now I've started to blog about the experience. This is my third attempt. I wish I had saved the draft of my first blog on the subject, when my memories were still fresh.
I hesitated to post my previous blogs for fear that the Madame’s words would prove to be less than true. Shame, shame on me. Oh me of little faith.
Essentially, Madame Zoltar said that I was going to receive one more opportunity to make it. She was very explicit about my responsibility to act responsibly when this occurs. She said, “Seldom have I met anyone given more second chances than you, Mr. OrbsCorbs.” She also said, “Don’t blow it, wise ass.”
I’ve been atingle ever since. This is the song I thought of immediately afterwards:
"At Google we like to create solutions for the future. And we imagine a future where web use won’t be restricted simply to Earth. Rather, people will want to visit their favorite sites while cruising around the rings of Saturn with friends or relaxing at the (inevitable) Mercury tanning facility.
"When the galaxy is our playground, marketers, analysts and webmasters will want to understand location use beyond Earth. For example, if you had a chain of taco stands and noticed many users visiting your website from the Mars outpost, well, that might help you make a business case to begin expanding your business to serve Mars colonists.
"That’s why today we’re announcing a sneak preview of our new Interplanetary Reports. While currently you only get a partial picture of website visitor location, we want to expand beyond Earth to help you understand visitor activities from neighboring stars and planets. You’ll also be able to drill down on each planet to see greater detail. For example, which colony or outpost your visitors came from similar to the city drill down available for Earth today."
Every Wednesday, Madame Zoltar responds to your queries and comments in her blog, Dear Madame Zoltar. Are the stars in your favor? What to do with that 401K? Find out by sending your questions and thoughts to: email@example.com
"The famed Bald Eagles from Decorah, Iowa are back on their nest and ready to start a new family! World famous and live streamed via the internet by the Raptor Resource Center, anyone can view the parents raise their eaglets from egg to fledglings from the comfort of their homes. Using infrared cameras and microphones, the eagles can be seen around the clock during the nesting season, which starts in January or February and runs till June."
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