Lunt LS230

29 May 2019

Some of you will have heard about this already, but we've got a Lunt LS230 solar telescope on the floor. This is a nine inch refractor, specifically for observing the surface and prominances of the Sun.

Actually, it's the world's largest solar telescope, and only ten have been manufactured. Want one?

Normally we warn people to never (and I mean NEVER) use an unmodified telescope to look at the sun. Clearly it's not going to do your eyes any good at all. there are a couple of ways you can do it though.

First, a strong neutral density filter (like a decent chunk of welder's glass) will turn the brightness down sufficiently so you can look directly at the Sun. This is called "white light" observation, as you see all the visible frequencies (that's what a neutral density filter does).

Observing in white light, you can see sunspots as grey patches, including an umbra and penumbra. The rest of the Sun is just a featureless white plain.

The second way of observing the sun is using a Hydrogen alpha filter, which cuts all light in most colours, letting in light only of a very specific frequency.

Using Hydrogen alpha, you can see all the filaments and fine details on the Sun's surface. You can even see prominances on the side of the sun. The sunspot photo I've attached here was taken with my tiny solar telescope called a Coronado PST. The Lunt LS230 works in the same way, only way, way better.

We don't plan to bring the Lunt downstairs and outside to view the sun - it's too big and heavy. It comes with a monster Celestron CGX-L mount, and it's nearly too heavy for that.

However, if you want to be the talk of the town, put this telescope in your back yard. We haven't got a price on it yet, but don't expect it to be cheap!