ATM, Coronado, filter, Hydorgen-Alpha, Meade, Optics, PST, solar filter, Solar telescope, Telescope
A decade or so ago, I bought a brand-new Personal Solar Telescope from Hands On Optics. It was great! Not only could you see sunspots safely, but you could also make out prominences around the circumference of the sun, and if sky conditions were OK, you could make out plages, striations, and all sorts of other features on the Sun’s surface. If you were patient, you could tune the filters so that with the Doppler effect and the fact that many of the filaments and prominences are moving very quickly, you could make them appear and disappear as you changed the H-alpha frequency ever so slightly to one end of the spectrum to the other.
However, as the years went on, the Sun’s image got harder and harder to see. Finally I couldn’t see anything at all. And the Sun got quiet, so my PST just sat in its case, unused, for over a year. I was hoping it wasn’t my eyes!
I later found some information at Starry Nights on fixing the problem: one of the several filters (a ‘blocking’ or ‘ITF’ filter) not far in front of the eyepiece tends to get oxidized, and hence, opaque. I ordered a replacement from Meier at about $80, but was frankly rather apprehensive about figuring out how to do the actual deed. (Unfortunately they are now out of stock: https://maierphotonics.com/656bandpassfilter-1.aspx )
I finally found some threads on Starry Nights that explained more clearly what one was supposed to do ( https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/530890-newbie-trouble-with-coronado-pst/page-4 ) and with a pair of taped-up channel lock pliers and an old 3/4″ chisel that I ground down so that it would turn the threads on the retaining ring, I was able to remove the old filter and put in the new one. Here is a photo of the old filter (to the right, yellowish – blue) and the new one, which is so reflective you can see my red-and-blue cell phone with a fuzzy shiny Apple logo in the middle.
This afternoon, since for a change it wasn’t raining, I got to take it out and use it.
It works great again!