White Light Filters

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Here at OPT, we offer white light solar filters crafted from Baader AstroSolar film and specially coated glass.  This material is surrounded by a sturdy material like aluminum, and the whole thing slips over the end of your telescope tube.  Once the filter is in place, it blocks out the harmful rays emitted by the Sun and lets safe wavelengths through, allowing you to observe or photograph sunspots on the surface of the Sun.  The filter also lets you experience solar eclipses or planetary transits safely.  It is important to choose a solar filter that fits snugly, so before buying your filter, you should measure the outside diameter of your telescope carefully.  Once you have this measurement, it is a simple matter to find the proper filter based on size.

 

 

Another decision you will need to make before you buy a filter is which material you prefer - solar film or glass.  Film comes in all sizes and is generally less expensive than glass.  Glass filters come in "full aperture" or "off-axis" styles.  Full aperture means that the glass covers the entire surface of the filter (except for the thin ring of aluminum or other hardy material mentioned earlier).  Off-axis means most of the filter is aluminum, and a small area off to one side is the actual filter.  Off-axis filters are normally used for larger aperture telescopes because the Sun is bright, and all that aperture is not necessary for a nice, bright image.  Just like off-axis masks that amateur astronomers sometimes use for viewing very bright objects like the Moon or Venus, you will actually improve the view through a large aperture telescope if you employ an off-axis solar filter instead of a full aperture model.  And you will pay less money!

Please remember that while the solar filters available at OPT are safe when used correctly, certain precautions should always be observed.  Never allow children to observe the Sun without a knowledgeable adult on hand to supervise.  When setting up, do not use your unfiltered telescope, finder scope, or naked eye to "line up" the Sun.  Tape over your finder before you begin to eliminate the temptation!  Instead, put the filter on your telescope and then use a low power eyepiece as your "finder".  Use the shadow of your telescope to get lined up east to west by achieving the sharpest shadow you can, and then move your scope up and down while looking through the eyepiece until you find the Sun.  Alternatively, buy a Sol Searcher or other Sun Finder to add to your telescope arsenal.  If you have electronics or a computerized telescope, they may provide a method for finding the Sun.  But don't use your unfiltered eyes to do it!  Never, not even for a second.  The damage caused by the Sun is painless and quick, so be safe, read the instructions carefully, and call a telescope expert at OPT if you have a question.  Have fun observing our closest star, the Sun.  

 

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