Level of Expertise
We provide an impressively wide array of safe and effective solar equipment to help you view our Sun in all its glory here at OPT, and we're proud of it! This ranges from specialized solar telescopes and filters to cameras selected for their compatibility with solar filters and adapters, and includes the full spectrum that lies between! Whether you need a mount the perfect size for a solar telescope or a camera that will mesh perfectly with your solar filter set, we have what you need. Solar astronomy is unique in that, by its very nature, it can be performed during the day. This becomes an especially notable factor when you're using a normal telescope with a solar filter- you can setup at your chosen site during the day and enjoy solar astronomy, then simply remove the filter at nightfall and continue into nighttime astronomy! And solar astronomy isn't just for those who can invest in a full telescope system- due to how close and how large our sun is, it can even be viewed enjoyably through specialized binoculars or even glasses! This is especially notable during such solar phenomena as eclipses, during which safe practice and a pair of glasses can result in some of the most breathtaking sights of a year! Solar safety is a priority in every solar product sold at OPT, and we urge you to carefully follow the procedures listed in any instructions included with any solar product for your own well being.
Some of the most convenient and easy to enjoy views of the sun are found by utilizing a specialized Solar Telescope. A solar telescope is a refractor-based optical system that uses special filters to view specific wavelengths of light, the most common of which is H-alpha. The H-alpha telescope allows safe observation of the entire solar disc, providing superb views of prominences, chromosphere, and surface details such as sunspots, plagues, flares, filaments, and granulation. H-Alpha filtering also gives the most "natural" view of the sun, in brilliant yellow, orange, and red. The advantage of a specialized solar telescope over a refractor using a filter is obvious; you don't need to increase the complexity of your system by adding additional filters or modifications, and can simply set up and view. Furthermore, solar telescopes are designed to be optimized for solar viewing, meaning that they provide some of the highest quality views as well. They are available in both the H-Alpha and Calcium-K bandwidths, which are the two most often observed bandwidths of light that the sun emits. Solar telescopes filter out all wavelengths other than the wavelength they are specialized to view, which is how they render solar astronomy safe to experience.
OPT offers a number of pre-prepared solar telescope packages and kits, ready to go for your convenience. These are turnkey packages ready for solar use with minimal need for additional products or aid, although some may require more assembly than others. These packages have been designed with your convenience and ease of use in mind, to help you get out and observing or imaging the sun as you please and as soon as possible.They are varied in both price level and intended application; some are suitable for imaging, others for visual. The one common thread is that these packages are all made for Solar use.
One of the core essentials of solar imaging or viewing is a high quality solar filter that can filter out unwanted light and render the sun safe for viewing. Specialized solar telescopes already have integrated solar filters as part of their internal mechanics, but if you're using any other kind of telescope, you absolutely need a solar filter for safety purposes. There are three normal types of solar filter; White Light, H-Alpha, and Calcium-K. Each one produces a different kind of solar image when used to view the sun, because each one focuses on a different wavelength of light to the exclusion of all others. White Light filters are the most affordable and economic option, as well as the most common by far. They produce either a yellow, natural looking solar image or a black and white solar image, depending on manufacturer. H-Alpha filters are the next step from that, providing superb views of prominences, chromosphere, and surface details such as sunspots, plagues, flares, filaments, and granulation. They also produce a natural pallet of orange, red, and yellow. Calcium-K filters focus on very specific phenomena, and produce a blue-purple image. If you're not sure which would be most enjoyable, OPT invites you to contact us for assistance, as we are always happy to help an astronomer in need!
Solar imaging can be extremely rewarding and results in a totally different kind of image from normal astrophotography, which is why we've picked out a selection of some of our favorite solar cameras to use. These solar cameras are not designed intentionally for solar use, but have been designated as solar cameras by OPT due to their high compatibility with both solar filters and solar telescopes. As is to be expected of such a wide array of cameras each one is best suited for different exact setups, but OPT is more than happy to help you figure out which is best for your goals and needs. You will need solar filters to use a camera as a solar camera. Solar safety is a priority in every solar product sold at OPT, and we urge you to carefully follow the procedures listed in any instructions included with any solar product for your own well-being.
It only makes sense that dedicated solar observing instruments have dedicated solar observing accessories too! Manufacturers like Lunt and Coronado offer a wide variety of accessories to make sure you're comfortable out under the sun and to optimize your solar astronomy experience. For your personal comfort, there are hats designed to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your neck. If you own a PST, you’ll also find a variety of products that shield your view, protect your equipment, and improve your experience. We also carry everything from solar binocular platforms to solar tracking mounts. Every possible solar accessory you could need to tweak and modify your solar astronomy experience is available here, just waiting to get in your hands and broaden your horizons! If you need any assistance figuring out which solar accessories would most beneficially modify your solar astronomy experience, don't hesitate to ask; OPT's expert staff are always willing to help an astronomer in need!
A Total Solar Eclipse is the event in which the moon fully blocks out the sun for a limited period of time in the middle of the day; the moons shadow is cast upon earth in a narrow path of 'totality'. Outside of the path of totality it is possible to view the partial solar eclipse that is visible, but to be within that path is considered a once in a lifetime experience. Here at OPT we have a page detailing many of the best methods to view a solar eclipse, and listing all of the Total Solar Eclipses that will occur in the next fifty years.