OK, so the big image featured above was NOT taken by me, but by the SOMEWHAT more sophisticated professionals and equipment at the NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory! Read to find the link to some inspiring, moving video they created today.
Our Baader solar film worked beautifully, even though we just held it by hand in front of the camera. The wrinkles you see in the filter are actually desireable. Here you see the filter film sandwiched between two sheets of paper as delivered by Draco. The ripples mean there is little or no stress on the film. Wrinkles are optically benign, but stressed film is not.
San Fran’s afternoons are particularly windy in the summer, so it took a second person to hold the filter in position front of the lens. Sure, I could have prepared a little, and built a nice homemade fitting. But life interceded, so we made due. Eventually, my wife thought the kids should actually eat their dinner, so I then had to hold the film myself.
After a few unwanted solar blasts to my eye, caused by the filter flapping in the wind, I concluded I had to hold the film with two hands. This meant using the “short fuse” self timer (2 seconds, not 10), and then holding the film in place.
This was great for holding the film, but meant I lost an AMAZING shot of a jet liner flying right across the sun! The plane and its exhaust cast a beautiful shadow across the image, clearing the disk of the sun just as two seconds passed.
In the photo above, Venus is the “Big Spot” while normal sun spots are seen dotting the rest of the image. I liked that the photos we could get with our equipment got close to what I was seeing on TV and online, from planetariums using “normal” filters. The effect of a so-called “hydrogen alpha” filter is just incredible. Check these moves and shots from NASA. They are simply amazing!