Skywatcher ED80 – solar and bird imaging

I own a Skywatcher ED80 refractor, which is an 80mm F7.5 telescope with a focal length of 600mm; effective focal length is 1200mm on the Micro 4/3rds system. I bought this as a guide scope for my main astrophotography system. But I normally use this telescope for solar or moon imaging, as it is very easy to set up. 

I tend to use this mounted on my Manfrotto 393 head, which allows for easy manoeuvring of the telescope. This in turn is mounted onto a Manfrotto 075 tripod which is heavy and sturdy and has a load capacity of 12kg, and can extend up to 2.2 metres in height.

Manfrotto 393 fork head (for mounting refractors or large lenses)
Manfrotto 393 fork head (for mounting refractors or large lenses)
Skywatcher ED80 on Manfrotto 393 fork head
Skywatcher ED80 on Manfrotto 393 fork head
Olympus E-PL5 camera mounted on refractor
Olympus E-PL5 camera mounted on refractor

Solar imaging was done with Baader Solar Film 5.0, which although is more ideal for visual observation of the sun, is the only one I have. Baader Solar continuum was added to enhance the visibility of sunspot details.

Firstly images from the ED80 refractor. All have been cropped to 1600×1600. Click on images below for full size.

Solar imaging - Baader Solar continuum 3/9/14
Solar imaging – Baader Solar continuum 3/9/14
Solar imaging - Baader U UV 3/9/14
Solar imaging – Baader U UV 3/9/14
Solar imaging - Baader U UV 3/9/14
Solar imaging – Baader U UV 3/9/14
Solar imaging - Baader Solar continuum 6/9/14
Solar imaging – Baader Solar continuum 6/9/14
Solar imaging - Baader Solar continuum 6/9/14
Solar imaging – Baader Solar continuum 6/9/14
Baader solar continuum 9/9/14
Baader solar continuum 9/9/14
Baader U 9/9/14
Baader U 9/9/14

The best time to do solar imaging or viewing is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the seeing (atmospheric disturbance) will be better owing to the lower ambient temperature than at midday. The 3/9/14 images were taken around 1pm, whereas the 6/9/14 images were taken closer to 4pm.

With the Skywatcher ED80, the images from the Baader U seem to show more of the sun structure (the white areas which are the hotter areas of the sun) than that shot with the Solar continuum.

I also managed to shoot some birds which were perching towards the end of my garden and on the roof of a neighbour’s outbuilding. I had setup for solar imaging, only for the clouds to roll in and cover the whole sky. So rather than waste an opportunity, I decided to shoot the birds instead. I did swap to my Sony A6000 for the bird shots, as my Olympus E-PL5 had run out of battery.

Male robin
Male robin
Male robin
Male robin
Juvenile starling
Juvenile starling

The male robin was unphased by my presence in the garden, and in fact may have been provoked to show his dominant display – as if to claim that it was his territory. The images were cropped down to 2505×3112 and then downsized for the web. The 900mm effective focal length of the refractor is useful for imaging static birds – certainly not possible to do bird-in-flight with this setup.

Boon