Imaging Sunlight Using a Digital Spectroheliograph

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Springer, May 24, 2016 - Science - 278 pages
Ken M. Harrison's latest book is a complete guide for amateur astronomers who want to obtain detailed narrowband images of the Sun using a digital spectroheliograph (SHG). The SHG allows the safe imaging of the Sun without the expense of commercial ‘etalon’ solar filters. As the supporting software continues to be refined, the use of the digital spectroheliograph will become more and more mainstream and has the potential to replace the expensive solar filters currently in use. The early chapters briefly explain the concept of the SHG and how it can produce an image from the solar spectrum. A comparison of the currently available narrow band solar filters is followed by a detailed analysis of the critical design, construction and assembly features of the SHG. The design and optimum layout of the instrument is discussed to allow evaluation of performance. This information explains how to assemble a fully functional SHG using readily available components. The software required to process the images is explained and step by step examples provided, with various digital instruments around the world highlighted based on input from many experienced amateurs who have shared their experience in building and using their spectroheliographs. The final chapters provide a historical overview of the traditional spectroheliograph and the later spectrohelioscope, from the initial G.E.Hale and Deslandres concepts of the 1890’s through to the later work by Veio and others. The construction and performance of various instruments is covered in detail, and provides a unique opportunity to record and appreciate the groundbreaking researches carried out by amateurs in the 20th century. This is an absolutely up to date book which fully addresses the watershed, game changing influence of the digital imaging revolution on the traditional spectroheliograph.

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Brief History ofSolar Observations
Safe Filters forSolar Imaging
The Sun andIts Atmosphere
Solar Observations Using Spectroscopes
The Solar Spectrum
Digital Spectroheliograph Design Basics
Construction ofaDigital SHG Two Examples
SHG Processing Software
The Spectrohelioscope SHS
Future Solar Imaging Developments
Appendix A Summary ofImportant Solar Wavelengths
Appendix B SimSpec andSimSpec SHG Design Spreadsheets
Appendix C Suppliers ofComponents ofInterest totheAmateur
Appendix E

Amateur Digital SHG Instruments
SHG Images andScience Achievements

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About the author (2016)

An experienced amateur astronomer, Ken Harrison was born in Scotland where he trained as a mechanical engineer. He has been designing and building telescopes since the early 1960’s and has built a series of spectroscopes for use on medium-sized amateur telescopes. He was Section Director of the Astronomical Society of Victoria, Australia Astrophotographic Section for ten years and past president of the Society. Ken’s university thesis (and his first publication) was Design and Construction of the Isaac Newton 98-inch Telescope (Strathclyde University, 1970); since then he has published articles on optical design including Blink Comparison, (BAA Journal Vol 87, p 94) and Method of Radially Supporting Large Mirrors (Vol 87, p 154). He has made many contributions to the Astronomical Society of Victoria newsletter and was for three years the Editor of the ‘N’Daba’ newsletter of the Natal Centre, Astronomical Society of Southern Africa. He is the author of "Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs" (Springer, 2011) and "Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them" (Springer, 2012).

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