With my recent purchase of the SkyWatcher Quattro 8″ (200mm) and the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in April 2023 it’s time to test out the Baader solar filter for the 200mm aperture.
Why Baader Solar Film?
I’ve consistently found Baader solar film provides a higher resolution more detailed view of the moon than glass white light solar filters. All the glass solar filters I have looked through, have not produced as much detail by some noticeable amount.
You do need to protect any solar filter while in transit/storage well. Any scratch, hole or other defect could risk damage to your eye or camera. One thing which people prefer about glass filters is they feel that the glass is more durable than the solar film. I can imagine a glass plate may well handle an object impacting it better than the solar film would. However I have used the solar film for about 20 years and so far have no defect in any of my filters. I keep the filters stored well in boxes such that the film is not in contact with any surface but is protected from impact.
I purchased a Baader OD 5.0 Astrosolar Telescope Filter from https://www.testar.com.au/
This is setting up the Baader filter.
Mounting on the Telescope
The Baader filter slots over the front aperture with rubber coated pegs which grip against the outside (or inside if you configure it as such) of the optical tube. It also has Velcro with self-adhesive patches to prevent it coming off if the rubber grips were to be insufficient.
Here are some photos of the Baader filter on my SkyWatcher Quatro 8″ (200mm):
Solar Photos using the Baader solar filter
So, it turns out the only problem in taking photographs using this filter on the Skywatcher Quatro 8″ is brightness – too much of it. At raw prime focus the Canon R6 I had mounted on the telescope at the time of testing was using 1/8000th second exposures at ISO 200. Anything slower and the images would risk over exposure. I am likely to use a barlow or teleconverter lens with this configuration in reality, and doing so will dim the brightness (2x barlow will approximately half the brightness, for example). If that was not sufficient then a aperture mask could be made to shade some of the filter/aperture.
The clarity and detail lived up to the usual Baader solar film quality and did not disappoint. Here is a sample exposure which is a single exposure without stacking or any editing than brightness and clarity in Lightroom):