Sunspotter Solar Telescope:

The Sunspotter solar telescope cost an average of $500 in 2016. School teachers can purchase them discounted to as little as $325 through education supply websites. It comes completely assembled and ready to go. It's sturdily built of top quality plywood and attractively finished. Like the Solarscope, it uses an alt-azimuth mount to aim at the sun. This is accomplished by swiveling the base left and right while increasing or decreasing the angle of the triangular telescope frame until the shadow of a brass pin located above the main optic is concentric with the pin. Expect to spend a few seconds fine tuning the aim to get the image of the sun centered on a piece of paper held to the black base by four clips.

Focus is achieved by rotating a threaded barrel holding the final lens in the optical train. I found it annoying that the barrel was hard to turn and the fact that it's impossible to do so without blocking the image of the sun so you can't see what effect focusing is having.

The metal pin with the knurled knob on the lower left screws into the telescope frame locking it to the base. The Sunspotter comes with a set of plastic covers for the lenses and mirrors as well as a plastic cover for the entire unit.

The Sunspotter produces solar images that are 2.75 inches in diameter. The following image shows what the small sunspots 2625 and 2626 looked like on 17 January, 2017. It has been processed to present an image that accurately reflects what the sunspots looked like in the telescope.


No matter how the image was focused I could not get the sunspots as sharp or as contrasty as I could in the much cheaper ($125) Solarscope. For me, the image quality doesn't justify the $500 price, but this isn't to say the Sunspotter isn't without merit. The fact that people can view the sun from both sides increases the number of people using it at once. More importantly, since viewers are looking away from the sun when using the Sunspotter, there is less temptation to glance up directly at the sun, which is something that can happen very easily with the Solarscope.

For a more detailed comparison of the sunspotter and Solarscope, please watch the following video:




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