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"How to Become An Expert Solar Imager"

Tutorial by Ninian Boyle and Peter B. Lawrence

DVD for viewing and accessing provided software on Personal Computers only

How to Become An Expert Solar Imager

Click on image at left to view enlargement (71,005 bytes)

This is another of those resources that are difficult to find to order online, and that is presently not sold by any other store in the Americas. Company Seven found this video insightful, particularly for those who may just getting started into imaging the Sun; those who are already taking good images may produce even better results after studying this tutorial. Company Seven makes a special effort to stock this DVD at our showroom, we make it available to those in the Americas who cannot visit our showroom through our on line ordering 'Buy It Now' below.

The Sun has been a subject of awe, respect and worship, fear and study since the dawn of time. Early astronomers too wondered at it, and many were blinded (including Galileo) by employing unsafe filtering techniques to look directly at the Sun; these methods attenuated the brightness of the Sun but failed to filter out the then misunderstood damaging infrared and ultraviolet rays. It is only over the recent generations that mankind has developed the technology to reveal the Sun with complete safety, and to capture images of it in all its magnificent diversity.

Sun with Solarscope DSF-70 filter (36,448 bytes) Right: another simply stunning solar image taken by a Solarscope DSF-70 filter configured for 0.5Å operation attached to a TeleVue 76 telescope (70,502 bytes).
Photos cannot convey the 3-D like qualities of the Sun observed through a filtered telescope by the eye, but the image by Pete Lawrence for Solarscope is nonetheless stunning.
Click on image to see enlarged view (418,507 byes).

This technology has now become attainable by the amateur and it reveals a constantly changing, in motion star; one of the few celestial wonders that changes right before your eyes! The Sun and its activities remain fascinating to humanity not just for its impact on Earth, but also from the perspectives of art, literature, and philosophy:

    "Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun."
    Pablo Picasso

    "My sun sets to raise again."
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    "The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love."
    Sitting Bull

    "Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the centre of the Universe."
    Nicolaus Copernicus

    "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
    C.S. Lewis

    "Is it so small a thing To have enjoyed the sun, To have lived light in the spring, To have loved, to have thought, to have done."
    Matthew Arnold, 'Empedocles on Etna', act 1, scene 2, l.397^400.

    "Education is another sun to the educated."
    Heraclitus, fl. c. 500, Fragment quoted in H Diels and W Kranz (eds) Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol.1 (1951), 181, no.134.

    "One evening, I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord, the sun was setting and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream."
    Edvard Munch's diary

    "If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my God."
    Napoleon Bonaparte

The materials within the DVD How to Become An Expert Solar Imager will teach you how to not only capture images of the Sun but it also provides instruction about how to process images, just like the professionals do, to colorize monochromatic images, to achieve a dramatic result, or clarify subtle details. So with the proper equipment and this instruction you too can experience the Sun and produce amazing results: the Sun can be your object of study or of art.

The Authors:

Pete (9,332 bytes) This instructional DVD resulted from a collaborative effort by Ninian Boyle and Pete Lawrence, two experienced amateurs who are using solar filtered telescopes the same as those you can buy from Company Seven. They produced this DVD to answer these questions and many more besides. Their work has featured prominently in works by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as well as in advertisements for companies that manufacture equipment for amateurs and professionals including Coronado and Solarscope, Ltd. for example.

Pete Lawrence is one of the worlds best solar imagers and has had many of his images published in magazines and on the Internet. He is a co-presenter of the BBC television production Sky at Night (formerly with the late great Sir Patrick Moore), and Pete is a major contributor to the BBC "Sky at Night Magazine". His images are studied and appreciated right around the globe and in the course ‘How to Become and Expert Solar Imager’ he parts with, until now, closely guarded secrets as to his techniques for obtaining these truly remarkable images. If you have browsed astronomy images on the Internet you will likely have come across his was as his work has been selected many times as the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and regularly has his solar images published on 'Space'. You will find several of Pete's solar images at Company Seven's web site too as examples of what can be accomplished with the superb Solarscope, Ltd. hydrogen-alpha (Hå) filters.

Right: Pete Lawrence (11,744 bytes).

The co-author Ninian Boyle is an experienced astronomer and astronomy educator, and he is a contributor to Astronomy Now Magazine and to other astronomy periodicals. His speciality is in astronomical equipment. He operated the telescope dealership 'Venturescope' for fifteen (15) years, and has experience is setting up and installing astronomical observatories. He devotes his time to bringing the astronomy to a wider audience through educational works including lectures and teaching in Planetariums and at the regional astronomy societies. He wants to encourage others in what he describes as the "best hobby in the world". He remains an avid astronomer, preferring nothing more than observing and imaging the Sun from his own observatory on the south coast of England. Mr. Boyle is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the British Astronomical Association.

You can learn their secrets right now with this fascinating DVD!
Ninian (11,744 bytes) As conveyed by Ninian Boyle:

    "Dear Fellow Astronomer, I'm sure that you have seen amazing pictures of the Sun in magazines and on the Internet taken by amateur astronomers and wondered how they have done it. Or maybe you didn't know where to start, or what equipment you would need, or perhaps you were too frightened after all the warnings you have received about observing the Sun....

    ...well we can show what equipment you need and how you can produce images to be proud of, all in plain simple English."
Right: Ninian Boyle (11,744 bytes).

As a side note, that is the Queen's english for the rest of us.

So how can you take a picture of the Sun?

Sun by Peter sf-70ds_20100602_1119ut (11,744 bytes)

Above image: The Sun by Pete Lawrence, image taken on 2 June 2010 with a Solarspectrum SF-70 'Double Stack' Hydrogen-alpha filtered telescope (146,699 bytes).
Click on image to see enlarged view (146,699 bytes).

The content of this DVD is based on a course originally put together by Ninian and Pete for a program at a planetarium in southern England. This presentation was so well receive and met such a fantastic reception on the day, with many other people wanting to attend but who could not owing to distance and or scheduling issues, that Ninian and Peter decided to turn the content of that presentation into a video product that could be sent out to desperate and confused would be solar imagers. In fact they have produced what many believe to be the ultimate course on Solar Imaging, that will give you all the information that you need, from what equipment you can use and how to set it up, right through to acquiring the images and then the final processing to give you results that you can be proud to show the world!

Their DVD presents information in a comprehensible manner explaining what types of imaging you can do whether it be white light imaging of the Sun or using the more interesting modern hydrogen-alpha filters and telescopes; they conduct you through the entire process step by step. The DVD content includes:

  • More than two and one-half (2-½) hours of instructional video covering topics including what to use, how to capture images, and the final post-processing of the image data to produce stunning pictures.
  • FREE image processing software*: all that you'll need to commence processing and finalizing your images. This alone can save you hours trawling the Internet to accumulate these resources.
  • Sample processed images and videos supplied by Pete for you to refer to, and
  • unprocessed images and videos supplied by Pete so that you may practice processing; you can make your mistakes in safety!

* Notes About The Content:

    1. This DVD contains not only the instructional video but also the software (PC Windows operating systems only) and practice files. So while you can see the images and video content on a Windows or Macintosh computer, the image processing software is compatible only with PC Windows operating systems, or a Macintosh computer that also has a Windows operating system running through Apple Boot Camp or Parallels for example. This DVD is not authored to be read by a conventional DVD player, instead it can only be read with a personal computer.

    2. We find that Apple and Windows based computers are notoriously inept at playing back the many encoded forms of video files that are out there. So most of us at Company Seven have installed several freeware third party players that do much better. So if your PC with standard software has difficulty playing back the audio or video then you should install some freeware player for Windows such as Easy Media Player from, or VLC media player by the VideoLAN Team.

You will be learning from those who have set the bar for the next generation of imagers; see some of Pete Lawrence's work below for example:

Solar Prominence 2011-09-22 at 12-06-21
Solar Prominence and Sunspot, DSF-70 Filter
22 Sep 2011 at 12:06:21 GMT (72,303 bytes).

Click on image to see enlarged view (96,457 bytes)
Solar Prominence 2011-08-29 at 11-57-15
Loop Prominence and Solar Flare with nearby spicules, DSF-70 Filter
29 Aug 2011 at 11:57:15 GMT (46,145 bytes).

Click on image to see enlarged view (85,851 bytes)
Solar Sunspot 2011-09-22 at 12-06-21
Sunspot Faculae and Flares with Earth graphic overlay for scale,
DSF-70 Filter 22 Sep 2011 at 12:06:21 GMT (78,871 bytes).

Click on image to see enlarged view (106,476 bytes)
Loop Prominence 12 Nov 2011 at 12:19:39 GMT
Loop Prominence with Earth graphic overlay for scale, DSF-70 Filter
12 Nov 2011 at 12:19:39 GMT (30,706 bytes).

Click on image to see enlarged view (91,882 bytes)

Learn secrets Pete never before revealed:

Ninian managed to persuade Pete to part with some of his image processing secrets. So for the first time ever, Pete has agreed to have some truly remarkable techniques that he uses available to you. In fact one of these techniques is nothing short of revolutionary!

All this information from such professionals would ordinarily cost hundreds of dollars (or British Pounds):

  • If you want to know how to take white light images with a Digital SLR camera then the information is here
  • Not sure about how to set up the equipment? They show you how for reliable results every time
  • Puzzled by how to mount a solar telescope onto a different manufacturers mount? The answer is here
  • Safety is always paramount - the DVD includes a check list to avoid hazards
  • Need some tips on achieving good focus? They are here in the video
  • Tips and Tricks - this will make sure you avoid the common mistakes most beginners make
  • What is the best time of day to carry out your imaging runs? Here is the answer and with an explanation as to why
  • Never used video processing software before? The step by step guide will have you using it with confidence in no time at all
  • How do you orientate your camera for consistent results? This DVD will instruct you about a simple technique
  • Do you want to take a'whole disc' image of the Sun but your system does not fit the entire disc in the frame? You get clear instruction as to how you can do it
  • Working on a tight budget? Here is the guidance to help you prioritize, budget, and spend wisely on your equipment; this may and save you hundreds of dollars (or British Pounds)

As this DVD first came into limited distribution in the United Kingdom several customers suggested that a charge of £100 (Approx. $150 USD) for all this information. However, Nigel and Pete would like you to benefit from all this valuable information at a price that most people can afford, so they decided to market the DVD, complete with the included software, all for just £39.95 plus the postage and packing for delivery within the UK of £5.95. Company Seven offers the DVD with postage to most customers in the Americas for under $70.00.

Full 6 Months Money Back Guarantee!

The production team and Company Seven are so confident that you will be pleased and learn so much from your DVD that we are willing to back it up with a six month money-back guarantee. That is correct, you have six (6) months to read and evaluate this DVD and if at the end of that time you can honestly tell us that you have not learned anything useful then we will give you a prompt and courteous refund, less shipping expenses, upon return of the DVD in it's original box

Ordering and availability information:

Please note again, this DVD is formatted for use on a Windows PC ONLY (the software provided is for PCs and because there are practice files for you to use as well as the software, the DVD will not run on anything else) and this is currently not for sale outside the UK by other authorized distributors.


How To Become and Expert Solar Imager DVD • Introduced at Company Seven in April 2013

• This DVD is not Region-coded so it can be played by any personal computer world-wide, but owing to the software and other files content this cannot be read on a conventional DVD movie player.

• You will in the future be able to order the revised edition here by PayPal, or simply contact Company Seven the old-fashioned ways, or send E-Mail to request ordering advice or a PayPal Invoice when the revised DVD becomes available.

• The prices listed here will include the DVD and this also includes delivery by Priority Air Mail. For customers overseas we send by International Priority Air Mail, so please allow between about six (6) to ten (10) business days for delivery.

• Maryland residents sales include 6% Sales Tax

WHEN THIS IS AVAILABLE AGAIN then you will be able to click on the Buy Now button above to order on-line. Or visit our Laurel, Maryland showroom to pick up your DVD.

Contents Copyright 2010-2017 Company Seven, Ninian Boyle and Peter Lawrence; All Rights Reserved