Home Up Solar Filters and Observing solar/cheap_solar.htm

Would you believe that you can purchase a complete solar observing kit (including a telescope) for just over $100? 

My discovery of this cheap, portable scope was purely an accident.  While purchasing several other items, I found a Celestron TableTop76 on sale with an open box discount, so I ordered it.  I figured that the cute little scope would be a very nice conversation piece for my office.

When I purchased the solar filter material, I wanted to start with an easy project that wouldn't waste much in time, effort, and materials.  After all, the filter material was $30 for an A4 sheet!  The TT76 scope was an ideal candidate - it's small, so little material was needed, it's portable, so I could take it to work, and it really didn't matter if I messed up badly because my other scopes would be the main use after I got my feet wet.

To make things even easier, a 4 inch round cardboard shipping tube fits perfectly over the aperture ring with felt pads.  This was a fantastically easy ring to make - saw a 2 or 3 inch section of the 4 inch tube for the main portion.  The two cardboard rings holding the filter material fit over and inside the rings to form the rest of the holder.  I held everything together with packing tape.

Here's what it looks like from the inside:

Here is the scope with the filter: