A greeting card-maker by day, Alan Friedman pursues his true passion – astronomy – once the night falls. It may be hard to believe, but the Sun photos you’re about to see were taken right from his backyard. Buffalo-based astronomy lover uses a small (3 ½” aperture) telescope with a Hydrogen Alpha filter and an industrial webcam to capture the surface of the Sun, which looks surprisingly calm and fluffy in the final version.
As due to the movements in the atmosphere it is impossible to get sharp images of the objects, Alan has to stream many frames in a short period. He later reviews the video to find the moments of “good seeing” and selects the frames of the best quality. Thus, each final photo is made out of thousands of frames! Moreover, the primary material is all black and white, so Alan has to apply colors and adjust tonality himself. Even though he does want them to look artistic, Alan doesn’t abuse it: “Aesthetic decisions are made with respect for accuracy as well as for the power of the image,” he says.
His observatory “located in a downtown Buffalo backyard amidst streetlights and the turbulent winds of the jet stream, is far from ideally located.” On the other hand, it’s close to home and astronomy equipment is heavy, so Alan tried to make the most of it.