How to Make a Sunspotter Solar Telescope

How to Make a Sunspotter Solar Telescope?- [7 Easy Steps]

Who doesn’t want to gaze at the star closest to our home, the Earth? However, this desire doesn’t come easy. You can safely observe and study the Sun using sun spotter telescopes. 

But, we understand that this can be very tough to build. The good news is if you won’t make a sun spotter DIY, you’re in the right place.  

So, how to make a sunspotter solar telescope?

The process is simple. Start off by setting the base of the sunspotter. Next, install the main disk, clamp, and scope support. Adjust the elevation of the scope support and then align your sunspotter to true north. Use the knobs to fine adjust the scope at the sun, and then you should be able to take data.

By going through this article, you will find the process of building a sun spotter easier than ever. 

In this article, I’ve covered the process of putting the sunspotter together, its alignment and of course, the ways to fine adjust the scope. 

So without further ado, let’s get right into the details!

What You’ll Need

If you’re wondering how to build a sunspotter telescope, start off by grabbing the essentials.

Building a sunspotter DIY will require you to buy quite a lot of materials. These include-

  • ¾” Plywood
  • 12” diameter plywood disk
  • ⅚” Nuts
  • Carriage Bolts 
  • Toy wheels  
  • Felt Feet
  • Wood Glue
  • Bubble Level

These materials should be adequate to build a sunspotter telescope. Here are some of our recommendations for buying wood glue.

These should firmly stick your desired parts together. I’ve tested these glues out personally, and I’m very helpful they will satisfy. 

How to Build The Sunspotter Telescope

Get ready because building this telescope will require quite some time. But I can assure building your solar telescope DIY will definitely be worth it. 

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of the solar telescope setup.

Even though the name is similar, this process is nothing like installing 10×50 vs 7×50 binoculars.

Step 1: Building The Base

The base has 4 pieces of plywoods. It has three parts. These are:

  • Base
  • 2 triangular uprights
  • Tilted Platform

Firstly, the age of the tilted platform will vary from place to place. For example, since I live in 34° North, I will use this. 

Next, the base needs to be leveled. To be precise, you need to glue a bubble level to the base plate. Once you’ve leveled the base, it’s time to install knobs to the plywoods. 

Cut a hexagonal space under the plywoods. A 5/16” bolt will be inserted here as a knob. Noe fit the knob into the felt feet. 

Inside the base, you can add pockets. These are for cards with observations or unused index cards. At the center, you’ll find the baseline. This points at true North.

This concludes the first step of your DIY sunspotter solar telescope.

Step 2: Main Disk and Clamp

The main disk is a 12’ diameter plywood disk. A metal strip is clamped on the disk. Drill a hole in the middle of the disk and set the structure over the base. 

Two screws are used to hold the piece together to the base. 

Step 3: Scope Support 

Mount the house shape pieces at the center of the main disk. Clamp the house pieces and the semi-circular piece together. Use glue and screw the pieces.

The pine board is supported by a semi-circular piece. One end of the scope and another end of the cardholder is mounted on the pine board. The bottom of the board is connected to the top of the house using two strap hinges. 

The board can be tilted up and down. It can be titled by around 23 degrees. However, it can be fixed in its place using the knob. 

Cut a slot into the semi-circle piece. This allows the threaded rod access to the house-shaped piece. 

On the lower side of the board, carefully glue and screw the index cardholders. Make sure no sideways motion is possible, so the index cards can be easily put in.

 It’s always best to keep the cards in the same position.

Step 4: Fine Adjusting The Elevation

On the top end of the board is the scope mount. This allows fine adjustment when elevating.  

The scope is also mounted on a c-profile aluminum piece which is held down with two screws. Underneath it is a short piece of wire which allows the end to tilt back and forth.

On the other end, the aluminum is held down by a spring. The big knob on this end pushes the aluminum up. 

To prevent slippage, try drilling a hole in the aluminum. This will ride over a pin sticking out of the wood. 

Lastly, Place a cardboard shield in the middle. This will cover up all the ugly-looking holes. 

Step 5: Aligning The Sunspotter

Firstly, we have to align the sun spotter. Align your spotter with the true north. Pay attention because this alignment is a little intricate.

You should find a baseline on the sun spotter. This baseline points towards the local magnetic North. 

Remember, magnetic north and true north are not the same. The magnetic pole can be anywhere in the northern wastes and differs from place to place.

You need to find true north and rotate the base to face that direction. 

To fix this, find the small compass attached to a string. Place it on the baseline. 

Now, the entire sun spotter needs to be rotated. Rotate it, till the compass points to the north-south direction. The base is now facing true North. 

Step 6: Point The Scope At The Sun

Loosen the knob to adjust the rotation of the scope. Rotate enough to make the scope roughly look towards the sun.

The big knob should be used in a similar way to adjust the up and down motion. 

Remember to always hold the scope while adjusting. Otherwise, there is a risk of it slamming down.

The big knob is used for fine adjustments. This will allow you to track the sun’s motion horizontally. 

The knob in the lower front end of the scope is also used to fine adjust the sun’s image onto the cardholder. This is done in a vertical direction. 

You will need to fit a solar filter at the point of sunlight entry to record the data. Don’t get this process confused with hydrogen-alpha filer making process.

Step 7: Taking Data

Insert your index card onto the cardholder. Make sure your card has a circle drawn on it that matches the sun’s image. Utilize the fine adjustments to coincide the circle and the sun’s image. 

Voila! Now you can go ahead and gather your data. 


Question: Can you look at the sun through telescopes?

Answer: This is a big no! You could severely damage your eyes, sometimes, even go blind. However, that’s not the only consequence. You can also damage your telescope lens if you point it straight at the sun. Some special telescopes have solar filters, they are safe to use.

Question: What is a solar filter made of?

Answer: A polymer film is used to make solar filters. This is a durable glass that transmits a very small percentage of the light (0.00001%). You should place it on the aperture of a reflecting telescope, and the objective of a refractive telescope. This prevents the telescope from heating.n 

Question: Can I make a solar filter myself?

Answer: Yes of course! All need are some filter sheets, glue, poster-board materials, and tape and you’re good to go! Plenty of tutorials can be found online. Consequently, you can buy it online for prices above 50$.


That’s all we have on ‘How to make a sunspotter telescope?’. We hope our article helped you solve your problem! 

If you require any further help, please consult a professional.

Till then, take care of yourself, and of course, your sunspotter telescope. 

Best of luck!

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