For anyone who has a camera and telephoto lens this is a great and cheap way to tap into the rather daunting/complicated world of astro photography.
This 'Baader AstroSolar Safety Film' claims to reduce the "intensity of sunlight by 99.999%", which is impressive because the shooting data for the shot above is still 'ISO 100, f8, 1/800th'.......so it just goes to show how insanely bright our sun is!
I bought an A4 sheet of this stuff online for approx £20.
I have no real advice on how to make a mount to attach it to your lens, but with some card, a craft knife and superglue I made the very basic mount you see in the shot below
This film is very flimsy and you can see from the shot of the setup above that my efforts haven't exactly resulted in a ripple free filter, but I genuinely don't think this is much of a problem (image quality wise)
To be honest I haven't really been using this stuff for very long and the results are maybe a little unimpressive?.
I think the main problem is probably because I haven't gotten close enough with my set-up, even with a 500mm + 1.4x teleconverter you can see from the full frame shot below that the size of the sun in the frame is hardly ideal for getting the highest image quality/detail and heavy cropping was used to get the 'frame filling' shot at the beginning of this article.
Here's a 100% crop, you can just see the granular structure of the sun and those 2 dark specks are small sunspots....but again it's not ideal.
Here's possibly an interesting result?, there were some faint clouds in front of the sun, so I deliberatley overexpsed the sun so that the clouds could be seen, this is the raw image so any colour is straight out of the camera and not added during post processing.
Im really happy I bought this 'baader astrosolar safety film' because it really does get some interesting (and otherwise impossible) results...but to be honest I have seen far better results from other people, so I guess a telescope would be a far better option than 'just' a telephoto lens.
Also from my shots above the sun isn't really showing much interesting activity.
I think that huge/numerous sunspots, or an eclipse, or solar flares would make for a far more interesting photograph, over time I hope to capture these.
Like I said above - if you have a camera plus telephoto lens and you want to get into astro photography, then this stuff is a great (and relatively very cheap) way to start!.