All Eyes on the Sun!

Observing reports for the current year
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Apollo XX
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Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:11 pm

All Eyes on the Sun!

Unread post by Apollo XX »

Do you own solar observing gear? If so, have you been using it lately? If the answer is 'no', then you need to dust that stuff off and get it outside under the Sun.

Solar Cycle #25 (the 25th 11-year cycle since solar record keeping began back in the mid-18th century) is blossoming beautifully and there's lots to be seen when looking at that big ol' ball of glowing hydrogen, that also just so happens to be the single most important life-giving source of our existence.

In broadband white light there are a plethora of sunspot groups (called 'active regions') and the Sun hasn't been blank since sometime late last year. In hydrogen alpha light there are many examples of filaments, prominences, flaring regions and structure in the plasma to be seen. The best part about observing the Sun, or I should say 'parts' for plural, are that typically speaking it's easy to deploy the equipment, the Sun is really pretty easy to find (for most of us) and the big best part - it changes every day! And for added bonuses you never freeze your tushy off while observing the Sun (even on the very coldest days - somehow sitting directly in it helps that), there are no annoying bugs to contend with, and I've never been scared by a bump in the night while solar observing. Go figure. :)

Solar Duo.jpg
Solar Duo.jpg (3.51 MiB) Viewed 204 times
My solar observing kit includes a Herschel Wedge for broadband white viewing and a much-used PST for looking in Ha light. In this image the wedge is mounted in an old AR6 refractor. I've found that the bigger the objective lens I use with the wedge the more prominent is the granulation. But the 6" is a pain to mount and that AstroTech alt/az mount in the picture is crying under the strain. My typical go-to OTA for the wedge is a 4" F/11 achromat, which puts up sensationally hi-res views of sunspot details during good seeing conditions.

hmi1898.png
hmi1898.png (1.86 MiB) Viewed 204 times
The Sun in broadband white light as I saw it today. AR complex 3007/3012 was spectacular, and I counted nearly 30 dark cores in the region.

Keep Looking Up!

Mike M.
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
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mark.m
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Re: All Eyes on the Sun!

Unread post by mark.m »

Mike, that's a great solar image! Can you share some of the details of how you captured that?
- Mark M
Mark M
Portsmouth, RI
Celestron 14" and Meade 10" SCTs
QHY268M + SBIG ST-9
GM2000 (10Micron)
American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) observer code: MMU
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AstroGeek
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:39 pm

Re: All Eyes on the Sun!

Unread post by AstroGeek »

Steve L
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Apollo XX
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Re: All Eyes on the Sun!

Unread post by Apollo XX »

Mark, try to ignore Steve (I know, it's not easy :-) He's hoping for some seriously entertaining forum interaction here, so here it is;

Capturing that image is one of the most arduous things I did on that day. First I had to go to NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory website, then I had to find the 'most recent data' page, and finally, hardest of all, I had to decide what sized file to download and then upload to the forum for posting.

There's a good reason that image is great - you and I paid millions of dollars for it!

Note to self; remember to appropriately credit images procured from other's work.

Sorry about the confusion,

Mike M.
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
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