I am officially on vacation and what better way to start my vacation, than to image sunspot 960 AND watch the Space shuttle Atlantis launch?!.As I write this post,the shuttle Atlantis has 45 seconds to launch.
Launch and what a beautiful sight!.Good luck Atlantis!.
I returned home from work and was greeted with high wispy clouds and temps in the lower 80’s F.As I sat here trying to decide if it was worth bringing the scope out.I was listening to the local forecast for the next several days and it is calling for clouds and possible Thunderstorms.Hmmmm ok,well I guess it isn’t going to get any better than it is at the moment.So out the door I ran or rather walked, since I had the OTA in my arms.I performed a quick alignment and was imaging within minutes.When the air conditioner isn’t running my home gets rather toasty,so no real cool down time was required.I managed to snap about 30 images using prime focus and A-focal projection with a 26mm lens and a 2x barlow.Like I stated,high wispy clouds were the conditions so,obviously the seeing was poor at best.But with a bit of tweaking with Photoshop Elements,I was able to enhance 2 of the images well enough to be blog worthy….well,worthy enough for my blog anyway!.
Sunspot 960 appeared as a huge group of spots on the western limb on June 1st and has slowly decade into 2 large spots as it has slowly progressed across the face of the sun.Although these spots appear tiny on the face of the sun,they are actually larger than the planet Earth.In the past week sunspot 960 has produced a few solar flares and a even larger M7.4 flare. M class flares are medium size flares that can cause brief radio blackouts in the Earths polar regions.
Here is the 3 day solar forecast issued June 8th.
Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be low. Region 960 retains the potential for an isolated M-class flare.
Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to persist at quiet conditions through the forecast period.