Archive for April, 2010

Sol on Easter Sunday 4/4/2010

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized, weather with tags , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2010 by Andrew

I had another run of clear skies so I decided to keep the scope out for another round of observing/imaging with the Coronado PST.With the skies a little cleaner than the day before,I wanted to see if yesterdays successful imaging  was a fluke or whether I had actually jumped the learning curve fence.I began the solar session by just observing the sun rather than jumping head first and getting frustrated if imaging didn’t go so well.I could easily see granulation and the obvious areas of intense activity.A couple features that stood out were of filaments and a plage  that can be seen surrounding sunspot #1057 in my images.A plage is the white are seen commonly surrounding sunspots especially when using a h-alpha filter.Although I have actually seen them in regular white light filters as well.
My observing/imaging session started pretty well until I decided to try for pix.One of my big worries was the fact that I couldn’t get the (or so I thought) exposure times fast enough.After a hour of frustration I took a break and sat back to study the problem in my head.2 cups of coffee later I tweaked the imaging programs default settings and low and behold I was able to get a perfectly exposed image on the live view.I was astounded at the detail I could see and immediately started the program to take images with the LPI before I regained my sanity.All was going well and the result I was getting on my monitor was incredible….all was good or so I thought.Ummmm…..not so fast…something isn’t right when I downloaded the images to my flash card.The shots didn’t look very good as they were very pixelated and lacked detail.This was a glitch I didn’t want and again frustration set in.Getting ready to call it a day I decided to take one more look into the problem and surprise surprise….it dawned on me that I was using the imaging format for the job.After setting the format from Jpeg to BMP I tried again and….holy crap they came came out great!!!…WOOHOO !!!!!!!!! 😀 I proceeded to take as many pix as I could before the sun set behind a mountain.
I also wrote down my formula for taking images with the PST in my astronomy journal so I wouldn’t have such a tough time in the future.

Image credits; Andrew

click to enlarge

click image to enlarge

and a blacked out version to enhance the prominences….

click image to enlarge


Is the Solar minimum really over?

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Planet, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized, weather with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2010 by Andrew

I finally had the weather and the time to take my scopes out.Good thing too cuz they were getting cabin fever I think?! :

Having not had the scope out since November 8th ,spring suddenly came and went with temps in the 70s and 80sF for the most part.Winds were a bit breezy out of the south at 10-15 knots with slightly higher gusts.The skies were clear with the exception of some high thin clouds that made observing the sun in H-alpha a little more forgiving.I have had probs in the past with the Coronado PST as the focus is limited and the program I use doesn’t have very good imaging settings.

So….my question is; is the solar minimum really over and is the sun on the upward climb towards solar maximum?

Below are a couple images that I took yesterday with a Meade LPI and Coronado PST.I am still inside the learning curve with the PST and cant help but think I had some blind luck getting decent images.It also helps that the skies were murky cuz I think i would have been dealing with over exposures and bad focusing.I have been doing my homework about imaging with the PST and am not the only one having these probs.I think it is a matter of finding what works best and refining it?!.


One of many pix I took this weekend was of a massive Prominence that has been putting on a good show.I’m not sure but,I am assuming that this could be associated with a couple CME’s or Coronal Mass Ejections late last month?!.


I am going out on a limb and saying were are going to start seeing much more solar activity?!. I have been watching  SOHO

website for sunspot activity and their has been a marked increase in sunspots.It has been a while since I have seen one of these spots and was pleased to be finally get some images.Below is a image of the sun with spots numbers #1057  and #1059.At one point,sunspot 1059 was large enough to fit 5 earths inside with room to spare!!.

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