I guess it is time to say hello to the new solar cycle!.Having seen sunspot #1093 emerge on the eastern limb,I made plans to have the scope out for a day of imaging.The newest sunspot is/was almost identical to sunspot #1092.Both in size and in approximate latitude on the suns northern hemisphere.With clear skies and seasonal temps I set up my equipment and waited for the scope to cool down and it wasn’t long before I took my first image of the new sunspot in white light and was pleasantly surprised to see a small sunspot (designated #1095) almost directly below ss #1093 in the southern hemisphere.Both massive sunspots are round in shape with obvious structure.This is both caused from sheer size and clean skies.Having clean skies around here is a novelty given the humidity this time of year and just like clock work…the skies started to become a bit soupy by the end of the session.
Below is sunspot #1092 as it approaches the western limb.
click image to enlarge
Below is sunspot #1093 and just below that is sunspot #1095
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After 20 minutes of imaging in white light I decided to get some images of a enormous prominence on the eastern limb using a Coronado PST.The prominence was massive and with a bit of tweaking managed to a few smaller prominences as well as the sunspots.
As I fine tuned the focus,the prominences became more distinct and suddenly I noticed that the area to the left of the prominence was getting brighter.I attributed this to the earths upper atmosphere was getting a bit more stable.As time went on,this area became bright white and had a horseshoe shape to it.It became apparent that what I was seeing was a major solar flare erupting.
click image to enlarge.
Just to be sure,I checked out Spaceweather.com and they are buzzing with information about the massive flare and the peak time it occurred.It was at the exact time the image above was taken,which was about 18:35 UT (1:35EST) at my location. According to Spaceweather.com the CME will give us a glancing blow and possibly provide us with some northern lights on the 10th of August.A glancing blow and not a event that we need to be alerted to.