Archive for Sunspot

Sunspot #1704

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Sunspot, Technorati, Uncategorized with tags on March 28, 2013 by Andrew

Sunspot # 1704 is slowly making it’s way across the Northern hemisphere.The sun is quite calm at the moment,with very little activity. This is not a typical solar maximum. Normally during a solar maximum ,the sun’s surface tends to be freckled with spots.As of yesterday,the sun only had two small active regions. The first,and largest is #1704 ,which is slightly larger than two Earths wide. The second area is south of #1704. That area actually didn’t have a designated number until yesterday afternoon,and is now sunspot #1705
From what I had seen yesterdays observations,the activity is going to start picking up in a few more days. On SOHO’s website,a much larger sunspot is coming into view on the sun’s eastern limb,and is located near the equator. If you have a solar filter I suggest taking a look. I know I will!!.

Some of the other indicators of increasing activity are from huge prominence’s I imaged.Also located on the eastern limb. One prominence resembles a extremely large mushroom cloud. Which,as of today has fanned out into a large canopy.

It is currently overcast here,but the cloud cover seems to be thinning a bit. I am hoping to get some current sun images today.


Sunspots and CME’s on May 5,2010

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Andrew

I have again been quite busy and when time does allow,I try to make some time to bring my scopes out.With our Sun becoming a little more active (and the weather cooperating) I take a chance and set them up.I started observing the sun on May5th at around 1pm’ish and immediately noticed some interesting areas that grabbed my attention.Through the PST these areas appeared as white blotches that indicated that sunspot formation was possible.While,I had my solar scope tuned to the sun,I decided to connect the white light filter to the big scope and noticed a small sunspot formation on the western limb of the suns northern hemisphere.

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The next image in H-Alpha  is oriented pretty close  and matches the above image…

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I tried to show in the previous post the CME that I had images of but,I couldn’t make out the ejection to well either.I am still astounded at the idea of actually capturing this event.I just wish I had a better alignment so I could have made a real time lapse movie instead of the jumpy one I have…lol.

Their were many different prominences  scattered around the disc and even see one form in the same video.The CME was rather odd to see forming.I noticed a bulge that slowly kept growing until like a bubble in a glass of soda,popped sending a huge disc of material into space. Look at the image below and you can plainly see the disc of ejected material as it was blown off into space.

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The next image shows the disc of plasma has dissipated into space but,a large prominence has also formed near the same area.My observations think of it as pulling the cork from a champagne bottle and all the built up has a recoil effect?!.

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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

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and a blacked out version to enhance the prominences….

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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!!.

Sunspot #1024

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2009 by Andrew

Once again,the sun is begining to show signs of activity.I received another email from about the sudden appearance of sunspot #1024 which has been growing quickly.According to the site,solar class C  flares have been almost constant in the sunspot region,giving astronomers around the world a chance to dust off their scopes and image a not so quiet sun.My initial reaction to the new activity was of utter disbelief as I looked at the new spots on the SOHO website which is a great site for real time images of the sun.The magnetic polarity of these new spots indicates that they are the newest members of Solar cycle 24 which,is becoming more intense as the solar jet stream stimulates sunspot production.

The image below was shot at prime focus.

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The images below were shot with afocal projection using a 26mm eyepiece.

Click for larger image.


Image credit:Andrew

imformation credit:,SOHO

Sunspot #1023

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by Andrew

I received a email alert from yesterday alerting me that the sun has a pair of new sunspots which are now visible.I was bit upset about this due to the fact that not only do I have very little time to observe but,we have been under a thick layer of clouds for the past month+ as well.Why is it that whenever we have a bit of space excitement Mother nature always seems to be a wet blanket?.I refer to having new sunspots as space excitement only because the sun has been spotless for such a long period of time.I have officially stopped listening to the local weather forcaster (as of this morning) because they never get the forecasting right.I went to bed lastnight with the impression that I would be waking up to typical cloudcover.When I awoke this morning I was quite thrilled to see absolutely clear blue sky!!! 🙂 .Once again the forecasters got it wrong but,hey I’m not upset.In fact I”m glad they screwed it up!!!.After I had my gallon of coffee (heh,just kidding….it was only a half gallon!),I quickly set my big scope up and faked the alignment.Gotta hurry cuz,my guess was that it would turn cloudy again and it did after a couple hours.With a few puffy clouds drifting past I was able to get quite a few images of the new spots only to delete them due to DIRTY LENSES 😦 .Hmmmm,well I did image spots,just not the type of spots that I was trying for!!.Thats right…I haven’t used the scope in such a long time that it had sadly become a dust magnet *crowd boo’s and hisses*.With little time to spare I performed a quick cleanup and managed to get a few more shots before the clouds moved back in.

According to these new spots are from new solar cycle 24..

From – The magnetic polarity of sunspot 1023 identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Its appearance coincides with the movement of two solar jet streams into a range of heliographic latitudes that promotes sunspot formation. No one knows exactly how the sun’s deep jet streams boost the sunspot count, but they do. As a result, this week’s sunspot activity might herald more to come.


Imformation credit:

Image credit: Andrew

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