Saturday, 27 May 2017

Swirling Plasma - 25th May


The seeing was behaving itself a bit on thursday morning with the HaT and I was pleased to get some nice images with the 203mm scope.  These regions of pampas grass plage and plasma are all that remains of the groups of active regions from a few rotations ago now, and at this scale there is still plenty going on with them.  The Baader Solar Telecompressor was used to give a 0.75x reduction factor giving an effective focal length of roughly 4250mm.  The camera was the PGR Chameleon 3 using 2x2 binning to give 6.9um effective pixels and also a much shorter exposure time in an attempt to freeze the seeing, which it seems to have done.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

CaK Full Disk - 24th May

Despite heading on a journey towards solar minima the suns current geoffective face is quite busy, with bands of activity either side of the solar equator.  These are slowly rotating away, and not much seems to be rotating to replace it - we will see over the coming days I guess!  Taken with the 40mm scope at ~500mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

AR12659 in Ha - 24th May

Despite being small, this active region had an interesting amount going on, the single spot was visible faintly on the photosphere, while its bipolar counterpart was seen as a small flaring region.  Dark, cooler plasma tendrils can be seen extending from the active region corresponding to the magnetic field lines.  Taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT, double stacked Daystar Quark, Baader 0.7x solar telecompressor to bring the focal length back to about 4250mm focal length, with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to increase the effective pixel size, their sensitivity and then reduce the exposure time with the result of freezing the seeing conditions.

AR12658 in Ha - 24th May

This image of this small active region reveals the photospheric ghost of the sunspot that was once prominent.  The seeing wasn't great and passing haze bands meant that an animation wasn't possible, which was a shame as at this scale there was plenty going on.  Taken with the 203mm Airylab HaT at ~4250mm focal length, using the 0.7x Baader solar telecompressor and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to freeze the seeing by means of a shorter exposure time.

Twisting Plage - 24th May


These images of twisted solar plasma are regions of plage, that, in calcium light would show up as white areas on the suns disk.  In Ha they manifest themselves as these areas of solar plasma whose appearance is dictated by magnetic field lines.  A couple of rotations ago these regions had sunspots, now, the spots have decayed and just the tell tale twisted plasma is all that remains.  Taken with the 203mm Airylab HaT at ~4250mm fl with a double stacked Daystar Quark etalon, a Baader solar telecompressor and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Sunspot Genesis - 21st May

It was very clear when I setup and observed on Sunday morning that there was an emerging flux region.  This near Earth sized maelstrom of turbulent plasma is a region where magnetic field lines are breaking through the chromosphere as sunspots form.  Indeed, looking at the CaK disk full size it is possible to see a bipolar pair of sunspots.  They are not visible in this image as sunspots are features of the photosphere, and this image shows the chromosphere.  Taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT at ~4250mm focal length with a double stacked Daystar Quark, a Baader solar telecompressor to give a 0.75x reduction factor, and a PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to give 6.9um effective pixels and a short 2ms exposure time in an attempt to freeze the best moments of seeing.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

CaK Full Disk - 21st May

There was quite a reasonable layer of haze when I took this image, but, it was homogeneous, and so the transparency remained constant while I was image.  The bright group of plage is now on 3 rotations, and with the obvious relic sunspots now decaying, an emerging flux region appeared in the north eastern quadrant, however when the image is viewed full size it is possible to see a bipolar pair of very small sunspots.  Curious that over the past couple of months there has been a rejuvenation in solar activity in this northern jet stream.  Taken with the 40mm scope at ~500mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  

Dark Filament - 21st May

Todays filament was a particularly dark one, though, I could not see it in CaK wavelengths.  This shot was taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT telescope, using a double stacked Daystar Quark and shooting somewhere around 4.25m focal length.  A 0.7X Baader Solar Telecompressor was using, as was a PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x binning to give effective 6.9um pixels and also the give a fast 2ms exposure time in an attempt to freeze the best moments of seeing.

AR12656 in Ha - 21st May

Using the 0.2m Airylab HaT I was able to zoom in on the region around AR12656.  This image shows the central sunspot is quite difficult to see at this wavelength. This is because the double stacked Daystar Quark used has reduced continuum leakage in the wings of the Ha line, which gives a higher contrast of chromosphere features.  The sunspot itself is a feature of the photosphere which is why it is difficult to see.  The camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning to give a nice short 2ms exposure time to freeze the seeing conditions.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Active Regions in Calcium Light - 20th May

There was only a chance for observing the sun very briefly this morning before the heavy showers started to roll in, even then I was cloud dodging and only managed a couple of images in Calcium light.  This close up taken with the 40mm scope at ~900mm focal length used the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  This is the third consecutive rotation for this family of active regions that sit either side of the solar equator.

CaK Full Disk - 20th May

A very early start to the day to beat the incoming weather.  Got a nice view of the sun in CaK light using the 40mm scope at ~500mm focal length with the home brew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  There are a few active regions at the moment - and some spots too, that have survived 3 rotations now.  Activity is very much focused towards the solar equator as we get ever closer to solar minimum.

AR12656 in Ha - 18th May

Tried a few shots with the HaT before work on thursday 18th May, well I must have been half asleep as I had way too much tilt on the camera and the top left of the frame is clearly out of focus.  Ignoring this though, and given the less than ideal conditions i'm pleased with this image.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Book Review - 'The Sun' - Leon Golub & Jay M. Pasachoff

Make sure you pick up a copy of the June issue of the 'Sky at Night' magazine it features my review of 'The Sun' by Golub & Pasachoff.  It's a great read and you an buy the book when it goes on general release on 12th June.  

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Scar on the Face of the Sun - 14th May

There was little to see on Sundays Sun, however a small region of plage had recently passed over the suns north eastern limb.  Rather than a new sunspot it looks to be the remains of a previous one that has rotated round again, maybe AR12650?  https://brierleyhillsolar.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/flame-prom-and-ar12650-in-ha-11th-april.html The shot was taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT, Double stacked Daystar Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to shorten the exposure and try and freeze the seeing better, definitely needed in the unstable atmosphere with lower than average pressure upon us.

Filaments & Flux Regions 14th May



These are far from the best images, the atmosphere was unstable, but they are a reasonable view of the smaller scale features that were visible on sundays sun, that the 0.2m Airylab HaT does a reasonable job of showing up.  Taken with the double stacked quark and the PGR chameleon 3 using 2x2 binning to get a better sampling size with the pixels and to shorten the exposure time in an attempt to freeze the poor seeing conditions.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ha Full Disk - 14th May

Today was one of those days where it dawned beautifully sunny and clear, and with a weather front passing through overnight the air was very transparent indeed.  I first noticed Venus in the daytime sky (with sun up) at around 7am, and was able to follow it through the sky with the naked eye for over 2 hours.  Sadly though despite a calm start the atmosphere was in a state of instability, and I knew that today was going to turn cloudy in an instant.  I got this full disk mosaic with the 56mm scope and double stacked Daystar Quark, using the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning.  I'm quite pleased with the result, the tuning maybe could have been a bit better, and fast frame rate couldn't tame the variable seeing as passing clouds went by.  A nice big image though so be sure to double click to view full size.  

CaK Full Disk 14th May

The sun is pretty quiet at the moment as we head nearer solar minimum, with no sunspots being visible for the 6th day in a row.  However looking in narrow band light at calcium wavelengths it can be seen that there is a small area of plage that has come over the northeastern limb.  This is likely the decaying remnants of an active region that first appeared on the sun over 3 rotations ago.  With 'less' to see and churn the chromospheric network these decayed cores are quite easy to track.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Decaying Plage - 11th May

Quite a difference 24 hours makes on the sun; yesterday 'ex' active region AR12655 was a crackling region of plage showing some reasonable feature, today this area has collapsed and is unidentifiable apart from a bit of plasma sculpted by relict magnetic field lines.  The seeing wasn't as good as yesterday, and the 0.2m Airylab HaT was struggling so I put on the 0.7x Baader solar telecompressor to back off the image scale a bit.  The Double stacked Daystar Quark was used as an etalon, with the PGR Chameleon 3 using 2x2 binning to give 6.9um pixels and 3ms exposure time.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

'Ex' AR12655 With The Airylab HaT - 10th May

The sun was officially 'spot free' today with very little in the way of activity, a nod to the upcoming solar minimum.  While there were no spots visible there was a region of plage and magnetic field lines associated with 'ex' active region Ar12655 as can be seen in the image above.  This was taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT with a double stacked Daystar Quark at about 5.6m focal length using a PGR Chamelon 3 with 2x2 binning to get nice large effective 6.9um pixels and a nice short 4ms exposure time to freeze the early morning seeing conditions.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

AR12654 With the Airylab Hat - 7th May

Far from perfect seeing conditions, but I really like the depth in the plasma in the chromosphere when you start looking towards the lib in hi-res.  Taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT, double stacked Daystar Quark and PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning at a focal length of about 6400mm.

AR12655 With The HaT - 7th May

The tuning was not quite spot on for this image, and it took a lot of attempts to get something worth processing in the less than ideal seeing, but i'm pretty pleased how this came out.  Taken with the 0.2m Airylab HaT, Double stacked Daystar Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning.  Focal length about 6400mm.

Ha Full Disk - 7th May

Pretty quiet on this scale on the sun at the moment, a couple of small active regions, a couple of very small filaments and what looks like a old region of decayed plage from a previous active region.  Taken with the 56mm scope, Daystar double stacked Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to try and freeze the seeing a bit.  This is a large image so worth a double click to view it full size!

Friday, 5 May 2017

AR12654 in CaK light - 4th May

Whilst not the largest, or crackling with flare activity there is still plenty going on to see with this active region that developed recently.  It is unlikely it will survive another rotation, but expect to see a spot of decaying plage that marks its location in a couple or 3 weeks time.  Taken with the 60mm scope at ~1200mm focal length using the home brew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  

Emerging Flux Region in CaK Light - 4th May

This little emerging flux region was crackling away yesterday as can be seen in this image taken with the 60mm scope at ~1200mm focal length.  Fingers crossed it will develop into an active region.  The home brew CaK filter and PGR Chameleon 3 camera was used to take the image.

CaK Full Disk - 4th May

Taken with the 60mm scope at 600mm focal length this image shows the sun is pretty quiet at the moment.  The homebrew CaK filter and PGR Chameleon 3 camera was used.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Ha Full Disk - 4th May

Starting to get the hang of the new 56mm setup i've put together for full disks.  Gives nice contrasty large images, worth double clicking.  A double stacked Quark was used along with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Ha Full Disk 3rd May

Playing with a new setup i've been messing around with; i'm frustrated with my Ha full disks of late, my DS PST just sits off to one side of being on band, and if I tune to get on band there are gradients, similar with the DS40 setup, and, the off band or gradient bugs the heck out of me. So, the only thing to do was make a new setup... I took some images on sunday, but weren't 100% happy, so, since then have been modding, so now my 70/420 scope is running at 56/420 and, the double stacked Quark seems a lot happier contrast wise. Switching to the PGR Ch3 with 2x2 binning gives me nice large 6.9um pixels, and rather quick exposure times.

This morning was hazy but was good enough to warrant getting the scope out before work for 15 minutes, so I did a quick full disk mosaic. I could do this in 9 panes, but chose 15 in the end to get some better overlap. Seeing and transparency was variable throughout, you can tell by the 'glow' of the sky, but, on the whole i'm pleased with the result. I want to explore a bit more fine tuning of the etalon, but this isn't bad for first proper go of the system...

Monday, 1 May 2017

AR12653 in Ha - 1st May

A bit of a rough and ready image today, it was a bank holiday, so we were sat under a low pressure system, and after the rain of the first frontal band I set up before the trailing front came through and had a go at imaging in the suckers gap.  I was testing a new setup; I revived my 70mm f6 refractor, and, stepping down to 60mm to give me an f7 setup I used the double stacked quark to see what I could get.  I quite like the image scale, and when conditions allow it should let me get some nice full disk mosaics.  Still not got the tuning worked out exactly, but getting there!  There isn't much life left in this active region now, but still makes for an interesting view.  The PGR GigE IMX249 camera was used.  I'm looking forward to exploring the use of this new setup a bit more now, weather allowing!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

CaK Full Disk 26th April

It's that time of year for 3 months where I am able to observe the sun before I go to work in a morning.  Today had a little cloud initially but left me a quick gap to get the CaK full disk.  I seem to have been neglecting the shorter end of the spectrum lately, but for a quick full disk the 40mm scope and barlow allowed me to get this 2 pane mosaic of the disk.  Taken with the homebrew filter and the PGR Chameleon 3.  This is the second journey around for these active regions, and over the past week or so have been decaying.  I'm not sure they'll survive around for a third time with sunspots, but should be certainly possible to recognise them as an area of plage.

Monday, 24 April 2017

AR12651 in Ha - 23rd April

This active region and its associated plage and filaments is framed nicely in its entirety with the Tal100R refractor, Daystar Double stacked Quark, Daystar interference eliminator and the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning to freeze the seeing and shorten the exposure time and increase the frame rate.  The 0.7x Baader Solar Telecompressor also helps matters by bringing the focal length to near 3000mm.  This setup has a real synergy, and in summer months allows effective imaging at this scale on most days.