Monday, 26 September 2016
This is the only activity to speak of on the sun at the moment, and with a decaying magnetic field no longer poses a threat for any M-class flare activity. Taken with the Skywatcher ED80 stopped down to 60mm at ~1400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
Not much other than a region of decaying plage is what can be seen here in this active region as it headed towards the limb in this image taken with the Skywatcher ED80 stopped down to 60mm at ~1400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
The seeing conditions were awful on sunday afternoon were awful in the unstable air following the passage of a cold front, but at least they offered clear skies, and, with the seeming distinct lack of good weather lately you have to make the most of every opportunity. The disk was surprisingly blank in CaK light, with a area of place passing towards and over the western limb, and a small active region with some small spots just off mid disk. Taken with the homebrew CaK filter, 40mm scope at ~500mm focal length and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
Not a huge amount happening on the disk today, a few active regions, and interesting a southern polar crown in the form of a filament - indicative of the phase we are in with the solar cycle. Proms looked great through the eyepiece though. Taken with a 50mm Lunt etalon on a 40mm f10 scope with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
The weather was frustrating today, it was gloriously sunny until the moment I looked through the scope when the clouds duly arrived. The rest of the day was shooting in the gaps between the clouds. The seeing wasn't too bad at times, and as a result I decided to get the 100mm Tal refractor out with the CaK filter at 2000mm focal length. Taking 1000 frame files meant the stacking software had something to work with, and as a result I was quite pleased with the resultant image of these small spots. The PGR Chameleon 3 camera was used.
Sunday, 11 September 2016
Conditions were far from ideal with high cloud and haze affecting transparency throughout the imaging session, but I was pleased to get a closeup image of the lovely filaprom that was passing over the western limb. Taken with the 127mm Meade AR5 refractor, a double stacked Daystar Quark Chromosphere and a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
I love the furry texture of the plasma in the chromosphere in this limb image, there is active regions buried away beneath it, but they are difficult to see in this image taken with the Daystar Quark with it's transmission profile modified to have steeper sides and reduced transmission in the wings and shoulders to reduce continuum leakage. This is taken with the 127mm Meade AR5 refractor and the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
I like how the spot in the active region is buried deeply in the plasma of the chromosphere. I think if the conditions allowed (it wasn't so hazy!) this would have been a great candidate for an animation to show running penumbral waves. Taken with the 127mm Meade AR5 scope, Beloptik tri-band ERF, Daystar Quark and the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera. I'm quite pleased with the initial results from this setup as it fills a nice gap between my 80mm scope and the 203mm Airylab HaT when conditions don't allow me to use the larger scope.
This little area was at the time the image taken un-named, but it does look like it will develop into a fully fledged active region. Conditions were too poor for effective use of the HaT today so I decided to give the 127mm Meade AR5 a go with the Daystar Quark. It worked quite well, but the Beloptik tri-band cuts just a little too much light for my liking, so may replace it for a Baader D-ERF instead. Using the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
As AR12585 approached the solar limb it looked very photogenic surrounded by a host of filaments, filaproms and prominences. Looking through the eyepiece this was a joy to look at. Taken with the skywatcher ED80, Daystar Quark and the PGR Blackfly IMX249 GigE camera.
A lovely big prominence visible today in this image taken with a Lunt 50 etalon at focal length of ~500mm with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera. It is taking a bit of doing to get this (double stack) etalon to work like this, but, I think i'm slowly getting there with it!
The high cloud and haze was not supporting hi-res imaging in CaK wavelengths this morning, but it was nice to zoom in a little on both of these active regions using the 60mm scope at 1500mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 and the homebrew CaK filter.
Things have been pretty busy this past month with one thing or another, and is the first time i've managed to get any solar imaging in for virtually a month! It was nice to see todays full disk in calcium light with the 40mm scope at ~500mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera and home brew CaK filter. Quite a bit going on considering we are heading into solar minimum.
Sunday, 4 September 2016
It was just getting dark on the evening of Wednesday 31st august and with a Kp4 forecast for northern lights it wasn't long until it they started to show themselves in the twilight sky. The aurora was very dynamic, and, at times bright too, illuminating the landscape and surroundings. This is a 30 minute timelapse with 4 images a minute taken with the Canon 350D, iso800, 30s exposure with the Sigma 10mm f4 lens. I also worked out how to apply a flat in photoshop to remove the hot pixels from the ageing Canon 350D that was quite effective, next step will be to apply this and also to apply some data from magnetometers to produce a sound track to the 'HD' version of the animations i've captured over the 2 weeks I recently spent in Iceland.
Posted by Mark Townley at Sunday, September 04, 2016
Saturday, 27 August 2016
There was some forecast for aurora in the early hours of the 25th auugst, but, at the same time the weather forecast wasn't good either with cloud forecast. At 11pm on the 24th the sky was over cast so I decided to head off to bed. My setup is fully automated now, and so set it to start recording at 1am, 15 second consecutive exposures until the battery died on the Canon 350D. Well at 1.15am the clouds thinned just enough for the aurora to peek through, the gap was brief, as by 1.45am the clouds had returned. Still, when I got up the next morning to check what I had recorded I was pleased with this brief record of the northern lights. Fingers crossed there will be more to come in the week ahead!
Posted by Mark Townley at Saturday, August 27, 2016
Friday, 26 August 2016
I spent the evening of the 23rd of August watching online aurora monitoring stations and could see a huge auroral oval straight over Iceland where we are staying. Late in august though there is only still a few hours of darkness so I decided to get a few hours sleep and then get up around midnight. Initially I thought there was no aurora to be seen as the northern sky was empty apart from stars, but as I turned around to the south I could see the northern lights stretching brightly across from the east to the west but in the southerly sky as the auroral oval was so far south. This time lapse represents 3 frames a minute and spans two and a half hours, it was taken from the West Fjords of Iceland, with the lights in the shot being the ferry port at Brjanslaekur. Taken with the Canon 350D, Sigma 10mm f4 lens, iso800 and 15 seconds exposure. You can see at the height of it the entire landscape lights up green when it was easily bright enough to cast shadows. Throughout the aurora can be seen reflecting o the sea on the left of the image. It's taken me several years of solar imaging to master the craft of animations, but seem to be able to now, so, might have to go back and look at some of the data I have from previous Iceland visits. Fingers crossed for more clear skies for the rest of my holiday and more auroras!
Posted by Mark Townley at Friday, August 26, 2016
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
There's still not much true 'astronomical night' up here in north west Iceland in the last third of August and by 3am dawn is rapidly brightening up the sky, hiding not just the stars but also the aurora. This was taken between 2.50am and 3.15am and represents just over 4 frames a minute real time. This is the tail end of a G1 geomagnetic storm that was seen widely around Iceland in the early hours of the 24th caused by solar wind from a coronal hole. Taken with the Canon 350D 10mm f4 iso800 and 14s exposure time.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
I was really surprised to see an auroral display on the morning of 23rd august; all the data said there shouldn't be one - Kp1, northerly Bz and a slow solar wind. Never the less aurora covered atleast half the sky, and despite using the 10mm f4 lens on the canon 350D (iso800 20s exp) I just couldn't get all the sky I wanted in the frame. It was a really dynamic display changing very quickly, and very bright displaying colours easily to the naked eye despite the waning gibbous moon high in the southerly sky. The eternal twilight of the late summer in these high latitudes gave the sky background a blue colour, and mist danced on the mountains. The best aurora i've seen in Iceland since february 2014. Should have some more pictures to make an animation from, fingers crossed! This animation is 27 frames and covers about 18 minutes real time. Here's 2 more from different aspects at different times, all spanning the same sort of time 'real time'.
Posted by Mark Townley at Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Taken with the Lunt 50 etalon at 40mm aperture with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera at 400mm focal length. A small crackle of a B class flare can be seen in the active region grouping. I need to get a LS50 telescope to maximise the potential of this nice 50mm double stack etalon.
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
I didn't think the frames I recorded for this were animation quality, but, they just about scrape through, and with so little sun this season it seems a shame to waste them! Same setup as in the previous post. 26 frames spanning 9 minutes real time makes up this time lapse.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
The active regions that have passed over the limb over the past couple of days form part of a huge group, so large that they won't fit in the field of view of the Airylab HaT. These 2 spot regions were fairly static, but the small proms on the limb were very dynamic and would suggest more active regions on the way round in the days ahead. I tried for an animation but the seeing was all over the place, and with passing clouds meant there weren't enough usable frames. Taken with the 203mm scope at 5.6m focal length with a Daystar Quark and a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
There are several active regions that have rotated round the suns eastern limb over the past couple of days, and, should give plenty to look at if clear skies remain! Taken with the Tal at 80mm and 1400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.
Monday, 8 August 2016
Even with a small scope like the 80mm Skywatcher and a Daystar Quark it is very easy to see just how dynamic our star is. This active region as it approaches the limb is quite lively as can be seen in this 15 frame animation spanning 7 minutes real time. The jet prominence on the limb is quite static in comparison. The camera used was a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249.
This animation was taken over 12 minutes and represents 24 frames, and shows what a dynamic little active region this is. My favourite part is just to the left of the active region where a whorled loop of plasma snakes its way off the solar chromosphere. Taken with the Daystar Quark, Skywatcher ED80, a 1.4x barlow lens and the PGR Blackfly Gige IMX249 camera.
AR12571 and AR12572 seem to have developed from nowhere really over the last week, however on sunday they were framed with a lovely jet prominence on the suns limb. While not the largest active regions they have been showing signs of activity over the past couple of days. The image above was taken with a Daystar Quark, Skywatcher ED80, the Baader Solar Telecompressor and a PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera.
There was a lovely set of filaments and a hedgerow prominence on the limb on sunday, a really exciting bit of sun! The seeing was all over the place but I got some pretty decent views with the Daystar Quark on the Skywatcher ED80 refractor, Baader solar telecompressor and the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera. In the days ahead the prominence on the limb should rotate around to be another filament on the disk. Need to get my tilt reduced on the camera as the bottom right of the image is drifting out of focus a bit.
Sunday, 7 August 2016
The sun came out for long enough for me to have a play around with the Daystar Quark on the back of my Skywatcher ED80 scope, this is a combination that really works and delivers excellent results. I used the Baader solar telecompressor to reduce the overall focal length by a factor of 0.7x. Some high cloud was drifting around when I was taking the latter panes for this mosaicas can be seen by the glow around the limb, but, overall I am pleased with the result. Camera used was the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 CMOS.
Posted by Mark Townley at Sunday, August 07, 2016