Tuesday, 27 November 2012

AR11620 - Sunspot Genesis 27th November

As northern winter approaches opportunities for solar observing are incredibly few and far between for me with the low angle of the sun in the sky and also and artificially high urban horizon of rooftops.  However from NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory orbitting high above Earth such constraints do not apply.  This movie shows new active region AR11620 developing over a period of 48 hours to be over twice the size of Earth.  Solar observers should keep a close eye on the spot as it approaches the limb as it harbours a 'beta - gamma' magnetic field with NOAA forecasters estimating a 35% chance of an M-Class solar flares.  Any blast would not be geo-effective as is not directly Earth directed however could produce an impressive fast moving prominence as the CME erupted. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

CaK Plane Transit - 11th November

Sometimes it is just a case of being in the right place at the right time as this animations shows.  I managed to get a distant plane transitting the sun as I was framing this shot so quickly hit the record button.  I'm quite pleased to get this so late in the year when the low sun means solar astronomy is difficult.

Double Disk - 11th November

double disk by Mark Townley
double disk, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

Solar activity is finally picking up again after a spell of near spotlessness on our star. Despite fine weather country wide I was away from home and unable to get any serious imaging done. I did manage to catch this double disk before the sun slipped closer to the horizon and into the trees. With another large active region just rounding the limb solar astronomers can expect to see plenty in the days ahead, and as we head towards the end of the week then also the chance of auroras also increases!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sluggish Solar Cycle 24

sunspot by Mark Townley
sunspot, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

Latest data released by NOAA shows solar cycle 24 really isn't living up to expectations. Cycle 24 was always predicted to be less intense than cycle 23, but this november batch of data shows if anything since early 2012 activity has actually been falling off. To date there is very little on the near side of our star and the STEREO spacecraft shows there is very little on the far side of the sun. So, what happens from here? Short of an upturn in activity it would appear that this current solar cycle has peaked early and a steady decline is now in effect. However, sunspot numbers are notoriouslly variable and could show an increase as we head into 2013. Really all we can do is monitor things and see what happens!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Ha Full Disk - 3rd November

ha full disk by Mark Townley
ha full disk, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

Our star was at its most photogenic at this wavelength today, though, it has to be said there isn't much going on in the grand scheme of things; very small active regions, very small spots, but the best things were happening with the filaproms today, of which there were numerous small ones aswell as the large one at the solar south pole.

This was taken with the DS40 @ f10.5 with the DMK31 camera, stacked in avistack 2 and post processing done in photoshop CS4.

CaK Full Disk 3rd November

cak full disk by Mark Townley
cak full disk, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

You can tell our star is quiet when there's not much going at even at this wavelength!

White Light Full Disk - 3rd November

wl full disk by Mark Townley
wl full disk, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

You have to look carefully to see the spots here!

Taken with the 70mm @ f6, lunt wedge, baader continuum and UV/IR cut filter.

Saturdays Solar Trio - 3rd November

triptych by Mark Townley
triptych, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

All todays disks were taken at 420mm focal length using the DMK31. I had to be quick as the sun was nearing the trees and I only have a very brief observing window this time of year!