Sunday, 31 March 2013
Saturday, 30 March 2013
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Monday, 25 March 2013
Rapidly passing cloud meant I tried something radical for me today with my Ha full disk: I used a focal reducer. This only needed 2 panes to make the full disk, however using focal reducers with PST mods means sweet spotting is accentuated, and this in indeed the case with this disk where on the west (right) hand side the image can be seen going off band. When we finally get some decent clear skies I may explore this setup a bit more...
Despite our sun being quiet at the moment there is still plenty to be seen in CaK wavelengths. Despite some haze, my new CaK filter design was still achieving exposures of 1/500th sec with the 70mm @ f6, considerably shorter exposure than I was getting previously - great for freezing out those moments of good seeing!
Saturday, 23 March 2013
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Monday, 4 March 2013
The weatherman promised 'wall to wall' sunshine today, which was technically correct apart from the ever present layer of high cloud throughout the day. I got home from work as quickly as possible and setup my kit. It was soon apparent the haze was thicker than expected - my usual exposure of 1/370s was increased to 1/45s, however the haze was reasonably uniform and so was able to get a half decent shot. The image above was taken with the 70mm PST mod and 1.6x barlow with a DMK31 camera. 3 days in a row imaging! Can I make it 4?
Sunday, 3 March 2013
In solar photography we do something called 'lucky imaging' - this is where to generate a picture we first take a video file of the subject that can be formed of a couple of thousand individual frames, then clever software searches through the video file to find only the sharpest frames. Turbulence in the atmosphere forms a 'heat haze' that blurs images, so we only want to select the best that are the least distorted, we then 'stack' a number of the best frames to improve the final image still further to improve the signal to noise ratio of the picture.
Today I was taking lucky imaging to the extreme; normally I shoot 1500 frames and then stack 200, however the only break in the clouds was so brief I only managed to shoot 98 frames - that's just over 3 seconds of video! I then used Autostakkert2 to stack the best 25 of the 98. The image above is the result.
AR11683 & AR11685 show a great region of the sun, there is so much going on - a whole host of sunspots, flaring, and filaments; there was even a nice prom on view too. The region looks very angry! The shot was taken with the 70mm PST mod, 1.6x barlow and DMK31 CCD camera.
Despite looking a very turbulent region of the sun, the big spot associated with this active region is already showing a light bridge - a line of bright plasma cutting across the umbra and penumbra. Still, there is alot going on here; some mild flaring, swirling plasma and quite a few spots. If the sun could just pep up a bit in terms of its activity things would be better!
Taken with the 70mm PST mod @ f15, achieved by using a 2.5x powermate and DMK31 camera.
Taken with the 70mm PST mod and 2.5x powermate to give f15 this shot shows this angry area on the sun. Activity could well build here in the coming days with these active regions.
A trifecta of full disks from the 2nd march - this was taken with the 70mm PST mod at f12. The longer wavelengths of hydrogen alpha allowed me to up the image scale here. I really like how this new scope is performing and the lovely detailed images it produces. It is a great compromise between size and ability to work well in poor seeing conditions. I believe later in the year when the sun is higher in the sky and seeing is good - saturday seeing was dire! This scope will pull out an extra level of detail. This is producing full disks that are 2000x2000 pixels, and if we do ever get a busy solar disk this year I may have to make a print of it for hanging on the wall using this scope.
Taken with the 70mm frac @ f9 using the homebrew Cak filter that is a Baader K-line, Coronado Front filter and ND-less Lunt solar wedge as an ERF, this image shows that despite their being little current activity on our star there are rumblings going on beneath the surface. The white areas on the disk are areas of turbulent magnetic froth associated with strong magnetic fields. Sadly if the field strength is below 1500 Gauss this will not manifest itself as sunspots on the solar surface.
Taken with the 70mm f6 with Lunt wedge and baader continuum filter and DMK31, this image shows perfectly what I was saying about in my previous post regards the suns lack of any real activity. In a year of solar maximum we would expect considerably more activity than this relatively blank disk shows.
Saturday, 2 March 2013
NASA have produced a great video about this and can be seen below...