Monday, 29 December 2014
This time of year the sun hugs the southern horizon and for weeks from my usual observing site just skims through the branches of the trees. It had been over a month since I got any observations in and today had enough, so, regardless of trees I decided to get some images in and make the most of the blue skies that followed the coldest night of 2014. The low sun is possibly the worst time to observe, but an image is better than none. This shot was taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 CCD camera.
The sun was already starting to pass back into the trees when I took this image as can be seen from the 'smudge' on the right hand side of the picture. AR12251 was crackling with a very minor C2 flare at the time. Taken with the DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
I didn't think I would get any views in this December at all, the weather hasn't been great and coupled with the low sun and trees on the southern horizon getting ever taller (we need a good storm!), however following the coldest night of 2014 I decided to just get the scope out and try shooting through the trees to see if the stacking process would average the branches out, well they did. This shot was taken with the DS40 at 400mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. There was some small C1 flaring going on in the small active regions at the time. A pretty quiet sun, but definitely better than no sun at all!
Sunday, 30 November 2014
There's a lot happening on our star at the moment, and conveniently it all fits in the field of view when I use the 40mm double stacked Coronado at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. I'm pleased with this image given it was taken of such a low sun at the end of November, imaging at this time of year is a rare thing!
Not ideal seeing conditions when I took this shot - the sun had only just risen and was still low, but it's nice to get a capture at this time in the year. Taken with the double stacked coronado 40mm etalons at 400mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. Lots happening on our star at the moment!
Things are starting to get spotty again, and some of these spots have potential to start flaring. If the sun is out where you are keep an eye on them! Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the Imaging Source DMK31 camera.
The sun seems to be peppered in active regions at the moment, none of them monster, but active none the less. This shot with the 40mm scope at 560mm focal lengths shows them well. Taken with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.
Saturday, 29 November 2014
The sun certainly is getting low now, only 3 weeks away from the solstice - however in a months time it will be rising in the sky again - think positive! This image was taken with the DS40 at 400mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
A quick close up of this active region with the double stacked quark on the 70mm scope using a 0.5x reducer with the DMK31 camera. The sun had only risen for about half an hour when this picture was taken, and with such a low altitude sun i'm pretty pleased with the result.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Was really nice to see the clouds break to reveal beautifully clear skies this afternoon, after what seems like weeks of cloud and rain. This time of year I am limited only to weekends for imaging, and then at certain times when the sun is between the roof tops and trees. I used the coronado DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera to make this 4 pane mosaic of todays sun. Lots of nice features to see!
I was pleased to be able to capture this giant spot on its second orbit of the solar disk, it's much smaller now but is still a large feature. There were some interesting prominences visible today also, including a small filaprom that can be seen at the top right of the image. The shot was taken with the Coronado DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Finally some sunshine on a weekend when I have some free time! The sun is low this time of year, and looking across the city skyline hops between the rooftops and trees, fortunately when the blue skies appeared the sun was in a gap. It is nice to catch the big spot on its second rotation before it departed, maybe it will make a 3rd? The sky broke to really transparent deep blue skies as the weather front passed over, and as a result the proms were really easy to see at 393nm. The shot was taken with the 40mm scope at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera and homebrew CaK filter.
This monster is smaller than it was a month ago, but is still a fair sized sunspot, lots of arcs of plasma between the numerous spot centres. There were several prominences also nicely visible. Taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera and homebrew CaK filter system.
A quick shot of this new active region; the sky was quite a deep blue and as a result the prominences were quite easily visible. Taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera and homebrew CaK filter.
Sunday, 9 November 2014
I couldn't believe quite how dynamic todays lift off prom was in CaK light, it was changing really quite quickly. Alas the sky was full of clouds and so I was not able to get as long a sequence of images as I would like. Still, this animation of 8 images taken over a mere 12 minutes shows just how quickly things were changing. This was taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how bright todays lift off prom was in CaK light. The seeing was not the best and only allowed me to use 560mm focal length with the 40mm scope, homebrew CaK filter and DMK31 camera, however at these shorter wavelengths the prom stood out better than in Ha.
There was plenty to see on the the suns south western quadrant this sunday morning with a huge prom in the process of lifting off and AR12205 crackling away with some minor flare activity. Minimal processing with this image, just some smart sharpen and colour applied. Again, this is pretty much the view that you get through the eyepiece. Included is also the mono version. Taken with the Coronado DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
After what seems like weeks and weeks of not being able to get any sun, this sunday morning dawned with frosty clear blue skies. I knew that with the low sun hopping in and out of the trees and rooftops that the seeing wasn't going to be great so I decided to not be too ambitious with the aperture and stuck to the DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31. I just caught the start of the big prominence that was starting to lift off, and at the time and at this point was just detached. I really liked the raw data that I had got, and so decided to process the image 'naked' - all that was done was some sharp sharpen; no levels or contrast etc, and this in my eyes gives a very natural view of our star like you would get at the eyepiece of the scope, I really like how natural and wispy the prominences look. Included below is the black and white version just in case you prefer monochrome over colour.
Monday, 20 October 2014
Don't normally do the prom shots, but had a go yesterday on this one that was on the northern limb and was really surprised at how delicate it come out. Taken with a 70mm f6 refractor, DMK31 camera, 0.5x focal reducer and a Daystar Quark Chromosphere.
Posted by Mark Townley at Monday, October 20, 2014
Sunday, 19 October 2014
This new active region really is a monster, and contains a main spot that is many times larger than Earth itself. It threw off an X-class flare in the early hours of the morning, and hopefully as it rotates to become geoeffective it will throw some more plasma our way and give us some nice displays of the aurora. This shot was taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera and the homebrew CaK filter.
The filaments and proms were just about visible on todays CaK full disk. The new active region is huge and easily visible with the naked eye with proper filtration. Taken with the 40mm scope at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera and homebrew CaK filter.
There was lots to see on todays full disk, a lovely filaprom and ofcourse monster spot ar12192. The image was taken with the DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. There was low pressure today and the temperature quite cool, as a result needed more tilt to get on band which resulted in a bit of banding. However after so long without the sun this is most definitely better than nothing!
New active region AR12192 has rounded the suns limb cracking with X class flares, fortunately I was able to get the first sun in weeks and get an image of this monster using the Quark Chromosphere, 70mm f6 refractor, DMK31 camera and 0.5x focal reducer.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
I was surprised to see the skies clear on tuesday afternoon so decided to try and get some solar shots. Despite a deep blue sky after weather fronts had come through the seeing was terrible, and even with the 40mm at CaK wavelengths the limb of the sun was showing a continually changing saw tooth pattern in the unsteady atmosphere and low sun. So, needed to back off the focal length a bit here to 560mm to somewhat compensate for this. I'm pretty pleased with the results as at this time of year some sun is better than no sun! Taken with the 40mm scope at 560mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Monday, 6 October 2014
When properly tuned there are no hot spotting or sweet spotting issues with the double stacked Quark as this 2 pane mosaic shows. The double limb feature is now gone ad filaments take on a real 3D appearance as they near the limb. I wish I could have taken this photo about 6 hours early as it would really maximise the effect. Taken with the 70mm at f6 with a 0.5x reducer and a DMK31 camera.
The Quark is very good on it's own, but adding a second etalon really makes things interesting; the double limb feature as a result of photospheric leakage is gone, and the disk including filaments shows much better contrast - not that the quark in isolation is not good already. Taken with the 70mm scope at f6 with a 0.5x focal reducer and a DMK31 camera.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Since owning the quark I seem to have somewhat neglected CaK imaging, so on saturday afternoon I decided to get a full disk of our star in the near ultra violet with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31. The proms are just about visible in this image, and when compared side by side with the Ha from the same time it is just about possible to make out the filaments. Sadly autumn seems to have arrived here in the UK, so not sure when the next time I will be able to image. I still have some images from this session to process, so should hopefully get them up later.
Posted by Mark Townley at Sunday, October 05, 2014
Saturday, 4 October 2014
I'm finally happy with the tuning of the Daystar Quark Chromosphere when used with my 70mm f6 refractor, so today I decided to try a full disk mosaic to see if banding issues were going to be a problem - looking at the image it can be see they are not! This is a 24 pane image. I really am happy with the purchase of this Quark, it certainly is a versatile piece of kit! I much prefer the result with the 70mm f6 than the 100mm f10, just too much magnification with the larger scope, I think I will have to keep my eye out for a 100mm f7 scope and possible a 152mm f6 scope for next year for high res closeups.
Posted by Mark Townley at Saturday, October 04, 2014
Monday, 29 September 2014
Sunday, 28 September 2014
I think I have finally discovered the 'on band' position with the quark and the 70mm scope; this image shows oodles of detail that I would be struggling to get if I was doing it with the same scope and a PST mod. Taken at 1800mm focal length and the DMK31 all need now is more scopes to test the quark out on...
This active region is a monster now, but when this image was taken several days ago it was just an emerging flux region. Taken with the 70mm scope at 1800mm focal length with the quark chromosphere and DMK31 camera.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Starting to get the hang of the quark; this image is my most 'onband' yet and is a mosaic of several panes. The seeing is variable between some of the panes, but each pane is beautifully flat allowing seamless mosaics. Hopefully there will be some imaging possible in the weekends ahead as we approach winter so I can get somemore images from this great little device. This shot was taken with the 70mm scope at f6 with the DMK31 camera and 0.5x reducer.
Posted by Mark Townley at Thursday, September 25, 2014
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Still not quite on band, but it's not far off! Another notch and should be just about there. Taken with the 70mm scope at f6 with the DMK31 camera and 0.5x focal reducer.
A quick shot of this active region as it is just about to pass over the suns western limb. Taken with the quark chromosphere, 70mm f6 refractor with DMK31 and 0.5x focal reducer.
Monday, 22 September 2014
Posted by Mark Townley at Monday, September 22, 2014
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Really pleased with how much Ha structure the Quark Chromosphere is pulling out, and also pleasantly surprised at the resolution the 70mm f6 refractor is getting too. Conditions were far from ideal when todays images were taken, milky skies with cloud continually passing through the frame - this makes me pleasantly surprised with the result. Can't wait for a properly clear sky to see what this setup is really capable of.
I think I had the Quark properly on band for this image and are really pleased with the result, especially as was taken through milky skies on a sunday afternoon. I think I may be getting the slightest of vignetting with the focal reducer I am using, but for shots like this is not too important. When I get some decent clear skies for any length of time it will give me something to explore. Taken with the 70mm f6 frac with the DMK31 camera.
This is the first 'proper' image I have got with the new Quark Chromosphere, i'm really pleased with the way this has turned out especially as it was shot through hazy skies with quite a bit of passing cloud. The scope used was the 70mm f6 ED refector with the DMK31 camera and focal reducer. This gives a nice image scale I think. Just need some decent clear skies so I can have a play around with the thermostat setting on it to see which dial position works best with my setup.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
This is the first image I took with the Quark and the 70mm f6 scope - this image is definitely off band as I was being impatient and it had not reached temperature, and some faint banding effects can be seen as a result. Hopefully the weekend will offer some clear skies so I can do some proper testing. This shot was taken right at the end of the day when the sun was very low on the horizon. I want to try using a focal reducer to get a wider field of view - which worked quite well with an eyepiece, and also try binning the pixels on the DMK31 to get closer to the 9 micron pixel size Daystar recommend when using this solar filter due to the long effective focal length and resultant sampling size...
Posted by Mark Townley at Thursday, September 11, 2014
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
First light taken in far from ideal conditions - the sun was very low and in quite a bit of haze / high cloud. Not convinced this image was actually properly on band, I think I can get much better than this, but just wanted to get a view through my new Daystar Quark Chromosphere. This image was taken with the 70mm scope running at ~1800mm focal length. There are a few hints of newtons rings here but on the whole i'm very pleased with this first light. Just need some sun for a decent amount of time now!
Posted by Mark Townley at Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
In true tradition now I have started back at work in september it looks like here in the UK we will be having a good dose of indian summer. Fortunately today I was able to get back in time to get some solar astronomy in before the sun rapidly started to head towards the horizon as we head towards the autumnal equinox. This full disk was taken with the DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Posted by Mark Townley at Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
AR12152 is by far the busiest and most active of this trio of active regions that are heading towards the limb in this image, and is infact undergoing a minor c-class flare. Taken with the DS40 at 925mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Posted by Mark Townley at Tuesday, September 02, 2014