Sunday, 29 June 2014
The sun is starting to come alive with activity again after a lull in activity for a week or so. The large spot that has just rounded the solar limb can be seen to be popping with a small c-class flare. The STEREO spacecraft shows there is more to come too! Great news for solar observers in the days ahead. This image was taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
The clouds finally cleared for just long enough this afternoon to let me get the frames I need to make up the full disk shot here. It finally looks like we're going to get some decent activity in the days ahead. Taken with the 40mm ota at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
The new active regions that came around the suns limb in the last couple of days have quite a bit of activity compared to some of the smaller inactive spots that we've had for the last week. Good news as it gives us something more to look at! This closeup image was taken with the 40mm scope at 925mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Not much left at all of this active region now, just a bit of plage, but the CaK view is often more revealing in this situation than the Ha and this is no exception. This closeup was taken with the 40mm scope at 925mm focal length with the DMK31.
The sun is still fairly low in the sky when i'm imaging at 6am, and with Birmingham airport to the east of me transiting planes and their contrails are fairly normal. The disk is fairly quiet at the moment but indications are that more active regions will round the limb in the days ahead. This shot was taken with the Coronado DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Our new active region is a lot more interesting and a lot more active than the one that is departing; it has been crackling with small B class flares but hopefully should show a bit more activity in the days ahead. Taken with the DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
A very quiet disk, but hopefully in the days ahead we will see more active regions rounding the limb. Even a quiet disk like this shows the super granulation cells very well! I still have some reflections I want to deal with to darken the sky background more, but hopefully should solve this problem in the weeks ahead. Taken with the 40mm ota at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Although it looks pretty small in Ha this active region is actually reasonably large as it rounds the surface of the sun. Hopefully it should put on a good show in the days ahead! Taken with the DS40 at f20 with the DMK31.
Monday, 23 June 2014
I did a high contrast process of what was probably the busiest part of the sun on saturday taken with the 100mm PST mod at 2250mm focal length with the DMk31 camera. Not my usual style of post processing but I thought I would give this a go!
For a change there seems more to see in Ha wavelengths at the moment, with plenty of small filaments. The active region at the centre of the disk was under going a small C1 class flare when I took this picture with the Coronado DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
The sun would seem to be entering a bit of a quieter period with the main spot groups passing towards the western limb. A couple of small proms were visible though in this shot taken with the 40mm at 700mm focal length with the DMK31.
Saturday, 21 June 2014
I took over 50 shots at 925mm focal length with the 40mm scope on friday afternoon, but the heat was causing the seeing to boil all over the place and this is the only one that came out how I like, the rest were mush!
Posted by Mark Townley at Saturday, June 21, 2014
Friday, 20 June 2014
On the last day of northern spring, with the summer solstice occurring tomorrow our star was putting on it's best views in hydrogen alpha wavelengths today. The suns southern jet stream was busy with activity with many small filaments. None of them could come close to competing in size with the one that is in the northern hemisphere. This long cloud of cooler plasma is held aloft above the surface of the sun by magnetic fields. There were also a couple of nice filaproms visible on either limb too. This shot was taken with the Coronado DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. I hope tomorrows summer solstice holds clear skies so I get some imaging in then too!
Activity on the sun would seem to be getting quieter at the moment, even in CaK which is normally bustling, but there is only a group of 3 active regions that can be seen, even the proms were small. This shot was taken with the 40mm at 560mm focal length with the homebrew filter. Initial tests with the UV polariser would seem to suggest it is indeed in cutting some reflections. The sky background was certainly blacker, and contrast does not seem to be adversely affected. Seeing was terrible this afternoon in heat of about 24c but the spicule ring was easily seen. First impressions are certainly positive! The next step is either better blocking filters or a 1/4 wave plate, can't decide which!
Thursday, 19 June 2014
There was plenty to see in CaK wavelengths on yesterdays sun, I managed a quick view after work when the skies cleared. This was the first time I got to test my UV polariser in the filter train in an attempt to cut the reflections / ghosts in the system. This was placed between the 2 K line filters and rotated; it was clear that this was cutting the reflection that was offset off the field of view, admittedly at the expense of taking some light from the system (longer exposure!), but, I was thinking about going for a blocking system with more light throughput anyway, so this may force this a little quicker than I was thinking already
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
There was a nice collection of proms visible around the limb of the sun today in this mosaic taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera. I took delivery today of specific ultra violet polarisers which I am hoping will help to reduce the brightening due to ghost reflections around the perimeter of the sun - ultimately I am hoping to get an image with a higher signal to noise ratio which should make the prominences easier to see on a blacker sky background, maybe with a higher contrast disk with maybe filaments that are easier to see? I just need some clear skies now to test out the new filter setup and the theory!
Sunday, 15 June 2014
Saturday, 14 June 2014
Monster active regions AR12080 and AR12085 have been threatening Earth for over a week now to erupt with massive X class flares but have still only crackled away with 'relatively' minor X class flares. Whilst not geo-effective anymore there is still a chance if they do erupt the resultant proton storm could be directed towards Earth by magnetic fields. This image was taken with the Coronado DS40 scope and DMK31 camera at 700mm focal length using the Astro Hutech 'Hinode' solar guider. My experiences so far is that this is a fantastic piece of kit, easy and intuitive to setup and keeping the sun centred in the eyepiece even when no attention is paid to aligning the scopes mount. I don't want to say too much about it at the moment but will be doing a full review of this great piece of kit in the near future.
Though not the same scale as the spots that are passing over the western limb, the most recent batch of spots coming over the eastern limb should give us some interesting activity in the coming days. The cluster in the top right of the shot could be one to keep an eye on in the coming days and could hopefully develop rapidly. Taken with the 40mm scope at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
A closeup of the active regions that have been threatening to flare over the last week as they approach the western limb. Proms are visible as a hazy cloud over the limb showing that these active regions are 3 dimensional features and not just features on the 'surface' of the sun. Taken with the 40mm at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.
Friday morning dawned with clear blue skies so decided it was the perfect opportunity to capture some blue sun - in CaK wavelengths. To me when we have these big sunspots they always seem somewhat larger at 393.37nm. It was a pretty disk this morning with some nice faint proms.
Friday, 13 June 2014
Work has been so busy lately, despite the weather being quite nice this is the only time in nearly 2 weeks I have been able to observe the sun. It was nice to get back and spend an hour or so out in the sunshine taking in the beauty of our star. With NASA announcing the second peak of this solar maximum had occurred there was plenty to see on our star. Fluffy clouds floating around meant I wasn't able to get a full set in CaK, but it was still nice to get a close up of the departing active region.
Posted by Mark Townley at Friday, June 13, 2014