Tuesday 31 March 2015

AR12305 Departing 31st March

The last day of march was a day of weather very reminiscent of April showers, a vigorous low pressure system passed through last night with its attendant wind and rain, and behind that a very unstable air mass with particularly cold air aloft. Shower after heavy shower of rain, sleet and hail rattled through, and later in the afternoon seemed to die down so I get the kit out and covered it all up with the water proof tarpaulin and sat in wait.

When the gap between two towering cumulus clouds finally gave me some blue sky the first thing that was apparent was how poor the seeing was compared to the day before. However, clear skies are a rare commodity here in the UK, so you have to shoot away when you can. Here's a couple of images taken with the DS Quark & DMK31 camera.

Hazy Filaments 31st March

Less than ideal conditions really softened up the seeing conditions, but the filaments still show a decent amount of relief with the DS quark on the ED80 and DMK31 camera.

Monday 30 March 2015

Surge Proms & AR12305 With The Quark - 30th March

This region of sun looked absolutely fantastic through the double stacked Daystar Quark this morning, with the numerous filaments adding a real sense of 3D relief to the view.
There was a beautiful surging prominence, which at the time this image was taken was taking on the form of a crown.  The view through the eyepiece was very special!  Cloud was racing in very quickly when I was taking the panes for this image, and at one point thought only the top half would be usable however the miracles of autostakkert seem to have won through and the final image looks good.  This was taken with the Skywatcher ED80 telescope with the Imaging Source DMK31 camera using a 0.5x focal reducer.  After I took this image I seem to have made some headway with the Baader solar telecompressor, and, in particular potentially removing the newtons rings from the image, but, need a bit more clear sky to test this experiment a bit more thoroughly.  Till then, pleased with the results from the cheap focal reducer i'm using.

Ha Full Disk 30th March

Quite a pretty sun today in the Ha overview!  Taken with the DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.

CaK Full Disk 30th March

Seems ages since i've done any imaging in CaK - seem to have been distracted by the Quark, but todays sun, even though being relatively quiet shows there's always plenty to see at the blue end of the spectrum.  The surge prom on the western limb was the brightest feature on the sun when the picture was taken, but on the eastern limb there are ghostly hints of the large filament that was visible there today.  This years mission with CaK, apart from to image with the ED60 scope, is also to concentrate on increasing out of band blocking and so reducing continuum leakage, hopefully increasing contrast a little more and in turn maybe revealing a few more proms and filaments a little easier.  This shot was taken with the 40mm OTA at 700mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the Imaging Source DMK31 camera.

AR12305 CaK Closeup 30th March

Slightly hazy conditions for this image taken right above the rooftops first thing this morning, but shows this monster active region before it passes over the limb, and, also, on the limb a lovely bright surge prom.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 900mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

AR12305 - A Busy Bit of Sun - 24th March

After what seems like quiet times on the suns disk these past couple of weeks I was pleasantly surprised to see the plethora of active regions, plage and filaments that have rounded the solar eastern limb.  There is loads to see!  For once the seeing and also transparency was playing ball in the early evening sunshine allowing me to get a half decent capture.  Hopefully over the coming weeks our star is going to remain like this and i'm going to get some more clear skies to be able to image.  Taken with the Skywatcher ED80, Imaging Source DMK31, 0.5x focal reducer and Daystar Quark.

AR12303 With The Quark 24th March

The little light on the Quark was telling me it was not it was not ready, but a quick look at the live view on the laptop screen and it looked close enough, so as you do, started to record some frames.  There's a slight darkening to the left of the frame but I can live with that!  Taken with the Quark, ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x reducer.

Delicate Filament 24th march

There was a lovely delicate filament floating around the solar north pole on tuesday afternoon, and half decent seeing for a change allowed me to capture it.  Taken with the Quark, ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x focal reducer.

Little Prominence 24th March

There was something about this little prominence that made me want to image it.  Taken with the Quark, ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x focal reducer...

Monday 23 March 2015

S4295 With The Quark 22nd March

Both the seeing and transparency were awful on sunday 22nd march, but this one image was recorded when conditions were good, and as a result shows what the ED80 with the daystar quark is capable of.  This is my favourite image from sundays session!

AR12305 Ha With The Quark 22nd march

Now the sun is getting higher in the sky as we pass into spring when the seeing allows the benefits of a larger aperture with the quark are showing what this little unit is capable of.  Taken with the ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x focal reducer.

AR12305 With The Tal100R and Daystar Quark 22nd March

Seeing conditions or transparency weren't up to it with the 100mm Tal refractor, but this image does hint at what is possible with this setup using the Daystar Quark, DMK31 and 0.5x focal reducer.

AR12303 With The Quark 22nd March

A closeup of this active regions and surrounding turbulent plasma taken with the ED80, quark, DMK31 and a 0.5x reducer.

AR12306 ha Closeup With the Tal & Quark 22nd march

A quick closeup of this active region using the Tal100R and Quark.  I was using 2x binning to try and get back a bit of exposure due to high clouds.

AR12306 With The Quark 22nd March

This active region was crackling away, even if the seeing wasn't perfect for this 4 pane mosaic taken with the quark, ed80, dmk31 and 0.5x reducer.

Thursday 19 March 2015

AR12303 - The Eclipse Sunspot - 17th March

The sun is quiet at the moment, but there will be at least one sunspot - AR12303.  Not a great shot, but this shows it from a couple of days ago.  The forecast has been steadily improving for the eclipse, here it is from 24 hours in advance.
Hope the forecast is correct, 750 students are all looking forward to seeing it!

Wednesday 18 March 2015

AR12297 Through a Pollution Sunset - 17th March

The weather for me lately has been awful - just persistent grey skies, day after day, soooo frustrating. Anyhow, the forecast for yesterday afternoon was for it to go sunny somewhere between 4-5pm, so after a busy day at work I decided to just get home and hope for the best. Well the skies did clear, but it was hazy, very hazy, infact the sky just had a yellow tinge to it, that just kept getting yellower the closer the sun got to the horizon. This is a 'pollution sunset' - Haze can form from a variety of sources, commonly industrial pollutants, desert dust or sea salt. The result of these small particles in the air gives a murky blue-grey appearance to the environment. On this occasion, the recent south-easterly flow which has affected the UK has brought air across the country from the industrial heartland of Europe. This has mixed with our own local urban pollutants, and with wind speeds very light under an area of high pressure, has added to the dull visual conditions.

To put it in perspective, my usual exposure settings with the quark on the ED80 are 1/30s and minimum gain (260 on a PC and IC Capture), but yesterday the histogram was telling me there was a lot of light missing, and to get to my usual levels I had to have to gain up at 900 (out of 1024 I think), the live view looked like there was 'snow' all over the image, or as is the 'dissolve filter' in photoshop was in operation. Somewhat disheartened by this I recorded away, as was setup and well, some sun is better than no sun!

Enter the magic of stacking software. Normally I record 300 frames and stack 50, today decided to record 1000 and stack 250 to try and average away the noise. I knew the results were never going to be perfect, but they surprised me in the sense were better than I thought they were going to be. Woke this morning to freezing fog (and more grey skies!), with that forecast set to stay with us again possibly for another week, apart from maybe, just maybe, a few breaks on friday morning, let's see!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

AR12297 With The Quark - 10th March

This active region is crackling with activity, when the image was taken there was some small C-class flaring, given the rest of the sun is so quiet this sector certainly makes up for it.  The image was taken with the double stacked quark, ED80 refractor, Imaging Source DMK31 camera and a 0.5x focal reducer.

Departing Filaments 10th march

Our star seems to be literally covered in filaments at the moment, tenuous clouds of cool plasma held aloft by neutral magnetic fields.  I really like the fine detail that can be seen in them.  This image was taken with the double stacked quark, ED80 refractor, Imaging Source DMK31 camera and a 0.5x focal reducer.

Sun Wide Filament? 10th March

The filament that is currently visible across the face of the sun is not just huge, but also long lived and has already completed one rotation of our star.  While it is quite clearly fragmented, click on the above image for a larger view and there are parts of it that appear to be going from limb to limb.  The above shot is a 6 pane mosaic taken with the double stacked quark, ED80 refractor and the Imaging Source DMK31 camera with a 0.5x focal reducer attached.

AR12297 In CaK Light 10th March

The sun was low and the conditions weren't ideal when I took this image, but it shows well the scale of this very active region.  Interestingly the sinuous filament below the large spot can be seen in this image taken with the ED60 at 960mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Ar12297 With The Quark 7th March

Seeing was awful yesterday, possibly the worst i've seen for 12 months, so, a different approach was needed; instead of my usual 300 frames that I capture in I captured 1500 and then stacked the best 50.  This is the best image I got from yesterday and given conditions i'm really quite pleased with it.  I've yet to have decent seeing that exploits the full potential of the Quark.  This shot was taken with the ED80, Quark, DMK31 camera and a 0.5x focal reducer to get the image scale back a bit.  Below is the coloured invert as I think this works really well with this particular image.

Proms and Filaments 7th March

Inverting images with the Quark gives a lovely sense of relief and depth to the image.  Taken with the ED80, quark, DMK31 and 0.5x reducer.

Flame Prom and Filament 7th March

A lovely little prom and filament in this shot.  ED80, Quark, DMK31 and 0.5x reducer.

Blotchy Filaments 7th March

More little filaments from the 7th march taken with the ED80, Quark and DMK31 with 0.5x reducer.

Fluffy Filaments 7th March

The sun seems to be awash with filaments at the moment, and this delicate one was a classic example.  Taken with the ED80, Quark and DMK31 camera with 0.5x reducer.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Ha Full Disk 4th March

Given the low sun and the poor seeing, i'm really pleased how this full disk came out when I took it just before sunset on wednesday evening.  Taken with the Ds40 at 560mm focal length with the Imaging Source DMK31 camera.

Ar12293 Ha Closeup 4th march

Bit of a poorly framed closeup of the little active region taken with the DS40 at 700mm focal length with the DMK31.

Friday 6 March 2015

CaK Full Disk 4th March

Taken with the 40mm scope at 560mm focal length, the low altitude sun made seeing the proms near impossible in this image, but, it still came out reasonably sharp...

AR12293 CaK 4th March

Maybe a bit ambitious with the seeing and low altitude sun here, but running at somewhere around 900mm focal length with the 40mm scope, homebrew CaK filter and the DMK31 camera.

Thursday 5 March 2015

S4254 With the Quark 4th March

At the time of writing this active region had not been designated, however still makes for a pretty shot.  Wednesdays quark shots are presented as inverts as the sun was virtually setting and so low on the horizon that the results were quite flat.  Taken with the ED80, single stack quark, 0.5x reducer and the DMK31 camera.

AR12293 With The Quark 4th March

The sun was really low, and not really ideal for 80mm aperture, but is always worth having a go.  Taken with the 0.5x reducer on the single stack quark and DMK31 camera.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Filaments and Filaproms With The Quark 1st march

The Quark has a real ability for pulling out filaments and filaproms, especially when they are on the limb bringing out extra depth.  Taken with the ED80, DMK31 camera and 0.5x reducer.

AR12290 Deaprting 1st march

This active region passes over the limb in a zone of fluffy turbulence.  Taken with the ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x reducer.

AR12292 & AR12294 With The Quark 1st March

Lots of filaments visible in this shot!  Taken with the ED80, DMK31 and 0.5x reducer.

AR12293 With The Quark 1st march

A quick close up of this emerging active region with the Quark, ED80, 0.5x reducer and DMK31 camera.

Ha Swathe 1st March

Conditions were terrible, with unstable air and rapidly passing clouds, but I managed to get a shot at the most interesting features on our sun today.  Taken with the DS40 at 560mm focal length with the DMK31 camera.