Sunday, 23 April 2017

AR12651 Double Spots - 23rd April

A period of better seeing early in the afternoon on sunday allowed me to get another view of this active region with the 0.2m Airylab HaT telescope using the double stacked Daystar Quark, Daystar Interference eliminator and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to get a shorter exposure time.  Even though the seeing was less than perfect there were lots of swirls and whorls in the plasma that makes up the solar chromosphere.  Looking forward to better seeing in the future that will allow me to make full use of the capabilities of this large aperture solar telescope.

AR12653 in Ha - Another View - 23rd April

The suns chromosphere takes on a real depth when viewed at this scale on areas towards the limb.  Another shot with the HaT at 6.4m focal length, Daystar Quark and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

AR12652 in Ha - 23rd April

The seeing wasn't perfect,  but I was able to get another view on sunday afternoon of this area of plage that makes up this active region with the HaT at 6.4m focal length.  Daystar Quark and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Fluffy Filament - 23rd April

The filament that has been hanging around for a couple of days now still hangs on while the magnetic field lines remain intact.  Compared to filaments that can be quite ropey this one has quite a fluffy appearance to it, and is anchored by several footprints.  Taken with the 100mm Tal100R refractor with the double stacked Daystar Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

AR12651 - Swirling Seas of Plasma - 23rd April

I caught a nice fleeting view of this active region through and in between the clouds this sunday morning, the seeing was a little soft, but I think i've finally found the best settings for the Daystar Quark on the Airylab HaT.  Taken at 6.4m focal length using the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning.

AR12653 in Ha - 23rd April

A quick grab of this active region not long after it rounded the limb this morning in the brief cloud breaks with the Airylab HaT, Daystar Quark and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  Seeing was ropey with the cloud but definitely better than nothing.

Plasma Fields of Wheat - 23rd April

There were some fleeting moments of better seeing while I was getting setup with the 0.2m Airylab HaT telescope this morning.  As the double stacked Daystar Quark was coming on band I managed to get this quick image of the plage region around AR12652.  Using the Baader solar telecompressor and the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning I was running at a focal length of about 6.4 metres to get this closeup view.

AR12653 in Ha - 22nd April

Albeit renumbered, this is the second time round for this active region on our star, it appears to be somewhat decayed now with a fairly inactive single spot and trailing region of plage with associated filament material.  This image was taken with the 100mm Tal100R refractor with a double stacked Daystar Quark, Daystar interrerence eliminator and a PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to help to freeze the poor seeing that was prevalent in the unstable northerly airmass that we currently have.

Fluffy Filament 22nd April

Taken with the double stacked 100mm Tal100R refractor, this filament really was quite large in size and also quite fluffy too!  

Saturday, 22 April 2017

AR12651 in Ha - 22nd April

The sky was beautifully blue today with fantastic transparency, alas the wind was blowing from a northerly direction, and with very cold air aloft this meant for terrible seeing sadly.  I tried pretty much all my scopes throughout the day, including the HaT, 127mm, 80mm and 70mm scopes, all with the double stacked Daystar Quark, however by far the best bang for the buck was with the 100mm Tal100R refractor.  Using a Baader Solar Telecompressor and the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning to shorten the exposure and get a bit of under sampling in the image gave by far the sharpest results.  It's a setup that i'm really starting to like!  Hoping for clear skies in the morning to try some further testing with this setup.  

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dancing Jet Proms and Coronal Rain - 18th April

Our star certainly is dynamic, this animation spans only 5 minutes, with a cadence of 4 frames a minute.  I was testing out a new setup with the Tal100R refractor with the double stack Daystar Quark at 3000mm focal length using the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning to give a short expose time of only 1-2ms.  No flat here, as can be seen by the dancing dust bunnies.  I'm really impressed to get these dancing jet proms and some coronal rain falling back towards the suns surface.

AR12650 Over 10 Minutes - 18th April

This active region has now been declassified and is not really more than a slightly more active patch of plage.  I did a timelapse over 10 minutes, with 4 frames per minute, you can see the forest of spicules waving like pampas grass.  Taken with the 100mm Tal100R Refractor, double stacked Daystar Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Flame Prom and AR12650 in Ha - 11th April

The main focus of todays activity on the sun was focused in the north eastern quadrant, with recently rounded active region AR12650, and a gorgeous flame prom on the limb.  I was messing around with some different configurations with the 100mm Tal100R refractor and the double stacked Daystar Quark, Baader telecompressor to give an effective focal length of about 3 metres. The sky was overcast with thin cloud and the seeing was all over the place so I decided to use the PGR Chameleon 3 with 2x2 binning to get a much shorter exposure time.  This seemed to work well, and I was pleasantly surprised with both of the images I got in todays session.  The Quark worked particularly well with the Tal100R with the seeing like this, so, with a couple of screw on adapters to make things a little more orthogonal to the optical axis, and I could well be using this setup a little more!

AR12648 in Ha - 11th April

This little active region is barely a patch of plage in Calcium light, but in Ha remains pretty interesting!  Looks like a wave of plasma washing over it.  Taken with the 100mm Tal100R refractor, double stacked Daystar Quark and PGR Chameleon 3 using 2x2 binning in an attempt to tame the seeing.  Given the thick haze all day i'm very pleased with the result!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

AR12648 in Ha - 9th April

The seeing was pretty reasonable first thing this morning, with the solar scintillation monitor recording a steady ~1.5 arc second seeing until about 10.30am before the quality started to fall away pretty rapidly.  It was nice to see the live view so steady on the laptop screen.  This little active region is essentially just plage now, with no sunspots visible, but there were a few bright points and a small filament connecting the magnetic field lines.  I took this image with the 203mm Airyab HaT at 5600mm focal length with a double stacked Daystar Quark and a PGR GigE IMX249 Blackfly camera along with the Daystar Interference Eliminator to tame some Newtons Rings.

New Active Region on The Limb in Ha - 9th April

The seeing was starting to get a bit ropey when I took this image of the new active region that is rounding the suns eastern limb, but it does look like there might be something more to see as it becomes more geo-effective.  There is certainly a filament there and also some sunspots which were seen clearer in CaK light.  Taken with the 203mm Airylab HaT at 5600mm focal length with a double stacked Daystar Quark and a PGR GigE IMX249 camera.

Fibrous Filament - 9th April

The seeing was far from perfect when I took this image, but I just thought the filament structure was strangely fibrous in it's appearance, like it was twisted or knotted.  Taken with the 203mm Airylab HaT at 5600mm focal length, double stacked quark and the PGR GigE IMX249 camera.

New Active Region Rounds The Limb - 9th April

Whilst still too early to draw too many conclusions, a new active region rounded the suns eastern limb today, and as this image shows there appears to be a number of small spots and areas of bright plage.  Whether the region is decaying or not will become apparent in the days ahead.  Taken with the 80mm scope with a pair of stacked 2x barlows, the home made CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to shorten the exposure time and freeze the worsening seeing as the heat of the day built up.

AR12648 in CaK Light 9th April

Despite being designated an active region this area isn't really more than a patch of plage, and other than a few bright points has nothing that really corresponds with any sunspots.  Seeing conditions were falling off rapidly when I took this image, but by taking a number of avi files I was able to select the best on.  Lots of fine detail when clicked and viewed full size.  This was taken with the 80mm scope, home brew CaK filter and a pair of stacked 2x barlows.  The camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Tenuous Filaments - 8th April

I love the tenuous fibrils that are visible in this filament that had come around the suns eastern limb on saturday.  The 0.2m Airylab HaT is really good at picking up on the fine structure.  Taken at 5.6m focal length with a double stacked Quark and a PGR GigE IMX249 camera.

Surge Prom on the Limb - 8th April

There was a lovely little dynamic surge prom sat on the limb from a active region that had rotated over a day or so before.  This was taken with the 203mm Airylab HaT at about 5600mm focal length with the PGR GigE IMX249 camera.

AR12648 in Good Seeing - 8th April

It was probably the best seeing i've had all year so far, and so decided it was time to get the 0.2m Airylab HaT out for the season and get up close on our star.  This active region didn't have any spots visible, more an area of plage, but there was still a lot of nice detail, especially when the image is viewed full size.  A double stacked rear mounted etalon was used to increase the contrast along with the PGR GigE IMX249 camera and the Daystar Interference eliminator.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Active Regions In Calcium Light - 6th April

The sun was getting low, but using the 80mm scope at 1000mm focal length meant I could keep the exposure short enough to freeze the seeing to get a look at the pair of active regions that we currently have on the face of the sun.  I used the home brew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera with its small 3.45um pixels.

CaK Full Disk - 6th April

Despite the transparency todays seeing wasn't too bad, and I was pleased to get a shot of the large active region as it headed over the limb.  Apart from the quite area of plage mid disk not much else is going on!  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ha Full Disk - 6th April

I wasn't expecting sunshine today, but when I got home from work the sun was out and shining, and despite the haze and contrails in the western sky I got the DS PST out to see what was going on.  I think the penta prism in it is shifting as I felt like I was having some focus issues laterally across the disk.  The main activity from last week is now passing over the limbbut there is a relatively quiet active region mid disk with some small spot activity.  Taken at the native 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

AR12645 in CaK Light - 4th April

I was really pleased to be able to leave work relatively early this afternoon and capitalise on the clear skies that had appeared as the day progressed.  There was a lot of haze in the western sky, and the seeing was shot with a pretty gusty wind at times, but, never the less was nice to be able get a last look at the large groups of active region that have been geo-effective over the past week.  On the limb, even in Calcium wavelengths, there was a surge prom visible from AR12644 that had been spitting with M class flares earlier in the week.  This image was taken with the 80mm scope at ~2000mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera using 2x2 binning to shorten the exposure and freeze the seeing; this technique worked very well in this instance, the image may not be perfect but was considerably better than the live view image when the capture was taking place.

AR12648 in CaK - 4th April

Conditions were far from ideal with boiling seeing and poor transparency with all the haze, but using 2x2 binning with the 80mm scope at around 2000mm focal length meant I was able to keep the exposure time short enough to freeze the seeing.  I was pushing it with this image, but nice to get a closeup of this active region, even if it is not particularly large compared to ones of the last week.  The home brew CaK filter and PGR Chameleon 3 camera were used.

Closeup CaK Quadrant 4th April

Using the 2x barlow to get a little closer in on the active regions on the western limb with the 40mm OTA, homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

CaK Full Disk 4th April

Todays disk in Calcium light shows well the active regions associated with this recent up tick in solar activity. It also shows well the surge prominence on the western limb.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length, with the home brew CaK filter and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Active Regions and Surge Prominences - 4th April

I knew that AR12644 which was sat directly on the western limb was going to have being putting on a good show as there have been several M class flares coming from it over the past couple of days.  I put the 2x barlow on the double stacked PST and saw a great surge prominence jetting from the active region on the limb.  Taken with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Ha Full Disk - 4th April

The skies cleared slowly during the day, and for once was able to get away early from work.  There was a lot of haze in the sky which robbed some contrast meaning more work had to be done in post processing, but it was nice to see the large active regions passing over and heading towards the western limb.  A small active region with 3 small spots has appeared over the eastern limb.  Taken with the DS PST and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Monday, 3 April 2017

AR12644 in CaK Light - 2nd April

I really struggled to get a half decent image of this active region on the limb as the seeing conditions were boiling away in between the passing cumulus clouds and their convective instability.  Never the less, a combination of lucky imaging and 2x2 binning with the PGR Chameleon 3 to get shorter exposure times helped in freezing the poor seeing.  Taken with the 80mm scope at ~3000mm focal length and the home brew CaK filter.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

AR12645 in Calcium Light - 2nd April

The seeing was most definitely not in the favour of the larger apertures, but using the 100mm Tal100R refractor stopped down to 80mm using a Beloptik tri-band full aperture ERF, barlowing up to 3000mm focal length and using 2x2 binning on the PGR Chameleon 3 camera with a combination of lucky imaging meant I was able to get a closeup that I was reasonably happy with.  I quite pleased with the detail that has been pulled out in this shot.

CaK Closeups - 2nd April

Using the 2x barlow on the nosepiece of the PGR Chameleon 3 camera, the homebrew filter with the 40mm scope gave an effective focal length of ~800mm.  It was nice to see so much going on down in the blue end of the spectrum for a change.

CaK Full Disk 2nd April

The sun looked great in CaK light today, lots of activity, including a pair of small spots that have come around the eastern limb.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length, home made CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

AR12645 in WL - 2nd April

I tried a close up of the big active region using the 100mm Tal refractor stopped down to 80mm using a Lunt Solar wedge and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  There were lots of fluffy clouds around at the time, and this was playing havoc with the seeing.  I need to clean up some of the dust bunnies too.

Solar Fireworks - 2nd April

This is the busiest the sun has been for some time, with 2 large active regions really putting on a plasma fireworks show.  Magnetic field lines churned up the plasma into looping arcs, giving a real sense of three dimensions.  I could just about get them in the same frame with the Skywatcher ED80 and Daystar Quark when using the PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 chipped camera.  Despite the relative low altitude when this image was took the seeing was just about behaving itself.

Active Regions On Our Star - 2nd April

After so long with a relatively blank sun it was nice to see some active regions visible again, and, big ones at that.  Lots of plasma being contorted by the intense magnetic field lines.  Hoping the seeing plays ball so I can take a look at these with a larger scope.  This was taken with the DS PST and 2x barlow, with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Ha Full Disk 2nd April

Clouds on and off throughout the day, but some decent transparency in the gaps; also some decent activity.  Several active regions on view, with the one approaching the western limb undergoing M-class flaring earlier in the day.  Nice to have something to look at for a change.  Taken with the double stacked PST and the PGR chameleon 3 camera.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Autostakkert3 Beta Version Released

I've always been a fan of the 'Autostakkert' software for stacking my solar images, it is simple to use, and, IMHO gives good results.  I was pleased to see recently version 3 had been released in beta form, with a number of new and interesting features.  A limit frames feature next to the open frame button in the top left allows the user to select only a range of frames for stacking, which, could be useful if part of the recording has clouds passing through, for example.  A greater noise range is also now available to allow the user to really fine tune the stacking to the conditions.  Also of the note is the 'double stack' alignment feature which as the name suggests performs a secondary stack and align on the data.  An interesting feature is it now allows multiple scale alignment points, which, I think is a positive thing.  My images from mid march were all staked using AS3, and I have to say i'm pleased with the results.  The Beta version can be downloaded from Emils website here - give it a go and give feedback to help improve this excellent product!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Solar Northern Hemisphere In Calcium Light - 26th March

 The suns northern hemisphere was by far the most interesting and most active today, with a new active region forming quite rapidly over the past 24 hours or so.  Numerous spots were visible in it, and several bright points could be seen crackling away.  The smaller scale image was taken with the 40mm scope and 2x barlow to push the focal length to around 800mm.  This along with the PGR Chameleon 3 gave a pleasing image scale.  The lower image was taken at 80mm aperture and 2000mm focal length, but all the haze, high cloud and contrails were not helping the seeing conditions or the transparency.  Regardless, it was nice to get some imaging in after a start to the year beset with poor weather conditions.

CaK Full Disk - 26th March

Out of all the images I took today I think my favourite is the CaK full disk, despite the haze, high cloud and contrails this came out really sharp.  The new active region was positively crackling with activity, looking noticeably brighter than the other plage regions.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  

Ha Full Disk - 26th March

The sun looked nice in Ha wavelengths today; the proms may not have been large, but there was a lovely emerging active region with rapidly developing spots, and also a large number of small but delicate filaments across the disk.  High cloud and haze was a real pain throughout todays imaging session, but definitely better than being clouded out!  Taken with the DS PST at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  I need to grease the tuning ring on the PST as is becoming quite dry and stiff in its action, making it quite difficult to fine tune the scope.

Sunday Proms - 26th March

The sky was hazy today, and I was struggling to see the proms, so I decided to do an exposure for the prominences alone.  Then I realised why I was struggling to see them - there weren't many at all, and the ones that were there were really small!  Taken with the DS PST at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

CaK Full Disk - 25th March

Lots of high cloud running through was making imaging difficult and dropping the contrast of the views, but this shot came out ok in the end with a bit of massaging in post processing.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 USB3 camera.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Ha Full Disk - 25th March

I could only observe early today, and when the sun had come across the roof tops the sky was heavy with horses tails cirrus clouds.  There was still a reasonable shadow on the ground so I just racked up the exposure and went for it, sadly it didn't help my tuning!  Taken with the DS PST at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Ha Full Disk - 23rd March

 Weather conditions were far from perfect with some haze with the sun low in the sky, but with the lack of decent weather so far this year I was not giving up on the chance to observe our star.  The new sunspot isn't particularly outstanding in Ha, but is nice to have some activity to see.  There seem to be lots of delicate filaments and prominences at the moment on the disk.  This shot was taken with the PST double stacked with a Lunt 50 etalon, at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  1000 frames were taken and 100 stacked in the new beta version of Autostakkert, which, I have to say works very well and seems to have some interesting new features.

CaK Full Disk With A Spot - 23rd March

The full disk is still quiet, even in CaK light, but on the eastern limb a new sunspot rounded the limb; it is small and rather inactive looking, but nice to have a feature on our star.  Fingers crossed I will be able to get a closer look over the coming weekend.  Taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal, with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.