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.

Monday 20 March 2017

Equinoctial Full Disk in Hydrogen Alpha - 20th March

The spring Equinox occurred today at 10.28am, the point where the Earths equatorial plane crosses the Suns equatorial plane.  The Suns disk is fairly blank at the moment, but the double stacked PST with it's enhanced contrast made the subtle dark filaments and brighter plage pop out compared to other wavelengths bringing a bit of interest to our star as we head into the depths of solar minimum.  Taken at 400mm focal length with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

CaK Full Disk - 20th March

Really nice to come home from work this afternoon to a bit of sunshine, even if it was low in the sky, definitely better than nothing!  Isn't it quiet though, normally CaK shows quite bright emitters, but there is very little in the way to see plage wise.  This was taken with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Setting Sun Through The Haze - 15th March

Today really did seem like spring had finally arrived.  It was blue(ish!) skies and in the sunshine actually felt warm.  Sadly I was at work all day, but when I got back around 5ish was surprised just how high the sun still was in the sky, yes, the sky had a yellowish haze to it, but with an open front door I was able to set the Double stacked PST up to see what was happening.  The disk shows not much, a couple of filaments and emerging flux regions, and some small proms.  The image bounced all around the screen as the pier was mounted on suspended wooden floor boards, and with the disk only several degrees above the local horizon I just wanted to grab a quick image.  It's not in tune on the eastern limb, but, this image is better than none and was a pleasure to get in a year with so little imaging taking place so far; hopefully this will improve in the future!  The camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Saturday 4 March 2017

The First Sun In a Month... Ha Full Disk 4th March

Since Christmas the weather has been awful for me, with only a few clear days, normally when i'm at work, this is only my second session of 2017.  It was a short one too, there was a low pressure system right over the top of us and I was observing through the eye of the storm.  The sky was very hazy and this contributed to some brightening of the background in this image, but, it is much better than no image!  There were a few small prominences which looked great visually through the 203mm HaT, but conditions were not going to let me image and closeups with the big scope.  Instead I settled for a full disk with the double stacked Coronado PST at 400mm focal length and the PGR Chameleon 3.  The main active region was crackling with plasma, but this was no flare!  It's nice to see the sun after so long.  Now that we are in meteorological spring I hope the weather starts clearing up a bit more!

CaK Full Disk 4th March

The only real activity on the sun at the moment is in the northern hemisphere, with areas of bright plage.  The larger of which has a few small spots and pores but nothing of note to speak of.  This shot was take with the 40mm scope at 400mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.