Thursday, 21 June 2018

Double Stack Disk - 21st June

Taken a while to get to this point; I decided a while ago to return to double stacked front mounted etalons as a quick grab and go setup - the Lunt50 scope took too long to acclimate, which was no good for my early morning imaging sessions and especially for imaging in the cloud breaks here in the UK.  I double stacked a pair of Lunt 50 etalons on the front of my Tecnosky ED60 f6 APO refractor along with a Coronado BF15 blocking filter.  Camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.  Given this is the very first light with the setup I think there is great potential as the etalons were not clocked with respect to each other, something I know from experience can improve results considerably.  I look forward to exploring using this setup more in the days ahead.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Surface Granulation with the Daystar Sodium Quark - 3rd June

Pointing the 100mm Tal refractor straight mid disk on the sun revealed the granulation cells.  These convection cells are traditionally likened size wise to the size of the US state of Texas.  The Daystar Sodium Quark showed this well and my initial impressions of this are quite favourable.  Camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

AR12712 With the Daystar Sodium Quark - 3rd June

This small active region has been putting on quite a show this past week, but this is the first time i've been able to image it.  Using a Daystar Sodium Quark on a Tal 100R refractor along the PGR Chameleon 3 camera the brighter plage that marks this active region was clearly visible.  Looking closely there is a peppering of small dark spots and pores that can also be seen.  

Solar Full Disk in Sodium Light - 3rd June

The transparency was consistent for long enough so I could take the individual panes needed to complete this full disk taken with a Daystar Sodium Quark.  Despite being taken with the 60mm f6 scope the granulation is easily seen when the image is double clicked full size.  Visually and on the screen the view is very contrasty with Sodium.  Camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Plage in Sodium Light - 3rd June

The day started clear so I wanted to have a play around with the Sodium Quark.  Seeing was too poor for the 200mm HaT so I settled with the 100mm Tal refractor.  This region of relic plage has rotated onto the suns north eastern limb and is easily seen being brighter than the surrounding granules.  The PGR Chameleon 3 camera was used.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

AR12710 in Sodium Light with the Daystar Quark - 22nd May

This new active region rounded the suns limb a few days ago, and while it is small has a timely appearance with my new Daystar sodium Quark arriving also.  The view through sodium is quite different to whitelight, both from the camera and also with the eye at an eyepiece.  The granules are much sharper in whitelight but these in sodium seem to be less distinct but have a more obvious depth to them.  Plage is very obvious in sodium as are bright points and pores. This image was taken with the 60mm f6 scope, Daystar Sodium Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  Very impressed initially with this filter, and looking forward to trying some closer in shots with the larger apertures.  

Mid Disk in Sodium Light - 22nd May

Whilst superficially similar to the white light image this mid disk shot taken in sodium light is quite different.  White light with a narrowband filter shows the edges of granules well, it is like desiccation cracks in a dried lake bed.   In sodium the view has more depth, like you are looking into the chromosphere more.  It is more reminiscent of mammatus clouds.  I need to clean the dust bunnies for the next time, but i'm pretty pleased with the view through the 60mm f6 scope.  Looking carefully in the middle of the field of view are some small dark pores; in CaK and Ha there is a region of turbulent plage, from relic active regions from rotations past.  This was taken with my new Daystar Sodium Quark and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Ha Full Disk - 22nd May

Messing around triple stacking with the 50mm Lunt, brings out nice contrast but also highlights uneveness in the image.  a Nice take on what is a very quiet sun with just a single stacked etalon.  Camera used was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Monday, 21 May 2018

AR12710 in Sodium Light

First view with the Daystar sodium Quark this afternoon using the 60mm f6 scope.  Conditions couldn't be worse, a large part of the sky was covered in unstable cumulo nimbus clouds apart from a thin strip in the low western sky.  I snapped this image through passing cloud.  The view on the screen and through the eyepeice is quite different than white light despite at first being seemingly similar.  Camera was the PGR Chameleon 3.  Hoping for clear skies first thing in the morning!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Ha Full Disk With The Daystar Quark - 19th May

The sun is certainly quiet, and you have to look hard for details however they are there.  A filament graces the suns north east quadrant and close to the western limb some areas of relic plage from active regions long gone.  However the most interesting feature was the 2 quiescent proms on the western limb.  Taken with the 60mm f6 scope and daystar Quark with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

AR12709 in Ha - 14th May

The seeing conditions were surprisingly good for so late in the afternoon on what was a very warm day.  I used the 80mm skywatcher scope along with a Daystar Quark and Baader solar telecompressor to reduce the image scale.  The active region has since died down very quickly but was showing some nice activity when this image was taken.  The PGR Chameleon 3 camera was used.

Feathery Prom - 14th May

Using the Skywatcher ED80 and Daystar Chromosphere Quark I was able to get a nice view of a prominence that was visible on the suns south western limb.  This is a nice contrasty setup that is good for this level of detail on the suns surface.  As usual the PGR Chameleon 3 was used.

Close Ups With The LuntDS50 - 14th May

Using my new 2.5x barlow lens stacked with a 1.3x barlow to bring the setup to somewhere around f25 I quite like the scale that comes with this setup.  Lunt DS50 used along with PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  In the days ahead the active regions that have been with us since the start of May will pass over the suns western limb.   Hopefully there will be more in the weeks ahead, but more likely is that they will be active regions of plage rather than being pierced with sunspots.

Double Stacked Full Disk in Ha - 14th May

I'm still not 100% happy with the results I get with the double stack setup because of the gradients it creates across the disk; i'm looking at other solutions.  I do like the increase in scale over the 40mm setup I was using though.  Taken at ~f10 with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Closeups in Calcium Light - 14th May

Taken with the 40mm scope, 2.5x barlow and additional 1.3x barlow this closeup must be around f30 and is pushing the boundaries of image scale with the little scope.  Taken using the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Single Stack Ha Full Disk - 14th May

Once the little Lunt50 has acclimated once it has been setup it produces some nice full disks with decent Ha detail.  Taken at ~f10 with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera I'm pleased with the results!

CaK Full Disk - 14th May

The sunny skies continue in the UK and with it the opportunity to see what the face of our star presents.  While the sunspot activity has all but died away there is still the large area of plage.  Taken with the 40mm scope at f13 with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Double Stack Full Disk - 13th May

Adding a second etalon to the Lunt LS50 solar telescope through 'double stacking' has the effect of increasing contrast on the solar disk as a result of reduced continuum leakage in the wings of the Hydroge Alpha centreline.  It gives an alternative take on the single stack view.  Taken with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Ha Full Disk - 13th May

Todays sun has all the hallmarks of our star heading into solar minimum.  Active regions are sparse, with AR12709 sitting very much geoeffective.  Flare activity is likely to be negligible from this region.  All the main active regions are now focused very much towards the solar equator, with filaments at polar latitudes in both hemispheres indicating a boundary of magnetic fields.  The 2 prominences looked very nice visually through the 80mm scope and the Quark.  This image was taken with the Lunt LS50 (single stack) at ~f13 using the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

A Nearly Spotless Sun Towards Solar Minimum - 12th May

As we head towards solar minimum activity on our Sun will get less and less.  Imaging in CaK light is a good way to show up activity that can be difficult to see in white light views.  Three active regions are currently on the suns earthward face, with the largest of these closer to the eastern limb showing a couple of small pores where magnetic field loops break the solar surface.  This image was taken at 393nm in Calcium light with the homebrew CaK filter, 40mm scope at ~f13 with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera and then coloured to mirror the AIA1700 image.

Active Regions in Calcium Light - 12th May

A trio of active regions are currently transiting the earthward face of the sun.  Visible as bright plage in CaK wavelengths where there is higher magnetic field strength.  Taken at 80mm aperture fl 1000mm with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  

Friday, 11 May 2018

CaK Full Disk 10th May

Nice to see some active regions and their associated white plage visible on the sun.  There seems to have been a slight uptick in solar activity in recent weeks going against the longer downward trend as we head towards solar minimum.  Taken with the 40mm f10 scope somewhere around f13 with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 USB3 camera.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Full Disk With the Lunt LS50 - 10th May

There were clear(ish!) skies after work today and so decided to get the scope out to see what was happening on our star.  Things are quiet but a trio of active regions were visible.  Taken with the single stacked LuntLS50 and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  I quite like the way this scope performs in single stack mode.

AR12708 with the Airylab HaT - 7th May

First real run this year with the 203mm Airylab HaT, and on one of the hottest days of the year the seeing was boiling away.  Took several images with the Daystar Quark to get one that wasn't mush, and this one came out best.  The sunspot was quite active at this scale.  Camera was the PGR Chameleon 3.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Ha Full Disk Animation 6th May

I have been perplexed with the way my Lunt50 has been behaving lately however hoping that on Sunday this has been fixed.  I decided to do a full disk animation and see how it held on band.  This animation represents 2 1/2 hours on the face of our star.  It is very quiet but looking at the full size version of the image shows some quite subtle changes over time.  

Calcium Closeups 6th May

The seeing was reasonably steady on sunday afternoon and I managed a nice closeup using the 40mm scope barlowed up to shy of 1000mm focal length,  double clicking the image zooms quite a bit further in.  Using the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 usb camera.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

CaK Full Disk - 6th May

Calcium wavelengths are great for spotting solar activity as it shows up white, and despite a virtually empty disk in whitelight there were 2 active regions easily seen at 393nm.  This shot was taken with the 40mm scope at somewhere near 500mm focal length.  The homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon were used.

White Light Full Disk - 6th May

The sun is all but blank at the moment, all bar a very small active region that contains a couple of pores, nearer the north eastern limb there is a small region of plage associated with a decaying active region.  This image is the first proper white light full disk image I have got with my 60mm f6 scope I bought earlier this year.  With it's short focal length it is easy to get the full disk in one on the frame with room to spare.  The 2" Lunt solar wedge was used along with a 656nm Ha filter.  I need to replace my solar continuum filter and try that for greater resolution.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

CaK Full Disk - 1st May

One of those first thing in the morning shots, it's that time of year!  The seeing was awful especially considering the apparently clear blue skies, still, nice to get some sun.  It never ceases to amaze me what stacking software can do with what seems like very poor data.  Taken with the 40mm f10 somewhere around 500m fl with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Ha Full Disk 30th April

The skies cleared in a fashion late this afternoon so I decided to get home quick from work and go for an image of the sun.  Compared to a few days ago the face of our star is virtually blank.  It was nice to be able to get an image though and this one was taken with the Lunt DS50 with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

CaK Full Disk 26th April

The time of year has arrived where for several months i'm able to observe the sun early in the morning before I leave for work; it's always a pleasant way to start the day.  This morning our star was quiet all bar a decaying active region AR12706 visible as an area of bright white plage on the disk.  A small sunspot was also visible.  Image taken with the 40mm f10 scope running around 500mm focal length with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Ha Full Disk - 22nd April

If you take a look back at my recent full disks with the Lunt 50 there is a distinct haze and softness to the images.  I had noticed that visually there was a bright offset circular patch when looking through the eyepiece, this was quite clearly an internal reflection, and some clearish skies this afternoon allowed a bit of experimentation that led me to conclude there was a reflection between the ITF on the blocking filter and the internal optics of the Lunt 50.  Always the key to supressing a reflection is to use a circular polarising filter so I tried one on the nose of the blocking filter.  Immediately through the eyepiece I was pleasantly surprised how black the background sky was now, and also how much more contrast there was on the disk.  Exposure time was longer as might be expected, but still within what is acceptable at this image scale.  The resultant image is also sharper.  Taken with the Lunt DS50 and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

AR12706 in Ha - 20th April

As we head towards solar minimum activity on our star will get less and less, so it was a pleasant surprise earlier in the week to have both good weather here in the UK and also an active region rounding the suns eastern limb.  The southerly plume brought some of the warmest April weather since 1947, and with the high temperatures wobbly seeing, but using the ED80 and double stacked Quark I was pleased with this shot of this active region - AR12706.  The PGR Blackfly GigE IMX249 camera was used,

CaK Sun - 20th April

A quick whizz overview of the sun from Friday 20th April.  The full disk was taken with the 40mm scope somewhere around 500mm focal length, the closer view with the ED80 stopped down to 60mm.  Both with the homebrew CaK filter and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  Nice to see a bit of activity for a change!

Ha Full Disks 20th April

I was able to get home early after work on friday, and seeing as the sun was shining I decided to grab some solar images.  First up some full disks, single and double stacked with the Lunt 50 and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.  There are some stacking artefacts around the limb, but have since deleted the raw data so can't restack and can't be bothered to paint out.  To be perfectly honest i'm just glad to see the sun!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Hazy Sunshine 16th April

After 2 weeks of virtually wall to wall cloud the sun was making fleeting appearances through some broken cloud on Monday afternoon.  I got back from work and set the scope up but the haze, as indicated by the brightened background in this image, was thick.  The visuals were better than this image, with a nice flame prom visible and a couple of very small active areas; sunspot activity was negligible though.  Taken with the single stack Lunt 50 and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Small Prominence - 5th April

Hazy skies contributed to a bit of background glow on some of thursdays images, but I was pleased with how this prom shot turned out and the subtle detail within it, especially as it was taken with the new 60mm f6 scope.  This was taken with a Daystar Quark and the PGR Blackfly IMX249 camera.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Tenuous Filaments - 5th April

This has to be one of my favourite shots from Thursday and is worth clicking on to view full size.  The seeing must have been playing ball for this image as got a lovely feathery edge to the Sun, along with some nice small scale detail in the prominence.  Tenuous filaproms grace the surface too - these clouds of cooler plasma held aloft by magnetic fields.  This shot was taken with the 60mm f6 scope along with a double stacked Daystar Quark and the PGR Blackfly IMX249 camera.

Swirling Plasma and Small Proms - 5th april

The sun is certainly getting quieter as we approach solar minimum, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening on our star, things are just smaller scale.  This shot taken with the ED60 and double stacked Quark shows this well, with the small remnants of the old active region in the left of the picture, and a particularly small prom on the limb.  I like the field of view this setup gives for this sort of thing.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Close Up Proms with the Airylab HaT - 5th April

Despite the clear blue skies the seeing wasn't up to the resolution of 8" aperture with the HaT, I shot a number of images and these are about the best that came out.  Taken with a native Quark and PGR Blackfly IMX249 camera.

EX - AR12699 - Filaments and Magnetic Fields - 5th April

2 solar rotations ago at the start of February the winter sun was graced with the sight of an active region yielding a number of spots.  A rotation later it emerged on the solar limb as nothing more than a region of plage.  On it's second rotation it took a bit of rejuvenation and for a few days following some minor flaring very small spots briefly appeared.  In calcium wavelengths this bright plage is easily seen, however in Ha wavelengths it can be see a region of churned plasma with a central dark filament forming the boundary between the opposing magnetic field lines of the ex-active region.  This shot was taken with the 60mm f6 ED60 scope and double stacked Daystar Quark along with the PGR Blackfly IMX249 camera.

Ha Full Disk - 5th April

It was a case of look carefully on the sun on 5th April.  At first sign there is nothing happening, but look closer and there are a number of very small filaments all over the face of the sun.  The clouds of cool plasma are held aloft above the suns surface by magnetic fields.  Proms were in a small scale and also short supply.  Taken with the double stacked Lunt 50 and the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

CaK Full Disk - 5th April

Finally some clear skies, and I must have forgot how to use the 40mm CaK scope as I did an awful attempt at focusing on this disk.  All pretty quiet apart from the relic plage from our active region from a few rotations back visible mid disk.  Taken using the home brew CaK filter and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

AR12699 - Return of the Plage: Take 2

 When you look at the SDO image above you might be fooled into thinking something big is coming around the solar limb near the solar equator (left hand side).  Sadly this is just the remnants of AR12699 from February, and all that will be visible now is some decaying plage, visible in CaK wavelengths, and possibly discernible in Ha wavelengths.  For most people this will go totally un-noticed.  It should be visible on the LASP solar irradiance plot as a slight up tick in the graph as the slightly brighter plage rounds the limb.  When sunspots are visible the opposite effect happens with a trough or down tick in the graph as the cooler, darker sunspots actually reduce the total solar irradiance as they pass over the Earthward face of our star.  Will be interesting to see over the Easter fortnight how visible this relic plage actually is.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Proms on a Spring Day - 25th March

The first day of spring here in the UK was a warm and bright day, quite different from the weeks of a long cold winter that went before.  There was on and off high cloud and the seeing was far from steady, but it was nice to get the scopes out and see what was happening on our star.  Not much really, a blank disk apart from a nice group of proms on the western limb.  This is where the 8" HaT comes in, with it's ability to get in on the smallest of details as we head into solar winter and an absence of larger scale activity.  It took a number of files being recorded to get something, and this is less than ideal, but certainly better than nothing.  Taken with the Daystar Quark and the PGR Blackfly IMX249 camera.  

Full Disk With The Double Stacked Lunt50 - 25th March

The double stacked Lunt50 is going to be a bit of a work horse through solar minimum.  The extra contrast double stacked etalons brings teases out any filaments whilst also highlighting the areas of brighter plage.  Using the PGR Chameleon 3 it is possible to get the full disk all in one shot, saving the need for creating a mosaic.