Thursday 30 August 2018

Aurora! - 27th August

We might be in the middle of solar minimum, but when it comes to space weather things don't always happen the way you expect.  On the 21st of August a weak and slow moving coronal mass ejection left the sun, with solar astronomers puzzled as to the source region.  Initially it was thought this would hit on the 24th/25th August, but it wasn't until 26th of August when it did, and also a large crack opened up in Earths magnetic field, the solar wind, fuelled from the CME poured in creating a strong G3 magnetic storm with a kP of 7.  Being in Iceland and under the auroral oval I had been following this closely online, alas on the night of the 26th there was cloud and rain.  The following evening on the 27th was forecast clear with a ground frost so I knew there was a chance of seeing any reverberations as the storm subsided.  Initially as it was dusk high cloud to the north masqueraded as northern lights, but then looking outside to the north east I saw the unmistakable sight of the aurora.  Racing outside I took a number of pictures setting the frame I wanted before settling into a timelapse of the event.  It was a brief affair, over with the naked eye in 15-20 minutes, with fainter more diffuse aurora visible to the camera a little longer.  I persevered for a while before clouds stole the show, but, with every aurora it gives a memory that is never forgotten.

The timelapse is 134 frames with 3 frames per minute, so, roughly over 45 minutes.  Camera used was the aged and trusty Canon 350D, ISO800, 20s, with a sigma 10-20mm zoom on 10mm f4.  The chill in the air and snow on the mountains brought home the fact winter is getting ever closer, reinforced when you can see the Pleiades rising over the tree on the right.  Castor and Pollux in Gemini can be seeing skirting the northern horizon in the still peach coloured twilight arc up here at 66 degrees north.  This was the only aurora i've seen on this trip but I was glad I saw some.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Paraselane - 27th August

Something a bit different here; refracted sunlight.  A paraselanae or 'moon dog' is the result of sunlight, reflected from the near full moon in this case then being refracted through heaxgonal prism shaped ice crystals high in the atmosphere.  The left moon dog is very pronounced, but there are also hints of the 22 degree halo, upper tangent arc and possibly moon pillar.  It fits in very nicely with the simulation on halosim.

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Ha Full Disk 8th August

When says the sun is blank they need to look in Hydrogen Alpha wavelengths, there is plenty to see here; ex-active regions, plage, filaments and prominences.  The sun is rarely quiet in Ha!  Taken with a pair of double stacked 50mm Lunt etalons, a Coronado BF15 on a 60mm f6 scope with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

CaK Full Disk - 8th August

For whatever reason I seem to have been neglecting calcium wavelengths lately, and often as the case here when the sun is blank in whitelight there is still detail to see in CaK, here regions of plage associated with active regions from a couple of rotations ago are still clearly visible.  Taken with the 40mm scope and homebrew CaK filter with the PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Closing in on Decayed Active Regions - 8th August

Transparency was great this morning alas the seeing had other ideas, and many gigabytes of data were shot in order to get one half decent image.  This active region that first showed itself in June has all but gone now, but there is still a small area of crackling plage, the dark area is not a sunspot but a small surging filament, it was gone minutes later.  Taken with the Airylab HaT with 0.7x reducer and the Daystar Quark and the IMX 249 camera to get this image.

Monday 6 August 2018

Ha Full Disk - 6th August

The sun is free of spots at the moment but it is not free from activity, a pair of decaying active regions sit mid disk on the solar equator and a filament sits at more northerly latitudes.  There was also a number of small prominences.  This image was taken with the DS50 and PGR Chameleon 3 camera.

Sunday 5 August 2018

AR12717 With The Airylab HaT and Daystar Quark - 5th August

The seeing was far from perfect this morning with passing clouds, however using the Airlylab SSM along with the seeing plugin in Firecapture meant I was able to record only the best ones.  The Airylab HaT and 0.7x reducer was used with the Daystar Quark and PGR IMX249 camera.  This small active region seems to have diminished in activity since yesterday.

Granulation With the Airylab HaT and Daystar Sodium Quark - 5th August

The seeing was pretty rough when this image was taken and was a struggle to get enough decent frames to do something with.  The Airylab HaT, with 0.7x reducer was used along with the Daystar Sodium Quark and PGR IMX249 to give a focal length about 6m.  Just plain old granulation mid disk!

Saturday 4 August 2018

AR12717 With The Airylab HaT and Daystar Quark - 4th August

    Trying something a bit different this morning, I bought a Celestron 0.7x Edge HD reducer to bring the focal ratio back down to f7, something that i've found with my other scopes to offer a sweet spot with the Daystar Quark.  Immediately both visually and also on the laptop screen that contrast was favourable.  The seeing was also not too bad so I decided to rattle off some frames of AR12717.  Overall i'm pleased with this new configuration and look forward to trialling it further when sky conditions are better.  Taken with a PGR IMX249 camera.

Thursday 2 August 2018

AR12717 in Sodium Light

This animation spanning ten minutes shows the rise and fall of solar granules, while the small spot associated with this new active region remains relatively static.  There also appears to be a number of small pores in this active region.  Taken with the ED80, Daystar Sodium Quark and the PGR IMX249 camera.

Ha Full Disk 2nd August

You have to look carefully at the moment as we head towards solar minimum for details on the sun, but today we have a newly designated active region, AR12717.  This has a small single spot with some signs of pores around it.  It is Quite bright in Ha light.  Also visible is a small emerging flux region with signs of the magnetised plasma churning around.  The rest of the disk is essentially blank.  Taken with the double stacked Lunt50 etalons, BF15, PGR IMX249 camera.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

New Sunspot - 1st August

This as yet undesignated active region appears to be having a bit of a surge in activity and has developed a small single sunspot.  Whether this will develop any more is anyones guess.  This was taken with the Skywatcher ED80, Beloptik Tri-band ERF, 2.5x barlow, homebrew CaK filter and the PGR IMX249 camera.

Departing Prominences - 31st July

Over the past week or so a region of filaments has slowly marched towards the suns limb, when they reached they put on a great display of prominences for a couple of days too before heading over the solar limb.  This shot was taken with the DS50 and PGR Ch3 camera.