It might be a rather warm 23 degrees outside but there’s a lot of cloud around too and the atmosphere is very turbulent, so there was no opportunity for some nice close up images of the large sunspot groups 1785, 1787, 1788. The smaller 1784 group can be seen to the right. The largest sunspot, 1785, has the potential to produce some big flares as it turns to face earth.
This set of images were taken between 12.00-13.00 UTC using the Coronado PST/Coronado CaK/Lunt CaK B1200 on a Vixen 115s. IS DMK41AU02 USB mono video camera. Images processed in Registax 6, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Lightroom 4.4
Hydrogen Alpha view with filaments
A cloudy and showery day with a few holes in the cloud, one of which allowed me to catch the nice collection of fairly large prominences on view at around 4.30pm. The whole disk is striped with filaments of varying size. The large filament in the south is still clinging on and may make it to the limb in the next couple of days. If it does we will be able to see what it looks like in profile when it turns into a prominence..hopefully a big one!
Images taken with Coronado PST 40mm & DMK41 USB camera. Processed in Registax 6, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Adobe Lightroom 4.4
Had a quick look at 10.45 UT this morning and was amazed to see a large extended prominence lifting off from the NW limb (top right) which had disappeared by 11.15 UT. It was extremely faint in the 40mm PST and increasing gain or exposure on the DMK video camera just burnt out the other proms so I had to increase the gamma a lot, which resulted in the colour halo you can see around the disk.
The long filament in the south east quarter (bottom left) appeared to be breaking up with a clear split in the centre.
Images taken with Coronado PST 40mm 10.45-11.00 UT & DMK41 USB camera. Processed in Registax 6, Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Lightroom 4.4
Hydrogen Alpha – Large and faint prominence lifting off top right
Hydrogen Alpha – large filament
It’s been just under a year since I have done any astronomical imaging and even longer since I have imaged the sun, which is a terrible state of affairs ! Last years horrendous weather pretty much killed my enthusiasm with barely any cloudless days and tons of rain. Amazingly we managed to time our holiday with some outstanding clear skies and although the sun is not particularly active today I could not resist a look. It has also been useful to remind myself how to process the images…which still takes ages. Quite pleased I captured some reasonable detail as the atmospheric seeing was pretty turbulent – that’s all down to Registax 6 of course, amazing software.
This set of images were taken between 9-10am UTC using the Coronado PST/Coronado CaK/Lunt CaK B1200 on a Vixen 115s. IS DMK41AU02 USB mono video camera. Images processed in Registax 6, Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Lightroom 4.4
Hydrogen Alpha Disk with central active region AR1765
Hydrogen Alpha detail of prominences
Calcium K disk
Calcium K surface with AR1765
Its after midnight over here in the UK and there will be cloud 5-6 am so no chance of seeing the transit for me. I popped over to the NASA Live stream here http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/webcasts/nasaedge/ for a view and was surprised to see that the images are actually being broadcast via views from readily available amateur solar telescopes. Andy Lunt of Lunt Solar Systems http://www.luntsolarsystems.com/ was explaining the different wavelengths of light that we can view the transit in including Hydrogen Alpha (red), Calcium K (purple blue) and White Light (how we would see it in natural light if it wasn’t so bright – NOTE do not look at the sun directly ! ). I took a set of screenshots from the live feed so that you can see what is going on. It gives you a great impression of the size of the planet Venus relative to the size of the Sun. Earth would typically fit into one of those larger sunspots you can see to the left.
Views courtesy of NASA Live view from Mauna Kea, Hawaii
White Light view 00.21 UT
Calcium K view 00.34 UT
Hydrogen Alpha view 1.45 UT
Above: NASA images of the transit of Venus in 2004
As many of you will know the planet Venus traverses across the face of the sun for 7 hours during the evening of June 5th and very early morning of June 6th 2012 (in the northern hemisphere). This event will not happen again for another 105 years so it truly is a once in a lifetime event. I’m not optimistic of a view from my location as it will only be visible between 5.00 and 5.54 am at less than 10 degrees elevation on the horizon, so it needs a perfectly cloud free view from an elevated site to have the best opportunity and we normally have 78% cloud in early June ! Nevertheless, i’ll be out there with the solar telescopes if it looks at all favorable
If anyone is trying to find out whether the transit will be visible from their location in the northern hemisphere I can recommend the following website http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/ which has a handy graphical visibility calculator that is very easy to use. Just pop your postcode into the search box or drag the map to your location.
If the timezones and cloud conspire against you then I can recommend the NASA live broadcast page where you can follow the event in real-time http://venustransit.nasa.gov/transitofvenus/ Another good broadcast site which will be using multiple locations across the globe and telescopes viewing the sun in various wavelengths of light is the Columbus State University site here http://www.ccssc.org/transit2012.html
Hope you all get a view of this rare event. Please remember not to look directly at the sun and do take appropriate safety measures before viewing with the correct equipment. Do get in touch if you have some images and i’ll post them up on the blog – good luck !
Huge active region AR1429 is looking rather benign now as it nears the western limb of the sun’s disk, but just five days ago it produced the largest solar flare of the current solar cycle, an X5 class eruption at 00:28 UT on the 7th March. On the 9th and 10th March it continued to flare at M class levels and large Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) were hurled our way on each occasion which will soon be providing plenty of aurora activity in the northern polar regions. Fortunately the cloud parted this afternoon to give me a clear view of this impressively active sunspot group so I took the opportunity to capture it in the CaK and Ha light wavelengths. The hydrogen alpha views show a huge curving filament snaking across the eastern limb. Images taken 12.32- 13.09 UT using Coronado Ha PST/Lunt CaK wedge at 100mm/DMK 41 camera
CAK views of AR 1429:
Hydrogen Alpha Views:
Sunspot group AR 1339 is an impressive sight right now and its high energy Delta class magnetic field has produced some spectacular M-Class flares over the last 24 hours. As it approaches the central meridian of the sun it is worth keeping a watch for X-Class flares from this region which may produce some impressive auroras down here on Earth. AR1339 appears at the top in the images with AR 1338 below. To the left three new active regions are just rounding the limb (AR’s 1340, 1341 & 1342). Images taken 11.21 – 11.46 UT using a DMK41 camera, CaK PST, Ha PST, CaK B1200 diagonal.
Lovely clear blue skies today, but with loads of atmospheric jitter so close up images of the activity were not possible. These Ha and CaK images were taken between 10.30 and 12.30 UT. There are seven active regions gliding over the surface of the sun with lots of nice spot, filament and pore detail. Active regions in the images include 1312, 1313, 1318 on the right and 1314, 1316, 1317, 1319 on the left.
There are currently five active regions forming a band of activity across the sun today including AR1301, 1302, 1305, 1306 and 1307. AR 1302 has given us some pretty impressive flares, but seems to be approaching the western limb in a rather subdued state. Although quiet AR1302 still harbors the magnetic strength to produce some X-Class flares and is still very dynamic visually with some impressive active region filaments arcing high above the main sunspots at its core. Images taken 12.10-12.55 UTC+1 with PST Ha, PST CaK, DMK41.
Close up of AR1302 and its arching filaments. AR 1305 to left
CaK of AR 1302 (right) and AR 1305 (left)