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Mercury Transit of the Sun 9-5-16

Well I consider myself extremely lucky to have seen this event as the cloud cover was horrendous for most of the day. These images were actually taken through the thinnest of that cloud between 15:30 – 16:50 and the quality of the images is pretty dire, but nonetheless a good record of how I saw things from the back garden. I was amazed at just how small the planet looks against the Sun, not much bigger than the sunspot group nearby.

The transit began at 12.12 BST, and ends at 19.42 BST so you have a few minutes left to see it in the UK ! Mercury is 4,800 km in diameter and orbits the Sun in 88 days. Transits of mercury are fairly rare events with 13 taking place every century in November or May.

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The Sun in CaK light showing sunspot group 2542 to the right of centre and Mercury to the left of centre

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The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha light showing curving filaments and Mercury top left of centre

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The Hydrogen Alpha disk showing Mercury upper left of centre

Categories: Planets, Solar, Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

Giant Sunspot Region AR 2529 17-4-16

April 22, 2016 Leave a comment

The Sun’s activity is now heading towards solar minimum, but it can still occasionally surprise us with some large surface features such as sunspot active region AR 2529 which appeared over the last weekend. To give you some idea of scale you could fit five Earth’s inside the dark area of that sunspot ! It is so large people have reported seeing it at sunset behind thin cloud with the naked eye.

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Images taken 17-4-16 12:10pm, PST CaK, DMK 400

Spectacular Aurora over Mid Wales tonight !

Once again the value of Twitter for aurora alerts was proven tonight. I started to pick up reports of a Class G-1 storm reaching KP5 levels of visibility in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland at around 8.20pm tonight and then by 9pm there were reports from Southern Ireland. I thought I would take a look even though no reports from Wales were coming in and was rewarded with the most spectacular light show to date for our area. Pillars of white light were numerous with a background of greens and magenta reds in the north and north west. Occasional higher bands could be seen early on right round to the west and fairly high up.

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Images taken 9.30 – 10.30 6/3/16 Sony RX100, ISO 3200, 28mm, F1.8, 8 seconds.

Categories: Aurora, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,