Thursday, April 12, 2012

Enormous Filament

Filaments and Prominences

Large sunspots have been rare in early April. Nevertheless, when cloudless skies and mild temperatures beckoned I set up my solar telescope and camera for some Sun watching. On April 7th only a single sunspot, numbered 1450, had nearly finished rotating across the Sun's disk. But this lonely sunspot was accompanied by an enormous, sinuous filament shown in the panoramic image below.
Huge, sinuous filament to the left of sunspot 1450 (Click for full detail.)
 More filaments appeared near the solar limb opposite the sunspot.
Two more filaments hover above the nearly spotless Sun (Click for full detail.)
Several prominences also graced the Sun's limb:
Nice prominence with yet another filament at top center (Click for full detail.)
More prominences add to the show! (Click for full detail.)
 Even with just one sunspot the Sun can put on quite a display!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Moon Shots

First Try at Lunar Imaging

The Sun has been rather bland lately, so, on April 2nd, I tried imaging the Moon on a clear, rapidly cooling evening. The session began with a DMK41AU02.AS camera at the prime focus of my 40-year old Celestron-8 telescope. Here is a decent, but not excellent, panorama constructed from four individual images.
Lunar panorama (Click for full detail.)
Next, I tried a 2X Barlow lens for some magnified shots of individual craters and lunar landscapes. Results were fairly good, but seem slightly blurry to me. Perhaps the Barlow lens yields too much magnification for the optical quality of my setup.
Crater Plato: 109 km (67.7 mi) in diameter (Click for full detail.)
Crater Gassendi: 110 km (68.3 mi) in diameter (Click for full detail.)
Crater Tycho: 86.2 km (53.5 mi) in diameter (Click for full detail.)
Here are two more respectable images (Click for full detail.):
Finally, just for fun, I tried to image Mars. The image danced and wavered on the video screen. It was hard to determine exact focus. Nevertheless, there were enough reasonable video frames out of the 800 gathered to construct the image below. This is a grayscale image because I don't have color filters for my monochrome camera. I was amazed to see some dark patches of surface detail as well as a tiny polar cap on the lower left of the image!

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

John Lennon