Friday, August 24, 2012

Good Seeing!

Many Sunspots!

Meteorologists predicted clouds, but, instead, the morning dawned clear and still on August 2. My decision to observe was rewarded by surprisingly good seeing! The first video image was very steady, about the steadiest I've ever seen, and the Sun was covered with interesting sunspots and filaments. By the time heat made observing unbearable I had captured 59 videos. Almost every one of these yielded a high quality image. Behold the solar show of August 2! Begin with this 3-image mosaic of sunspots 1535, 1538, and a long curving filament.
Sunspot 1535 at top, 1538 at bottom (Click for full detail.)
Filaments are somewhat like clouds suspended above the solar chromosphere. When the image of a dark filament is inverted, the dark filament appears cloudy white and seems to float above the surface. The image below is a good example of the effect.
Beautiful floating filament!
Nice, steady seeing conditions are evident in this detailed 3-image mosaic of sunspots 1532, 1530, and 1529.
L to R: Sunspots 1532, 1530, 1529 (Click for full detail.)
Once again, an inverted image highlights the floating filaments:
(Click for full detail.)
I've been trying to construct multi-image mosaics to capture highly detailed pictures of large areas of the Sun. This 5-image mosaic spans the solar disk.
(Click for full detail.)
Finally, the following imperfect 10-image mosaic attempts to capture the placement of all significant features on the solar disk.
(Click for full detail.)
The 10-image mosaic above is actually 3753 pixels by 2782 pixels. Unfortunately, the blog format does not allow this enormous full sized display.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Solar Mosaics

Multiple Sunspots

A variety of interesting features graced the Sun on July 28. Cloudy skies were forecast, but the morning dawned clear and relatively cool. I decided to seize the opportunity and quickly set up my solar imaging equipment. Working rapidly, I managed to capture 35 videos before clouds blocked the Sun. The weather forecast was correct. Clear skies lasted only 33 minutes after I began recording images!

Seeing conditions were fairly good. The first image below shows three sunspots and two filaments. Sunspot 1530 is just to the right of the nearly horizontal filament near center. Smaller sunspot 1529 is at bottom center. Much smaller sunspot pair 1533 is at far right center.
Sunspots 1530, 1529, 1533 and filaments (Click for full detail.)
Large active region 1532 is shown in the next image along with three big prominences arrayed along the solar limb.
Active Region 1532 and three prominences (Click for full detail.)
Here's an image of the three prominences alone.
The three prominences near active region 1532 (Click for full detail.)
My continuing quest to capture major portions of the whole Sun was partially successful. In a previous post I explained how it would take roughly 30 individual images to cover the entire solar disk. In this session I came nowhere near capturing the required 30 images. The mosaic below was constructed by combining just eight individual images. It shows how the sunspots and prominences displayed in the first two images above were arranged on the Sun's disk.
Sunspots, filaments, and one of the three prominences (Click for full detail.)
By combining a different variety of individual images, seven this time, I constructed a slightly different mosaic spanning nearly the entire solar diameter. This mosaic displays a nice U-shaped filament on the left and significant portions of the Sun's curved limb. I'm disappointed about my failure to obtain images for the missing segments of the limb! Imaging the sunspots and filaments was my first priority. There wasn't enough time to get good images for the missing pieces. I'm still striving for better results.
Mosaic nearly spanning a solar diameter (Click for full detail.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Future Athlete

Active Kid!

Climbing! Jumping! Running! My granddaughter is bursting with energy! Will she be an athlete? Maybe she'll be a rock climber.
Maybe she'll be a gymnast.
Maybe she'll be a basketball player.
Maybe she'll ride in the Tour de France.
Or, she could be an engineer like her Dad.
Perhaps she'll learn to play piano like her Mom.
Or be an excellent baker like Grandma.
"Papa" hopes to be around to see what happens.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Arrival and Departure

Sunspots Coming and Going

Can't seem to get a clear day when big interesting sunspots are centrally placed on the Sun's disk! Instead, weather seems to clear only when sunspots get near the Sun's limb. Then most of the interesting detail is not well displayed because the sunspots are viewed from the side rather than from above. But I have to take clear days as they come. July 7th was hot, steamy, and temporarily clear. It was so humid dew formed on equipment carried outside from the air conditioned house! The dew faded just in time to get some images before clouds began to form. Seeing was surprisingly good for about an hour.

I observed two departing sunspots about to rotate out of sight around the Sun's western limb. First, a 2-image mosaic of small departing sunspot 1513.
Sunspot 1513 right of bottom center. (Click for full detail.)
Second, a departing sunspot group - enormous active region 1515, exiting after several eruptions:
Active region 1515 (Click for full detail.)
Just arriving on the Sun's eastern limb was huge active region 1520 preceded by smaller solitary sunspot 1519. They are shown here in a 2-image mosaic:
Active region 1520 left of top center, 1519 bottom center (Click for full detail.)
Finally, three large, almost parallel filaments also happened to be present. Here is a 2-image mosaic:
Three filaments (Click for full detail.)

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