Monday, June 24, 2013

Mid-June Sun

Modest Sunspots

Good days for solar observing have been rare recently. When June 15th dawned warm and clear I quickly set up my telescope. Adjustments made to the mount and tripod during my last observing session apparently worked because the initial slew put the Sun near eyepiece center. Seeing was fairly good, and, happily, June 15th was the first observing day of 2013 without wind. The Sun was relatively quiet with modest sunspots, but there were some nice prominences and filaments.

This 15-image mosaic, made with a 1.5X Barlow lens, shows the Sun's Earth-facing side on June 15th.
(Click for full detail.)
The inverted version highlights cloud-like filaments above the disc.
Features on the left side of the disc, the Sun's eastern side, are rotating into view as the Sun turns. The following 7-image mosaic, made with a 2X Barlow lens, shows these recently visible features, including sunspot 1769 near image center.
(Click for full detail.)
Next is a larger view of sunspot 1769 and its immediate surroundings, first in a standard image, and then with an inverted image.
Although sunspots on June 15th were not spectacular, there was a nice array of prominences around the Sun's eastern and southern limbs as shown in the following 7-image mosaics made with a 2X Barlow lens. The first prominence image is shown in the actual color seen through the solar telescope. The second image is shown in yellow. Which color do you like best? These prominence images really need to be seen at full size to appreciate the detail present. Click on the images to get more detail.
Sunspot pair 1768 was departing on the Sun's western side. The next image is a magnified view taken with a 5X Barlow lens. It's the best image I've been able to obtain with the 5X Barlow so far. Seeing conditions must be good to get decent images with the 5X Barlow.
Finally, here is a wider field, inverted, 4-image mosaic of sunspot 1768, made with a 2X Barlow lens, showing the sunspot pair, (the white dots), and some nearby filaments.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Photo Restoration

Oldies But Goodies

Old pictures fascinate me! Somehow, after spending hours restoring photos pixel by pixel, I feel more connected to the past.

(All the images below should change back and forth between the original and the restored. If they do not, please click on the image itself, otherwise you will not see the restoration. I don't understand why the images are sometimes properly animated and other times not.)

Here's a picture of my father, Stanley Michalik, holding a cat in May, 1923. Notice how the restored picture reveals his eyes previously hidden in darkness.
Blemishes and fingerprints can also be removed as shown in this picture of my Dad at Camp Rucker, Alabama in October, 1943:
I have no date for this picture.
This restored photo was taken by my Dad in devastated Cologne, Germany in May, 1945 shortly after World War II ended in Europe.
This photo of Dad in Morristown, NJ on July 20, 1947 is greatly improved by blemish removal!
There's even a way to remove blemishes left by faulty development of the original photographic film! Check out this slightly blurry picture of my Dad helping me walk on June 7, 1949.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Loud Bugs!

Alien Invaders

Hordes of cicadas have recently appeared in my neighborhood. Here's a typical individual viewed from the side:
In some places the cicadas are so numerous they collide with cars and people. I've had them bouncing off my chest during bike rides. One day, as I walked through a cloud of flying cicadas into our local library, one of them hitched a ride on my arm. Once inside it flew off to the ceiling with a loud buzz.
From surrounding trees males call to females. There are many, many individual calls, and the combined sound gets quite loud, almost leaf-blower-loud.
Jeez, these are alien looking things, aren't they? Big bug eyes, creepy triangular faces, and scary clingy legs.

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