Thursday, October 29, 2015

October Clear Spell Continues

Improved Seeing

On October 19th, one day after my previous observing session, seeing conditions were much improved. This time it was a bit warmer, with temperature ranging from 50 to 53 degrees and only a light puffy breeze. There wasn't a cloud in sight. Seeing was good enough to see pointed spicules on the solar limb. These spicules were smeared and blurry during the previous day of poor seeing. 

On this nearly perfect day there were no prominences around the edge of the Sun. But sunspots and filaments on the solar disc showed up nicely in the following 21-panel mosaic reduced to one third of the original size. (Click on the images for a larger view.)
The inverted version of the previous image highlights filaments.
The two major sunspots are 2436 on the left and 2434 on the right in the next closer view.
Near the end of my session I captured sunspot 2434 with a 2000 frame video and stacked the best 100 frames to produce the following image.
Interesting swirling structure and filaments surround the sunspot. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October Clear Spell

Bad Seeing

Very often an extended stretch of clear skies happens during October. This year hardly any clouds appeared between October 18th and October 21st. On the 18th, the first clear day, I made a special effort to use my solar telescope since it had been more than a month since my last observing session. It was a cool 50 degrees and breezy. Seeing conditions were forecast to be poor, and the forecast was correct. Solar features were a blurry, jittery mess. Nevertheless, I captured enough videos to construct the following 29-panel imperfect mosaic which shows a modest array of solar features.
Sunspot pair 2436 is on the left near the limb. Sunspot 2434 is below center. One large prominence is on the lower left rim, and a few filaments are scattered about. The mosaic posted here has been reduced to one quarter size from the original. If you click on the image and examine it closely, you will see some blurry areas which were captured when the seeing was particularly bad.

Prominent sunspot 2434 was surrounded by some nice filaments shown in the next image made with a 5X Barlow lens.
Details in the previous image are not as sharp as they could be, but, considering how turbulent the air was, the image is not bad.

Only 40 minutes after I started capturing videos some fair weather clouds began drifting by. The seeing was so poor that I decided to end the session and hope for steadier viewing the next day. The next day actually did turn out much better as you will see in my next post.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Down By The Riverside

Glorious Day!

Some days in October are truly golden. October 12th was such a day - a perfect fall day. I took a stroll with C along the banks of the James River near Jamestown. During spring and summer a walk in this location would be plagued by mosquitoes and biting flies. But on this perfect day, there were no bugs. We walked in afternoon sunlight. The calm riverbank basked in a warm glow.
The James River was very peaceful.
Late afternoon sunshine lit the river.
Soon after leaving these quiet scenes we surprised an antlered buck grazing along the path. A hawk flew across the tree line. Crickets chirped.
I really enjoyed this lingering warm day.

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