Thursday, April 6, 2017
Sun Wakes Up
Recent months of sunspot drought temporarily ended on April 2nd when two good-sized sunspots were visible on a cool, cloudless day. A northerly breeze accompanied 51-degree temperature as I set up my solar telescope to begin observing before noon. Seeing was not particularly good, but blue skies and sunshine were very welcome.
My attempt to construct a whole disc mosaic failed because I was careless when capturing constituent panels. But the smaller successful 9-panel mosaic below shows almost all major solar features present. Complex sunspot group 2645 is on the lower left. Sunspot group 2644 is near the right limb. A few prominences sit on the western limb.
Seeing conditions improved for a while as morning hours passed. The next image is a close view of sunspot group 2645 made by stacking the best 100 frames from a 3,000-frame video. Notice the fine detail present in the dark sunspot umbras. This sunspot group deformed surrounding spicules making a pattern similar to iron filings sprinkled near a bar magnet. White energetic eruptions sit between outlying umbras. (Click on the images for a larger view.)
Sunspot group 2644 was churning with activity near the western limb. I recorded 21 minutes of the action by capturing one 500-frame video clip every 60 seconds. Each video clip yields a still image which becomes one movie frame. The repeating movie below runs at 10 frames per second, so it compresses 21 minutes of solar action into about 2 seconds. Movies like this always make me wish I had recorded longer. Unfortunately, I had to stop too soon.
The Sun may soon go back to sleep, so I'm glad I was able to observe this temporary burst of activity.
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