I've been tracking some sunspots this week, figuring that this is my best opportunity to capture a week or more of the sun's rotation in images. Last night, Christmas evening, I abandoned my scope to join family festivities, and when I returned the sun had moved behind stratified clouds. Normally, that means the end of a photo session, but in this case, I thought my cloud-draped sun images would make nice gas giant planets to use in my solar system presentation on Jan. 6. Though I'm depicting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, my depictions will be of these worlds 4 billion years ago, so it's reasonable to portray them as gas giants, but different from how they appear today. Saturn, for example, would not necessarily have rings. Some color and texture differences would also be in order as the outer planets would be much closer to the sun and therefore receiving more energy to invigorate their climate systems.
So here is my sun through clouds, modified to look like an ice giant planet with two transiting moons. The shadows are the sunspots I've been tracking.
6 days ago