Friday, November 22, 2013

Sun spotting

The weekend of Nov. 2/3 offered some sunspots, a phenomenon that should be at a peak in it's 11-year cycle. This peak, however, is looking like a modest solar maximum. Here are sunspots photographed through a white light filter:

Viewed through a hydrogen-alpha scope, a Coronado PST, I saw an unusual brightening. The bright area was intense enough be visible in this photo, taken by holding a camera to the eyepiece (the afocal method).

I lack a means of getting effective photos through the hydrogen-alpha scope, but on rare occassions, a feature has been bright enough to photograph using the afocal method. You can see the bright spot just left of center.

This was the brightest spot I've seen on the sun, but more interesting, ten minutes after this photo, the bright spot was replaced by a sunspot with only brightness around the edges.

Two weeks later (the weekend of Nov. 16/14) I saw the largest sunspot I've ever observed, through my sunspotter telescope:

You might say, using my iPhone to photograph an image projected onto paper is taking the afocal concept to the extreme.

The following day, a Monday, was the first opportunity I had to get a better picture using a 3-inch scope:

Ideally, I would have used my larger scope on this, but it being work day, I had to go with what was portable and easy to set up in a parkeing lot. Here's a close ups of the interesting regions, which is the best I can do with the smaller scope:


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