Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Sun

I got an early start observing the Sun today so that I could get a sketch in and then devote the rest of the day to my (truly!) better half.  The Sun has been sporting several active regions over the last week, although it seems to be calming down a bit.  I completed my sketch at 1530 UT (8:30 MST) this morning, using my Lunt Solar Systems 60mm Hydrogen Alpha Pressure Tuned Telescope/bf1200 blocking filter, and Baader Hyperion Zoom eyepiece at 12mm.  The image to the right is from Thomas Ashcraft, taken from New Mexico at about the time I was making my sketch. (His image is reversed left-right from my sketch)

Active Region (AR) 11067 in the northwest is bright and contains a long, gently curving filament.  AR 11068 in the southern hemisphere is triangular in shape and also contains a small filament.  11071 has no features of note, but is also bright enough to be readily apparent.  There is a very bright prominence in the northwest that is spewing out of AR 11069 which has just rotated out of view behind the solar limb.  In fact, this AR was producing a B class solar flare during my sketch.  A movie of this flare as recorded by SOHO can be seen here.  Visually, the prominence in the northeast (upper right in my sketch) is quite striking with an extensive and very fine linear structure to it. 

Paul Robertson who is a solar observer in Staffordshire, UK captured some very striking images of this prominence several hours prior to my observation.  These are his photos of the prominence: 

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