Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Solar Flare and lift-off Prominence!

(If you are looking for the Diamond Jaxx pictures, scroll down one post!)

I was out observing and sketching the sun this morning, and at approximately 1550 UT (8:50 MST) Active Region 11072 produced a small flare.  This was at the same time I was observing a large and faint prominence lifting off from the Sun's southwestern limb!  Two treats this morning from an otherwise mellow sun.  In addition to the active region and lifting off prominence, there are some small filaments and weak plaging in the northeast.  Below is my Hydrogen Alpha sketch from today as well as Thomas Ashcraft's image from during the same time.  Note how in the image (reversed E-W from my sketch) the flaring is so bright that it overwhelms the camera sensor and details are difficult to see within the region.

Following my observation in hydrogen alpha, I spent a few minutes observing the sun in white light.  The spots within the active region are not as complex as they were during my Saturday observation, however they remain attractive.  Below are my sketches of the full disk as well as a detail sketch of the spots.

I tend to participate in the solar observing forum on Cloudy Nights, and many imagers from around the world post images.  Today, there were a couple spectacular image posted from Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy.  Mr. Valentini uses a TEC 180 and Herschel wedge for his white light program, which is the big brother to my TEC 140.  Below are his images of the AR 11072 in hydrogen alpha as well as a white light image of the sunspots and granulation within the same AR.  These are extremely high resolution images of the sun, and represent some of the best solar imaging I have seen (as well as excellent atmospheric conditions!)

Emiel Veldhuis from the Netherlands created an image (below) of the lifting off prominence close to the time of my observation.  He also works on a project to bring live solar images to the internet, via Solarlive.

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