Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monsoon madness

Fifteen hours ago we were in the midst of the best rainstorm we've had all year.  We received about 2.25 inches of rain over two hours.  This morning I was out observing the sun and it was so hot and humid I had to shower when finished.  Now, we are about to get drenched with another very heavy downpour.  For those of you who appreciate the desert (or Tucson...and I know you are out there somewhere), the normally dry Tanque Verde creek was flowing at 12 feet over night, and the Santa Cruz was at 15 feet and rising still this morning!

As mentioned, I was out observing during a brief window of sun this morning.  I completed the sketch at 1628 UT (9:28 MST) using my Lunt Solar systems 60mm Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) telescope. The sun was a bit more active than yesterday with the sunspot in Active Region 11092 continuing to grow and darken.  There is also a small bit of plage associated with a thin filament to the east of the spot.  I assume it is part of the same active region, as it has persisted for a few days.  Many limb prominences are present, as well as the two dark, snaking filaments slithering their way across the northern hemisphere.  When I made the sketch, the sun was approximately 45 degrees above the eastern horizon and many high cirrus clouds were passing through the area. With the relative humidity around 60%, the seeing was rather mushy and it was hard to note fine details in the prominences.

I regularly share my observations on the Cloudy Nights Solar Observing Forum where many other observers from around the world also share their observations, sketches and images.  P-M Hedén is a Swedish observer and photographer who maintains an excellent blog (for those of you fluent in Swedish!).  He posted the image to the right on Cloudy Nights this morning.  In his image east is to the left (my sketch has east to the right).  Be sure and click on the image for the high resolution version.  The images below are from the website, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory and are both Ha images from today as well.
Solar Dynamics Observatory

Finally, for those of you who know the story behind the Lost Pleiad Observatory, today would have been our Lost Pleiad, Laura's 39th birthday.  We miss you.

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