Saturday, August 7, 2010

Solar Flare Report

It is better to be lucky than good!  Yesterday our dog Cosmo tore up a bunch of drip irrigation and the burrow of our desert tortoise trying to corner something or other...(Don't worry the tortoise is fine).  So this morning I spent a few hours fixing the irrigation and renovating the burrow.  By the time I set up my Hydrogen Alpha solar telescope, I was hot, sweaty and rather fatigued.  I was planning on a quick look just to check out the prominences that I have been hearing about.  Normally I observe around 8:00 AM local time as the atmospheric conditions are more favorable and it is not so blasted hot.  Today, I set up about 11:15, and...holy smokes, a MASSIVE flare was erupting throughout active region 11093.  My sketch was completed between 1820 and 1905 UT (11:20 AM - 12:05 PM local time) under average to below average seeing conditions.

There are currently four active regions (AR) on the face of the sun: 11092, 11093, 11094, and 11095.  AR's 11092 and 11095 appear relatively weak, with faint plage and a small spot in each.  AR 11094 is very close to the northwest limb and is moderately bright with a filament connecting with some small prominences off the limb.  While the northeast prominences are quite large and beautiful and would normally be the feature du jour, 11093 was, as mentioned, in the midst of an M 1.0 class flare!  The plage was very bright, much brighter than I can capture in a sketch, and the whole region was involved in the flare.  There was also a very dark filament curving through the region, and a dark spot on the proceeding edge (the west).  The flare lasted from 1748 UT to 1845 UT with the peak at 1824 UT (11:24 AM local time).

Thomas Ashcraft captured several images of the flare and stitched them into an 8 megabyte .gif movie that is highly recommended!

Ken Florentino of Colorado captured this HD movie and posted it on YouTube~

Below, I have inverted my sketch to match the images of the flare.  (Through a refractor telescope, images are reversed east-west at the eyepiece and that is the reason that these space based images have east to the left).

My Sketch
Solar Dynamics Observatory 304

Solar Dynamics Observatory 171
Prior to flare

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