Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Sun

I had a pretty busy weekend as I spent Friday night and all day Saturday working at the Mount Lemmon Sky Center.  Friday night we had a SkyNights program and Saturday saw the Discovery Days event.   To the left is a picture of the current 24" RCOS telescope.  Excitement among staff at the Sky Center is increasing  as in mid-September, this telescope will be taken offline and a new 32" will be installed!  If the quality of the mirror is as good as the 24", visitors to the observatory will be in for quite a treat.  I am told that this telescope will be the largest telescope in Arizona that is solely dedicated to public observing, education and outreach. Pretty neat if you ask me.  Below is a picture I took outside the dome (about a week ago) and you can see the moon as well as Venus.

Anyway, Sunday morning I was fairly tired from the events, but the sky was as clear as it had been in two days and I decided to pull out my solar scope and make a sketch of the sun.  My sketch was completed at 1535 UT (8:35 AM MST).  While there is a mildly active region in the southwest (AR 11100) that includes two dark filaments, I was rather impressed with the large prominence in the northeast.  Of course, my sketch to the right does not do justice to the ethereal nature of this prominence.  Fortunately, a solar observer named Michael Buxton in California made a time lapse video of the prominence and posted it on you tube.  Check it out!

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