Sunday, March 27, 2011

Solar sketches March 27th

Hydrogen Alpha 1550 UT
For those of you that follow the sun regularly, you know that it is ramping up in activity.  With the increasing activity, it is beginning to take longer and longer for me to make solar sketches...this means that I am sacrificing some of the fine detail available at the eyepiece in an effort to capture all the varying regions and features.  I was able to make two sketches this morning under very steady and transparent skies.

There are 8 active regions (AR's) on the face of the sun right now, as detailed in the sketch at left.  Of the regions, AR 11176 is the largest and most dynamic.  It sports a plethora fine detail as well as several dark filaments that wind throughout.  There are several spots visible in hydrogen alpha, along with some moderately bright plage.  AR 11178 in the SE is small, yet also reveals a couple spots.  Of the regions in the southern hemisphere, 11181 is the brightest, and it too shows a single dark spot.  In the northern hemisphere, both 11177 and 1180 are moderately bright, with 11180 being more complex.  This region contains some very dark filaments as well as a single spot.  11179 is unremarkable.  Finally, there is an AR that has rotated into view in the northeast near the equator that is fairly bright with a leading spot.

White Light 1625 UT
White light views of the sun provide the most detailed views of sunspots, and the sketch to the right reveals many spots in all of the active regions on the east half of the sun's disc.  While AR 11176 is the most complex as it was in hydrogen alpha, the as of yet unnumbered region in the northeast contains at least a half dozen spots.  As this region is still very close to the limb, it is a bit difficult to ascertain it's true extent.  The white light sketch was made with my TEC 140 refractor and a Lunt Solar Systems Herschel Wedge.

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