Saturday, October 8, 2011

Solar sketch October 8th

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A tremendous amount of activity on the Sun this morning, in terms of active regions and prominences.  We are having a cold spell with temperatures in Tucson lower than those in Minneapolis due to the jet stream residing overhead.  This is very unusual weather down here for early October and it has resulted in some poor atmospheric stability.  I completed the sketch at left at 1547 UT (8:47 AM local time) with my Lunt Solar Systems 60mm dedicated hydrogen alpha pressure tuned telescope.  Most unusual is the faint, expansive prominence off the east limb that appears to he lifting away from the Sun.  There were two distinct brighter knots in this arc of plasma.  Hopefully, some of the accomplished solar imagers around the world will post photos of this event soon.

Active regions 11309 and 11312 in the northern hemisphere both contain dark spots, and it appears that there is another active region rounding the northeast limb.  The southern hemisphere is awash with activity, although much of the plage regions are faint and the poor seeing conditions made visual observation challenging.  Region 11311 in the southwest contains a spot, as does region 11308 (or maybe it is 11310, I am having trouble figuring out which regions are which this morning...).  In the southeast, active region 11313 is the most dynamic of the regions with bright plage and what appears to be some bi-polar activity.  There are spots in the east and west ends of the region, along with some dark fibrils arcing between them.  There is an additional region of plage in the southern hemisphere, on the meridian, which is as of yet unnumbered.  Below are comparison images from Big Bear Solar Observatory at left (taken at 1556 UT) and from the Solar Dynamics Observatory at right (taken at 1539 UT).  Note that the image from SDO captures the massive prominence on the east limb beautifully.  Look closely at the Big Bear image and you can see that the prominence is ghostly just on the extreme edge of the field of view.

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