Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photon Phix

Click to enlarge
First time since November 5th that I've been able to observe and sketch the Sun- Life has been busy and the few chances I have had to observe at all have been quick looks at Jupiter in the evenings.  I am a fairly dedicated solar observer so I was excited to have time on my hands this morning to get my photon fix.  At 8:30 AM the sky was partly cloudy and it looked like I would have enough of a clearing to observe and sketch the Sun.  Turns out I was being fairly optimistic as it took me about an hour and a half to make the sketch due to passing clouds.  At one point I had to take a solid 20 minute break from sketching.

Seeing was fairly poor overall between passing clouds and the mostly unsteady air overhead- perhaps a 1 or 2 out of 5.  The sketch was completed at 1721 UT (10:21 MST) using my Lunt Solar Systems 60mm pressure tuned hydrogen alpha telescope.  During the time of my sketch, active region 11354 near the eastern limb exhibited a mild flare.  I do not know what time the flare started or ended due to the clouds but I noticed it at approximately 1645 UT.  While there are several numbered active regions on the face of the Sun right now, none of them were that remarkable.  The complex of three regions rounding the northeast limb are enticing and perhaps the next several days will see some nice activity.  The large filaments in the east are quite dark, which indicates that they are much cooler "waves" in the surrounding sea of plasma.

For comparison purposes, below are images taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly.  The image at left was captured at 1727 UT and the image at right captured at 1722 UT, essentially the same time as my sketch.  I have flipped the SDO images horizontally to match the orientation of my sketch with west at left.

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