Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back to the drawing board

My life has been super busy-  In addition to a new job, I have a new telescope(yipee) and next week is my sons Bar Mitzvah for which he has been studying for a year...but that is fodder for another post or three when I get the chance. This morning we have the clearest skies we have had in about a week and I decided that before I did any of the 100 things I need to get done today that I was going to make a sketch of the Sun.  I love solar observing and sketching what I see and somehow we are mid-way through February and I had only managed three solar sketches this year! Finally, I present number four!

Click to enlarge
My sketch was completed at 1640 UT (9:40 MST) under clear skies, with average transparency.  There does seem to be a bit of humidity in the air as evidenced by the whitish color of our sky (typically our skies are a picturesque blue), as well as the water dripping off of the roof.  Regardless, the skies were still better than average and I was able to see much more detail that I could reasonably sketch.  Believe it or not, the infrequency of my sketching has also left me a bit out of this took a bit longer than usual and I am not quite as thrilled with the detail on paper.  The Sun was at an altitude of approximately 29 degrees, and an azimuth of approximately 129 degrees.

There are not many active regions on the face with AR 11420 quite near the meridian and containing a dark spot.  Just above this AR 11419 contains two smaller spots and is somewhat brighter.  To the east of these regions is a bright plage region that may be developing as evidenced by a strong dark filament within.  11418 near the SW limb is unremarkable.  Perhaps the most interesting feature of the day is the beautiful "filaprom" on the SE limb.  I do not know if this is the technical name, but this feature was very much 3D in my telescope as the filament and prominence were very clearly connected.

Below is a comparison image from the Big Bear Solar Observatory from 1659 UT, about 20 minutes following my sketch.  Big Bear maintains a very nice webpage of recent images.

Click to enlarge

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