Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10th Sun

Clouds are coming fast this morning at the Lost Pleiad Observatory.  Fortunately one of the benefits of having things set up semi-permanently is that mount, telescope, and camera are ready to go at a moments notice...just like I used to be.  After last nights marathon observing session which lasted until nearly 3 AM I had a bit late of a start for solar observing, however, seeing conditions still seemed slightly above average.  Generally, I find that the best atmospheric conditions for observing the Sun are between 90 and 120 minutes after Sunrise.  Some days the window lasts a bit longer, but it rarely starts earlier due to the low Sun angle.

The two images below were taken through my 90mm Stellarvue f/6.3 triplet with  Lunt Solar Systems Herschel Prism and a polarizing filter.  Naturally, the camera is the same one I have been playing with, the ASI120MC.  The images were taken without regard for the directional orientation of the Sun.  If you imagine the Sun as a clock face, South is actually at about 10 O'clock; however, I like the composition better with the spots at an angle and the large group at the upper right.  The midpoint of the exposure was at 11:05 AM MST (1805 UT).

The large spot group at upper right is NOAA Active Region (AR) 11890 which has been spewing out very strong X-class flares over the past few days.  Often individuals want to know the size of spots relative to the Earth- and in fact we could line up about 110 Earths across the approximately 1 million mile solar diameter.  So clearly the large spot within 11890 is much larger than the Earth.  In fact, AR 11893 which is the home of the second largest current spot group at lower left also contains a spot that is much larger than the Earth.  These spots (while still quite hot) are relatively cooler regions in the solar atmosphere which is why they appear darker.  They are areas of intense magnetic activity, however, and the sheer size of 11890 is an indication to keep an eye out for flaring activity.  The image below was taken with a 2x barlow lens immediately after the above image, at 11:13 MST (1813 UT).  Both of these images are stacks of approximately 500 of 1500 individual frames processed in the freeware program Registax and adjusted a little in Photoshop.  I am pretty unhappy with the processing, but that is what staying up late will do to me the next morning....

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