The weather the past few days has been frustrating here at my observatory...very clear skies day and night, with winds gusting on and off to 20 mph. I am off work this week, and with lots of dark time I have been looking forward to spending some serious observing time with my new (to me) C 11 Edge HD (News Flash!!). Even though I have already first lighted the telescope, the winds have been driving me crazy!
The winds died down, finally, very early this morning and when I went outside to check on conditions for Solar observing saw that high cirrus were beginning to form as a predicted front moves in. As many observers know, sometimes a very thin layer of cirrus clouds can provide favorable observing conditions for bright targets such as the Sun (or Jupiter)- I set up my Stellarvue 90mm triplet with Lunt Herschel Prism and sure enough the views of the Sun were quite stable. While there is virtually no activity in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere had numerous spots stretching in a band within 15 degrees of the equator. At left is a white light image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory taken this morning. Clicking on the image will bring it up full size and includes the NOAA active region numbers within which the current sunspots exist. In addition, there is a scale at lower right to provide a sense of the size of spots relative to the Earth and Jupiter.
Below, is an image I took this morning using my ASI120MC camera. It is a stack of about 600 individual frames from an avi of 1200. Considering this was taken through a layer of cirrus, the results are quite nice and compare favorably to the SDO image. North is up, and west is to the right. Click the image to enlarge.