Monday, October 27, 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse

Last Thursday we witnessed a partial solar eclipse of the Sun- and for some reason this particular eclipse did not grab the attention of the media the way that the past few have.  It seemed that there were far more stories in the popular media for the lunar eclipse a couple weeks ago than for this event, despite the lunar eclipse happening in the middle of the night and the solar eclipse happening in mid-afternoon.  I was up at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter with my colleagues (we streamed the eclipse live) and took the opportunity to take some images of the eclipse of my own.

I was using my Stellarvue 90mm triplet refractor with a Lunt Solar Systems Herschel Prism and my Canon T2i.  All the images were taken at 1/4000 of a second, ISO 100 and were shot in raw format.  I was shooting at a very high shutter speed in order to try and minimize the effects of atmospheric turbulence in my images.  I later used photoshop to increase the exposure value and stretch the contrast of the images.  Overall, the seeing conditions ranged from good to spectacular during the first part of the eclipse, but as mid-eclipse approached the conditions deteriorated slightly.  Below are a few of the best images that I captured, and as always, click to enlarge.

Start of Eclipse

Sharpest of my images, quite happy with this one!

Near greatest eclipse

A nice view after maximum eclipse, atmosphere not as stable

EDIT: The large sunspot region on the face of the Sun during the eclipse, Active Region 12192, has produced (as of yesterday) 9 X-class flares and is obviously quite large.  "How large" you are wondering?...well the blog of the SDO mission has published an interesting post comparing AR 12192 to previous spots.  If you look at the graph they provide you will see that this is the largest spot region (by area) in the past two solar cycles!  They report that it is the 33rd largest on record, and within the top .01% of all spots.  Pretty impressive stuff!

We were rather lucky to have this spot during the eclipse, and even luckier that it was in the Sun's southern hemisphere and not eclipsed by the moon, making for some pretty pictures.  Looking forward to the August 2017 Total Eclipse!

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