Today the sun was quite the treat to look at, and it was my first solar observation of 2014. The sun had a whole host of sunspots on it; 2111, 2106, 2102, 2100, 2109, 2108, 2110, 2107, 2104, and 2112.
The sun today had a nice arrangement of sunspots, with sunspot 1711 being the larges one near center in the image below, and some more coming around the limb of the sun. Sunspots seem relatively quiet, and a geomagnetic storm is only estimated at 15%-20% on April 6-7, so I’m not expecting much, if any, aurora activity to be seen from the low latitudes of the Adirondacks.
105 images stacked in Registax 5 and a little bit of cropping and processing in Photoshop.
I love a nice clear day with no clouds in the sky, it usually means I can drag the telescope and the solar filter out for some solar observing. This is especially nice when it happens on a weekend, so that I can just go out on the back deck before the sun gets behind one of the many trees in the yard.
Doing these weekly images is a lot of fun, especially now that I have a way to magnify on a specific sunspot using my DSLR. Just like last week there is a big sunspot coming around the southeastern limb of the sun, sunspot 1520 with small sunspot 1519 right next to it. Above those two is a small, not very visible, sunspot 1518, and 1514, and 1513 turning away from the Earth’s view.
Sunspot 1520 is the big sunspot spanning a distance of 127000 km (you can fit 10 Earths inside of this sunspot) from end to end. This sunspot harbors the energy for M-class flares, so I’ll be watching for the possibilities as the week goes on, and maybe we’ll get a chance for auroras here in the Adirondacks. NOAA estimates an 80% chance of M-flares in the next 24 hours although so far 1520 has only produced the lesser C-flares.
All images taken with the Omni XLT 150 and Canon 350D. Full disk sun is 195 images stacked in Registax and post processed in Photoshop. Closeup of sunspot 1520 is 65 images using an Orion Variable Camera Adapter eyepiece projector giving me a magnification of roughly 183x.
The strongest Solar Radiation Storm since May of 2005 is under way. The sun unleashed a powerful M9-class solar flare from sunspot 1402 on January 22nd around 11:00pm EST, and the flare is heading towards Earth.