Solar Image – 04-06-13

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.

Sunspots: 1708, 1710, 1711, 1713, 1714, 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, 1719

105 images stacked in Registax 5 and a little bit of cropping and processing in Photoshop.

Weekly Solar Image 7-8-12

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.

Sunspots 1513, 1514, 1518, 1519, 1520

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.

Sunspots 1520 and 1519

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.

Weekly Solar Image 5-28-12

Today we had some clear skies for a while and I decided to get out with the solar filter again and grab a few images. Below is an image of the sun taken with a white light solar filter, canon 350D, and an Omni XLT 150. The sun isn’t highly active at the moment, and there is a small chance of any solar flares, or aurora. Sunspot 1492 did blast off a CME towards Mars on May 27th, but no signs of anything coming our way.
From Left to Right; Sunspots 1492, 1490, 1488, 1486. 5-28-12. Click to enlarge.
Notice in certain areas how you can see lighter sections of the sun around the sunspots. They were very hard to see through the eyepiece, but definitely became more visible after taking images and uploading them onto the computer.
This is 60 images stacked and edited in Registax. I adjusted the sun to be angled roughly the way it would be from the ground in Gimp.
Unfortunately clouds came rolling in shortly after I took these images. I was watching the clouds slowly cover the sun through the telescope. It was quite an interesting sight to see. Hoping for clear skies in the not too distant future. Especially for the Venus Transit on June 5th. I’ll post more about that a few days before as a reminder.

Powerful M9-Class Solar Flare Heading Towards Earth

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.

Latest GOES-15 Image.
M9-Class Solar Flare from NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A computer model by the NOAA predicts the Coronal Mass Ejection will reach Earth by around 9:00am EST (+/- 7 hours) traveling at a speed of approximately 1,367 miles per second.
Solar Wind Prediction from NOAAs Space Weather Prediction Center.
These kind of storms can affect satellites in geosynchronous, polar and other orbits. Sky watchers in higher than normal latitudes should be on the lookout for aurora. If you have clear skies, this may be a great chance to get out and see the aurora for yourself. Looking at the weather predictions for Plattsburgh, NY it’s looking like we’re clouded in the next few nights, so there is a very slim chance I will get to see it.