Monday, March 5, 2012

The Sun

I think I've gotten most of the kinks worked out of my solar imaging setup. Now I'm starting to learn how to take pictures with the Coronado PST and Meade Deep Sky Imager (DSI). I mentioned in my previous article that there was a lost of dust in the optical path. It turned out that the majority of it was in the camera, so it was easy to clean up.

There was a lot to see on the Sun today. Sunspot AR1429, which emerged this past Friday, unleashed a massive X-class solar flare late on March 4th, local time. The sunspot is visible in this image in the upper-right. Sunspot region 1428 is in the lower-right.

AR1429, upper-right; Sunspot region 1428, lower-right
Below is a more detailed view of the sunspots in AR1429. This image was generated using a different setting on the PST's filter tuner. This setting seems to filter out a lot of the finer details that are normally seen in Ha.

AR1429, left; Sunspot region 1430, right

This image is a little further "down" from the two above, and shows a solar prominence in the lower-left. Solar prominences are clouds of gas that are suspended above the Sun's surface by magnetic fields.

Sunspot region 1428, upper-right; A solar prominence, lower-left
Sunspot region 1423 is visible on the right side of this image. The dark streaks across the surface are called filaments. Filaments are the same as prominences, only seen from above. Another, smaller, prominence is located in the upper-right.

Sunspot region 1423, middle-right; Prominence, upper-right; Solar filaments
I have a lot of things that I want to try, time and weather permitting, before the Venus Transit on June 5th.


  1. Yes, thanks for the yellow color, which is very nice. These are very cool! That big spot looks so much more menacing in this bandwidth. I'm glad you are working with the DSI, too. It's a great little camera I've used for years.

    1. Using the 2X Barlow was the key. At first I wasn't sure if it was going to give any worthwhile pictures because of the dirt on the chip. Fortunately, the chip was fairly easy to clean. I'm still learning to use the software, though, and will continue experimenting with the filter tuner. Also, I'm going to try to get a solar filter for my ST80 and try taking shots with the DSLR.

  2. I added another image of AR1429 that shows a little more detail in the sunspots.

  3. I like it. It's nice detail. You are going to be ready for the transit!