Thursday, May 30, 2013

Saturn and Venus, May 29, 2013

I went out this evening to see if I could see the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. Predictably, there was cloud on the horizon, blocking Jupiter.  I could see Venus, but I assumed that Mercury would be lower in the sky.  This assumption was incorrect and I could have seen and imaged Mercury if my preparation had been a little better (lesson learned!). Atmospheric instability made focus almost impossible, but I did capture an image.  As you can see, Venus exhibits almost no phase at this time as it is on the other side of the sun from us. Mercury would show around a 60% phase at this time--I wish I had imaged it! I did also manage to get some images of Saturn.  These were taken with the ETX 125 without barlow.  The captures were originally at 1280x720; 1000 frames with the best 200 stacked and processed.  This image is heavily cropped, hence the pixelation.  Color balance was hard to achieve in processing, so there is a sight pinkish/magenta tint.  Seeing was average/poor. Again, the ETX shows why it is such a good little scope. Compare with the June 29 image taken last year under excellent conditions at Cape Cod, and it's obvious how important seeing conditions are.

Venus--it was hard to avoid over-exposure.  Even this dim image shows signs of "blown" white in the center

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today's Mosaic and Prominence Pix, May 29, 2013

Managed a partial mosaic through cloudy intervals.  The individual images looks as if they will stitch into a mosaic quite well, but none of my stitching software will render a complete mosaic. As usual, these are captured with a LifeCam at 640x480, stacked and processed in Registax 5 and 6. The best 80 frames of a 400 frame capture are selected for each image. 5 frames are used to make the final mosaic (using ICE).

In addition, here are a couple of enlarged and reprocessed pix of edge prominences:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lunar Imaging--ETX 125 May 19, 2013

Here is an image captured in poor seeing last night.  Main features are marked in the image.  Taken with ETX 125 (no barlow) and LifeCam.  1000 frames captured. 200 stacked and processed in Registax 5.1 and 6.  Final adjustments and cropping in Photoshop.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Today's Mosaic and Closeup of AR1748, May 19, 2013

Imaging conditions were fairly good today. AR1748 continues to look bright and capable of producing X-Class flares, although it has been relatively quiet since torching off three flares in 24 hours earlier in the week. Today's mosaic is below:

Here is a closeup of A1748 and environs. AR1748 is the bright area above and to the right of center.

Finally, here is a zoomed area of AR1748, showing the complexity of the spot. Note the dark filament bridging the two bright core:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Today's Mosaic (May 14, 2013)

The sun seems rather quieter today than yesterday. However, there are a number of active areas that could flare at any time. The bright spot at the 3 o'clock position is AR1748, which has released three X-Class flares in the last 24 hours.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mosaic for May 13, 2013

Not the best mosaic, but it gives a good idea of how active our sun is right now.  There were two X-Class flares today! The small prominence in the 5 o'clock position is the site of the eruption in my post earlier today.

An Astonishing Eruption on the Sun (May 13, 2013)

This is just a quick "record" image.  I'll try to get some better images later, but I wanted to get his posted.  This is an incredible eruption! The image shows what seems to be a coronal mass ejection (CME) from AR1748, which went on to fire 3 X-Class flares in 24 hours!


Original Processed Image

By the time I gout back to the scope--10 mins later--it was gone. Below is the 1000 frame AVI I captured--excuse the jerkiness--my tracing is manual.

On the other side of the sun was this lovely loop:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spectacular Mother's Day Prominence May 12, 2013

There is some spectacular prominence activity on the sun today.  The image above was captured with the PST without the DS filter.

Below is an overexposed, inverted image of another prominence. Connecting loops of plasma twisting in the sun's magnetic field are clearly visible.

The mosiac below was also captured today. It's a little disappointing because I forgot I had tuned the filters for prominences, not surface detail. The disk looks rather featureless and the sunspots are dark, rather than the bright patches they show when the filter is correctly tuned (images below were all taken in DS mode).

The detuned filter did allow me to image sunspots looking similar to the way they look in white light, but with some H-Alpha features, too.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Inverted Sun

It's amazing how much detail image inversion brings out.  Here's a reprocessed version of the pic I posted last week.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fame at Last!

I submitted a pic to the UK Sky at Night website, and was surprised to see it on the front page.  I'm not sure how long it will stay there; maybe it is literally 15 minutes of fame!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Sun on May Day, 2013

Our local star is looking very active today, with multiple active areas. AR1730, to the center of the disk, and AR1731, to the right and below it, have the potential to erupt with X-Class flares.

Here's a closeup of that prominence at the 9 o'clock position on the image above:

Finally--here's a more "pumped up" version of the original image:

The sun on April 30.

The pix below were taken yesterday and show among others, AR1734 and AR1731.  Although I took a number of shots, I was unable to get any of my packages to build a panorama.  Sometimes, I feel as if I'm taking steps backward, rather than forward!