The Sun, our nearest star


Solar Activity

The data displayed in the graph below show mean monthly sunspot Active Area counts based purely on my own observations using 20cm aperture
telescopes. Cycle 23 had two peaks, the first in mid-2000 and the second at the end of 2001. The first high latitude sunspot group of Cycle 24
appeared on 4.1.08, and I was able to image it the following day. The deepest minimum of solar activity for about a century was broken when
Cycle 24 finally kicked in towards the end of 2009. Cycle 24 has proven to be the weakest for about a century, but there has still been plenty to image and enjoy! Now the decline to solar minimum is well and truly underway, it may be qite a few years before there is much to image.



Microsoft Excel Worksheet




  Click on the photo for Aurora Gallery

Above left: Aurora Borealis 15th July 2000   Above right: sunspot group that caused the aurora as seen on 13th July 2000.

Click here for drawings made by Galileo of sunspots: http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/observations/sunspot_drawings.html





Sun 2013-14                    Sun 2012                   Sun pre 2012





11.09.16   11:57 UTC
Beautiful quiescent 'tree like' prominence
Coronado SM40 single stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter


The Transit of Mercury: 9th May 2016

Substantial amounts of cloud on the 9th May plus having to wait until the end of the working day meant that prospects of seeing this event were
rather slimmer than I would have liked. Nevertheless I hurried up the lane with a colleague and friend from work, Dave, who had an ambition to
see the planet Mercury. Fortunately a break in the cloud on arrival home meant we got a lovely view both in white light with the 20cm Meade and
in H-alpha with the 40mm Coronado double stacked filter. Mercury looked like a black marble suspended in front of the mighty disk of the Sun.

Having achieved the principal goal, there looked like a chance of grabbing a few images before the clouds would inevitably end procedings.
I rushed to set up the necessary gear and managed a few brief video clips in H-alpha before the clouds spoiled attempts to get some white light
images. There was always some hazy cloud, so the images were not as well defined as I should have ideally liked.




09.05.16   16:13 UTC
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter; drizzled x1.5







09.05.16   16:13:30 UTC
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter









09.05.16   16:15 UTC
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter; drizzled x1.5









09.05.16   16:22 UTC
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter; drizzled x1.5




The Sun in 2015




Naked-eye sunspot group, AR 2403 with granulation in brief
gap between clouds (rushed!)
Area = 930 micro hemispheres at 0h; 1190 at 24h

25.08.15   10:13 UTC
20cm Meade LX200 SCT f = 2000mm.
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter









Naked-eye sunspot group, AR 2396 with granulation
Area = 710 micro hemispheres at 0h and 800 at 24h

08.08.15   09:43 UTC
20cm Meade LX200 SCT f = 2000mm.
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter; drizzled x1.5









01.08.15   13:41 UTC
Substantial prominence
Coronado SM40 single stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter








21.06.15   17:26 UTC
20cm Meade LX200 SCT with x2 Celestron Ultima Barlow lens
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter.






Naked-eye sunspot group, AR 2371 with granulation
Area = 1120 micro hemispheres at 0h and 1180 at 24h

21.06.15   17:12 UTC above 17:04 UTC below
20cm Meade LX200 SCT f = 2000mm.
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter.








Heralding the emergence of AR 2371 at the E.limb with bright chromospheric plasma

15.06.15   18:47 UTC above and 18:45 UTC below
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter








AR 2339 at W. limb

17.05.15   09:33 UTC
20cm Meade LX200 SCT f = 2000mm.
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter.









AR 2346 and AR 2344 with granulation

17.05.15   09:50 UTC
20cm Meade LX200 SCT f = 2000mm.
Flea 3 CCD; Baader ND 3.8 astrosolar film; Baader solar continuum filter; Baader UV/IR
rejection filter.








    

12.05.15   17:02 UTC
Nice prominences
Coronado SM40 single stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter









12.05.15   17:06 UTC
Lots of chromospheric detail
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter






10.05.15   10:21 UTC
Lots of chromospheric activity
Coronado SM40 double stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter





10.05.15
Naked eye sunspot group AR 2339 dominates the scene
Mozaic of images with Orion 80mm ED apo refractor f = 600mm;
FLEA 3 CCD, Baader astrosolar film, Baader Solar Continuum filter, Baader UV/IR rejection filter









12.05.15
AR 2339 still dominates the scene
Mozaic of images with Orion 80mm ED apo refractor f = 600mm;
FLEA 3 CCD, Baader astrosolar film, Baader Solar Continuum filter, Baader UV/IR rejection filter






The solar eclipse of 20th March 2015

This was a beautiful eclipse, made all the more atmospheric by the ever changing clouds.


  08:38 UTC



  08:38 UTC




  08:39 UTC








    08:45 UTC







  08:45 UTC







  08:49 UTC








  09:06 UTC

  09:07 UTC

  09:30 UTC

  09:31 UTC
                                                                                                                                                               Mid-eclipse: 88% of the Sun covered by the Moon.

  09:32 UTC





 09:34 UTC





  09:36 UTC







 09:37 UTC





 09:38 UTC   10:11 UTC







 10:32 UTC



  10:33 UTC

  10:43 UTC



All of the images taken whilst teaching using a modified Canon EOS 450D DSLR, 300mm lens @ F32 and
Baader Astrosolar film when necessary.









Various images of a 1 million km long dark filament on the Sun




    


08.02.15  11:24 - 11:34 UTC































11.01.15   11:15 UTC
A nice 'tree-like' prominence
Coronado SM40 single stack filter on Orion ED f=600mm refractor
PGR Flea 3 CCD; Baader UV/IR rejection filter