Observe The Sun Safely – Never look at the Sun without a proper filter!
Solar Programs are held 1st Sunday of every Month 2:00-4:00 PM at Houge Park weather permitting
Our new Solar Program is seeing a great mix of new astronomers, solar observing regulars and families walking by to see “what’s-up”:
Our beautiful star Sol is what’s up! Last month we had a terrific sunspot count of 70 and one decent sized prominence. Today we had a sunspot count of around 50 with huge prominences positioned at 3, 5 and 8 o’clock around the solar disk. 3 o’clock was a spectacular double loop prominence where magnetic field lines loop plasma right back to the Sun’s surface. It roughly had the shape of a weeping willow tree. At 9 o’clock we had an emission that looked like a sloop, a sailboat with a head and main sail… Or it looked like a giant nose in profile depending on who you talk too. At 5 o’clock we had 5 prominences all larger than the size of the Earth by several times. Also a classic Earth sized sunspot with a well defined penumbra was seen in the same field of view.
Prominences (A) are small plasma flares. The ones we saw today were 2-3 times the size of Earth. Sunspots (B) appear dark because they are cooler relative to their surround. They usually come in pairs (two together) and are typically twice the size of Earth. The one we saw today at 5’oclock was isolated and about 1.5x bigger than Earth.
Now running side-by-side with Solar Observing is SJAA’s new Scope Tune-up Program (thanks to people like Dave Ittner). Got a scope you need help with? Bring it on by! And binoculars like the ones below can be fitted with solar filters to safely view the sun.
Log your own Sunspot Number (Part 2 of 2) will be posted in a couple of days. Check out the March Solar Program blog for Part 1.