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August 4th Solar Sunday 2013

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

Counting The Spots:

Today the International Sunspot Number (SN) was 76 based on 24 stations whie NOAA’s, which always rings in higher, was 104.

Carl Reisinger had a beautiful duel scope setup today with one housing a Baader Herschel Wedge and green filter and the other holding Seymour front end filter. We counted the centered 4 major sunspot groups plus 17 sunspots – giving a SN of 57.

Madhusudan (Left) and Carl (Right) chatting next to his cool duel setup. It tracks the sun allowing one to up scope magnification to count sunspots and get very good views up the penumbra around sunspot centers. Nice areas of Plage (active regions) were seen today.

If we included the group at the edge (see below image) than our SN woud have been 67. If we correct this count for using a 4-inch scope and account for weather (predominately thermals) than we get a SN number nearly spot on with the International Sunspot Number. Unlike NOAA’s count, The International SN stays true to the historical data and method invented by Rudalf Wolf to log daily SN:

SN = k [10 x Total # sunspot groups + Total # of spots]

 Today’s (August 4th) Sunspots click to enlarge!

Today’s Sun in H-Alpha – click to enlarge!

Gabre Gessesse hung out with us today and as usual, we had a nice crowd of folks and families who stopped by:

Stellar Cheers!

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Solar Row + Cal K

Solar Scope Row and Calcium K!
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

Lots of Solar Scopes lined up today at Houge Park and with superb variety! We were treated to live screen captures of the sun in Calcium K band by Carl Reisinger. And Robert Duvall (baseball cap below pic) brought his Standard Filtered Dob stacked with an H-Alpha finder (yuk yuk). High resolution shots of the above are below so read on.

Click Photo to Enlarge

Next to Robert in the above pic is a bloke visiting from Malaysia. He spent the whole afternoon looking through this row of high tech equipment and was gobsmacked. In his home country, he has two telescopes and is well known for his efforts to share the wonders of the sky.

Two fine solar scopes: Coronado PST and JMI Binocular.
Below is today’s sun at a glance courtesy of Robert Duvall. 2 Large Sunspot groups and two smaller active regions resulted in a sunspot count of 60. The Largest group had a fantastic Penumbra network surrounding the inner umbra. Paul’s 8 inch SCT which he set up later showed this network beautifully as did Michael Swartz’s 100mm Stellarvue with green continuum filter and Binocular. And here is Robert’s images through his equipment. Make sure you see the large rendition by clicking on image.
Click Photo to Enlarge
And below is a pic of Carl Reisinger and Calcium K Setup. The image to the left is a totally raw image. Note the extensive and hot plage (white) network that this filter easily picks up. This plage is actually a better indicator of how active the sun is and can point to areas where sunspots may form. Click the Pic!
  Click Photo to Enlarge
Below pic of Michael Swartz at his cool duel refactor setup. Both refractors have binoviewers making this setup one of the best observing stations on the row. The binoculars radically improve the noted resolution (as you are using both eyes). The continuum filtered view compares well with Paul’s filtered 8-inch SCT while Michael’s bino H-Alpha yields 3D like views. Both images seen through this duel setup are crazy beautiful.
Below is a pic of Bill O’Niel looking through Michael’s setup. Bill brought his 5-inch SCT which is a very portable scope that gives very satisfying details of larger spots like we had today. Aperture rules when viewing sunspots and so, unless you have a bino’ed refactor, you will want at least a 5-inch scope to see penumbra network detail.

Stellar Cheers and Mag -26.74 skies, Michael Packer

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Second Peak!

Today’s Sun Spot Count 212 (NOAA

Today’s Sunspot Number beats the peak average at the last cycle. And it is a must check out! Even in an 80mm with standard solar filter. Note that the last Solar Max was a double peak and our current Max is also a double peak. See graph below. Also lots of CME’s right now see last report at bottom of this blog.

Click Image To Enlarge

Solar Viewing at Houge Park on Sunday 5/5, by Michael Swartz 

I really didn’t like the way the sky looked. I was temped to not go. But as I saw the sun peak through now and then, I just couldn’t resist. So I finished up my honey-do’s and made it to the park. Michael Packer was already there, all alone. I backed in next to his car, got out, had a couple views though his set up, and figured I might as well get set up my gear too. Before I was finished we had attracted a crowd of 8-10 people.

He got into a really interesting discussion about super novas with some people while I was helping a father and son get some quick views.

The sky was pretty cloudy but as the clouds slowly moved across the sky the sun would peak through for a few minutes here and there. We mostly sat and talked. However, the views we did get now and then were really good, and even though it was fairly windy, the scopes performed pretty well. There was a large gnarley spot group, plenty of surface activity, lots of dramatic swirly flows of plasma, nice filaments, some pretty prominences.

I had hoped for better weather but I am glad I went. I think we had a good time.

These Sunday afternoon solar viewing gatherings at Houge Park are fun. I usually bring my kids who enjoy the playgrounds in the park, ride their ripsticks or play ball. Maybe next time I’ll bring some picnic stuff and stay longer.

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

INFO FROM SIDC – RWC BELGIUM 2013 May 17 12:57:52 Two M-class flares in past 24h, both from NOAA AR 1748. The first one occurred on May 16 at 21:53 UT, with intensity M1.3. The second flare was an M3.2 and peaked at 08:57 UT on May 17. This AR has still potential for producing X class flares. It maintains its beta-gamma-delta magnetic configuration, even though some fragmentation is seen in the trailing region and there are some indications that polarities are separating within the delta spot penumbra. The M3.2 flare of today was related to radio bursts and a CME. SWAP detected clear dimmings and an EIT wave around NOAA AR1748. There are no LACO data available yet, but a CME is indeed seen in STEREO COR2 data, it can be Earth directed. The speed in COR2-B is calculated to be 1300 km/s, making a possible arrival to the Earth on May 19 around noon. Protons levels (10MeV) are still above threshold, stable around 3 protons/cm2-s-sr.Geomagnetic conditions have been unsettled to active, due to long lasting periods of slow solar wind with sustained mild negative Bz (around -5nT). These are not related to the arrival of the CME of May 15, which is still not visible in ACE data, and may still arrive later today and produce storm levels (estimated max K = 6). As a reminder, this series of CMEs related to AR 1748 had a source region within 30 degrees of the solar limb, which reduces their possibility of arrival to the Earth to around 30%.

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Cupertino’s Earth Day

Cloudy Day At Earth Day Still Saw The Sun

From 11 to 3:30 we had about four 10-20 minute viewing sessions where we offered the public good views of a very active Sun. With Isaac and Hiedi’s H-alpha/Standard solar setups, Bill’s scope and SJAA’s we got a lot of people their first look ever at a massive sun spot plus several smaller ones and above average prominences (prototypical looper) around the solar disk. We had lines of people during these sunshine times. I probably got ~40 people views in 10 minutes ~ 15 seconds per person. During the time of clouds we talked to numerous interested folks or with interested kids the perfect age 9+/- and handed out all of our brochures. We also handed out a decent number of pamphlets on preserving our starry night sky from the International Dark-Sky Association.

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

Isaac showing our nearest star to folks with his duel scope set-up
 Michael Showing H-Alpha Sun with the camera crew taking notice
  How the sun looked: Standard Filter and H-Alpha
Click to Enlarge!
 Cloudy bouts allowed for great astro conversations
 Young and old got great views when the sun was out
 Great shot of SJJA’s dedicated volunteer Bill O‘Neil
 Volunteers Michael Heidi Bill and Isaac – Thanks All!
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Solar Sunday Report Feb 10th

Solar Sunday Report February 10th,  2013

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

A beautiful California day provided a good crowd and fun viewing of the solar disk. Malika’s projector showed the major sunspots. And Michael Swartz’s dual refractor set up (Neutral density and H-alpha – both with binoculars simultaneously displayed the sunspot and prominences in great detail.

Photo courtesy of Jag Sonti

With the Rotation of a new spot into field of view the Sunspot Count Jumped to the 40’s and solar viewers got to see the Wilson Effect – See below images.

Click Image For Larger View!


We have another Solar Observing Day this month on Feb 24th and as usual 1st Sunday March 3.  Come on out. (Folks with solar setups and scopes are provided with water.)

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