Thursday, September 7, 2017

More Solar Activity

During the total eclipse last month, the sun sported two active regions AR2671 and AR2672. These gave added interest to the partial phase images and, conveniently, gave something detailed to focus the cameras on.

This week, the sun is putting on a great show, especially given the fact that we at a solar minimum right now. The active region AR2673 grew from a single spot to a large naked eye complex and emitted a X2.2 class solar flare at 09:10 UTC and X9.3 class solar flare at 12:02 UTC, Sept 6. A coronal mass ejection (CME) was emitted towards earth and should produce lower latitude auroras and has caused radio interference. Sky and Telescope has a nice article.

I pulled the solar filters out this morning and took some white light images. Too bad, I have not yet put my H-alpha scope back into working order.  I brought a pair of solar-filtered binoculars to the office to share the view of the big sunspots with my colleagues. In addition to AR2673, another region AR2674 is also very prominent visually if not violently.

A cropped view shows the two regions more clearly. Amazing to consider that the AR2673 region itself is about 8 earth diameters across.

Image taken with Canon 7D MkII (ISO-100, 1/400s), Canon 100-400mm f/5.6 and 1.4x Extender II (560mm f/8), Baader solar filter. White light images colorized in Photoshop to enhance contrast.

After 24 hours, the active regions have rotated nearly to the limb. The shapes have changed slightly but not dissipated.

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