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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Solar Imaging 6/27/14

When I was young I had a 60mm refractor that came with a special "sun filter" which screwed into the eyepiece. I used to enjoy viewing the sunspots from time to time. Nothing else was really visible, just a green sun disk and sometimes a couple of sunspots. Still it was pretty cool to a 10 year old. Jumping forward a few decades.....two years ago at Cherry Springs, Pa., I had my first opportunity to view our Sun with a telescope designed for hydrogen alpha emissions. I was stunned by the large prominences and surface features this telescope revealed. I knew one day I'd have to own one of these......

 I have probably the most basic setup for solar imaging...... a Coronado PST coupled with my QHY5L-II mono.

Yesterday (6/27/14) I gathered a few videos of the sun which I processed into several images. This first is a 2 panel mosaic taken with the PST and QHY5L-II. On the right hand side can be seen 2 sunpots named 2096 & 2097. A large filament or prominence can be seen on the surface just below center of the image and several other prominences are on the left edge of the disk.

I added my barlow lens (which doubles the magnification) and took several more videos. 
Solar Surface
Sunspots 2097 & 2096 (top left)

My friend Gary Varney posted my image on facebook and created a very well written description......

Gary Varney on Facebook-"My friend Chuck Manges captured this stunning image of the Sun. When you look at a setting or rising Sun with your naked eye, or through a White Light Filter like I use, what you see is the bottom layer of the Sun's atmosphere called the photosphere. That's where you find bubbling granules of plasma and darker, cooler sunspots, which emerge when the sun's magnetic field breaks through the surface, and the magnetic activity reduces the surface temperature creating a dark area.... Sunspots usually appear as pairs, with each sunspot having the opposite magnetic pole to the other. The 3rd and outer layer is the corona, which is what you would see during a total eclipse. What Chuck's image also shows here is that middle layer called the chromosphere thanks to a Hydrogen Alpha filter. Light from the chromosphere is usually too weak to be seen against the brighter photosphere, so you need a Hydrogen Alpha filter to capture a specific layer of the spectrum. What you are seeing are the emission lines created when the electron of the hydrogen atom transitions from the n=3 to the n=2 energy level. Those lines dominate that layer of the spectrum and what a beautiful sight it makes. "