Sunday, September 10, 2006
Observing the Sun in different wavelenghts
Yesterday I observed some interesting active regions on the Sun, especially AR 908. I used the 4-inch refractor and the Baader Herschel Wedge (with the Baader Continuum and ND 3.0 filters) for "white light"? observing and the Coronado PST for the H-Alpha line.

I tried different eyepieces with the 4-inch TAL: the Vixen LV's, the Zeiss vario zoom-eyepiece and a 32mm Televue Plossl. The best overall view I got was from the 32mm Plossl. At a magnification of 30x the granulation was at its best, even better than in the Zeiss zoom. I noticed that the granulation gradually fades away with increasing magnification. I also compared the Zeiss zoom eyepiece (25-10mm) with the Vixen LV's (20, 15, 12, 10, 9, 7 and 5mm). Although the views through the high quality Zeiss zoom were slightly sharper and clearer than through the Vixen LV's, I still prefer the LV's for their great eye-relief of 20mm. With the Coronado PST I only used the 15mm LV. This eyepiece showed me the most pleasant view, and higher magnifications added almost nothing.

The visual impression you get from Sunspots with the Baader Herschel Wedge and the 4-inch refractor is hard to describe. No image I shoot comes near the sharp and detailed view I get live at the eyepiece, but I always shoot a few images to document the observing session in my observing log. The image below was shot with the Nikon Coolpix mounted on the Herschel Wedge using the 32mm Televue Plossl. The camera settings were 100 ISO, f 5.1, 1/125s and 4x optical zoom.

Click to enlarge!

In the centre of the image you see the active region 908. The more or less pear-shaped group has an area with a few umbra’s that seem to form one large umbra in the form of a cloverleaf. To the left of this almost circular feature lie several smaller dark umbra-like areas, divided by one or two light-bridges, I detected at a magnification of 100 times. The whole group is surrounded by a penumbra, which is also breached by the Lightbridge’s. The Lightbridge’s are not very clear on the image, but visually they where absolutely visible, as where the inner and outer bright ring around some parts of the umbra / penumbra. There where no faculae around AR 908 or on any other part of the Sun.

In H-alpha, the darker umbra’s where very easy to see, but I detected no bright patches in the AR 908 area (plages or flares). I did see two large bright areas around AR 907 and AR 909 (the two smaal groups towards the right edge of the image). Between 907 and 908 I detected a long, snakelike bright area. There where only a few smaller prominences visible. Between AR 908 and the edge of the solar disk I detected two dark filaments.
Posted by Math on 09/10 at 02:47 PM | (6) Comments | filed in: Solar log | Print