AR 2565 et al

The solar activity is waning, but the sun still manage to produce some nice spots. Like these ones.

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AR 2565 (to the left) and AR 2567. Sketched 18 July 2016, UT 14:00, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 4-5/5.
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AR 2565 (to the left) and AR 2567. Sketched 20 July 2016, UT 13:10, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 3-4/5.
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The Mercury transit 9 May 2016

I haven’t been able to use my telescopes for a couple of months, but the Mercury transit couldn’t be missed. Back home after work I set up and began observations at 15:00 UT. I was treated with a clear blue sky and acceptable seeing. For the observation I used my trusted 10″ SkyWatcher dobsonian, masked down to 4″, and a 17 mm Baader Hyperion eyepiece (for 70x). I followed the transit for about an hour and a half. By that time the sun had dropped towards the horizon and the seeing deteriorated.

Times as indicated on the sketch. Subtract 2 hours for UT.

Not as impressive as the Venus transit a couple of years ago, I still found the slow progress of Mercury over the face of the sun fascinating to observe. The planet was small, very distinct (of course), and nicely framed by to sunspot groups: AR2542 the larger group at the bottom and AR2543 close to the center of the solar disc. The direction of Mercury’s movement was difficult to pinpoint, and might be a bit off.

I also tried to capture the event with my (handheld) cell phone. Below is the best of several tries.

Mercury
The Mercury transit captured with a handheld Samsung cellphone.

AR 2403

During the last couple of days a new giant sunspot group has slowly marched across the sun. So far I have managed to make two sketches. The group has increased both in size and complexity over the days, and I have found it quite challenging to sketch.

The sketches below has been rotated to match the images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Sketched 22 August 2015, UT 08:00, using a SkyWatcher 10", masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 4/5. (The circle to the right represents the size of the earth.)
Sketched 22 August 2015, UT 08:00, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 4/5. (The circle on top approximately represents the size of the earth.)
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Image: SOHO/HMI
IMG_0010
Sketched 23 August 2015, UT 13:30, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 3-4/5.
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Image: SOHO/HMI.

AR 2396

The behemoth sunspot AR 2396 is slowly moving across the solar disc, arousing both sketchers and astro-photographers. So far I have managed to sketch it twice, and even if I find it difficult to estimate the size of sunspots, it seems to have grown from one day to the next. Do note that the difference in size between the sketches below does not primarily correspond to any physical developments, but rather to the scale used while sketching.

Edit: I managed to make a third sketch just as AR 2396 approached the limb. Inserted below.

Sketched 8 August 2015, UT 12:00, using a SkyWatcher 10", masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 3/5.
Sketched 8 August 2015, UT 12:00, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 3/5.
Image: SDO/HMI.
Image: SDO/HMI.
IMG
Sketched 9 August 2015, UT 08:30, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 4-5/5.
20150809_1030_hmiigr_1024
Image: SDO/HMI.
IMG_0002
Sketched 12 August 2015, UT 14:00, using a SkyWatcher 10″, masked down to 100 mm, and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece (70x). Seeing 2-3/5.
20150812_1500_hmiigr_512
Image: SOHO/HMI

AR 2371

The sketches below depicts AR 2371 and were made on 20 and 21 June 2015 respectively. I used my 10″ SkyWatcher (with a solar filter and masked down to 100 mm) and a Baader Hyperion 17 mm eyepiece for 70x. At both occasions the seeing was rather bad, and the group didn’t show any finer detail. Inserted to the right are the corresponding images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory showing the group to the upper left.

Edit: I had the opportunity to do a third sketch today (inserted at the bottom). Equipment as above.

IMG_0002
20 June 2015, UT 14:30.
20150620_1500_hmiigr_512
Image: SDO/HMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0003
21 June 2015, UT 12:45.
latest_1024_HMIIF
Image: SDO/HMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

xxx
23 June 2015, UT 17:15.
ccc
Image: SDO/HMI