Today’s sun watching

The Sun eventually appeared from behind sporadic clouds long enough for me to view it this afternoon and photograph it this evening at around 17:30. Using the AstroZap solar filter cap on the Celestron 130SLT and the 25mm eyepiece before transferring over to the 9mm eyepiece (26x and 72x magnification, respectively), I got my first view of sunspot 1084 in which the spot was easily resolvable into two feet of the magnetic loop. This spot has a relatively untwisted field, creating no disturbances to buffet the Earth, but in the x-rays, coronal holes are sending out the fast solar wind, leading to disturbed conditions at the moment, so be aware of aurora alerts. The images below (25mm first, then 9mm) show the spot on the solar disc, then a closer look. You can see the umbra and penumbra of the spot, but I’m not quite good enough with the focus to get the spot sharp enough to see the two distinct pieces. There’s also a bit of cloud in there.

In not quite related news, the most prestigious UK based Journal, Nature, has altered its policy to allow Solar astronomy papers again. It stopped publishing them in 2005, suggesting that they were only a tenth as cited by other papers as other astronomy fields. Statistical research has since been carried out and confirmed by Nature that shows the citation rates are actually comparable, but it takes time for solar astronomy papers to catch on in terms of citations. The pre2005 policy of a few solar papers being published has returned.

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