Today’s sunspot

After the disappointing rain of the past while or so, the sun has finally come out, allowing me to take out the Celestron 130SLT, astrozap solar filter cover and my digicam to take a picture or two. During the course of the rain, I watched on www.spaceweather.com as sunspot 1087 made its slow way from one side of the solar disc to the other. It was bigger than sunspot 1085, which was the last one I observed, and would’ve shown more structure at the eyepiece. It vanished as the clouds broke today. However, another sunspot – 1089 – came round as the last one went and this one is far, far larger and far, far more complex. Nicknamed the ‘bear claw sunspot’ it looks a little like an animal print on the side of the Sun. It is in fact a region where the solar magnetic field has become kinked and loops of it are breaking through the surface, causing magnetic cooling in the areas they pass through. This cooler, darker area is still very bright, but compared to the unaffected regions of the Sun, look dark. I viewed the spot in the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces.

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