Saturday, January 30, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 30, 2010


The sky this morning is a bit hazy but since i can still see the Sun. I proceeded to check out AR 11041 if it is still there. The sunspot group had undergone tremendous reduction in size from a nice looking group to almost a speck yesterday. Well, I had to hard timing locating first the group as I thought it had disappeared already. But careful inspection and patience help me locate it!

My golly, it is almost a small dot already at closeup shot :) LOL Although I could still see a small speck feature. I'm sure tomorrow it will not be there anymore...... so goodbye AR 11041!

But in Ha light, I could easily see the group because it still possesses some small activity inside its core compare to the white light images and observation. Aside from the group, another interesting feature of the Sun this morning is a nice large eruptive prominence which resembles the famous "Horsehead Nebula". I refer to it as Horsehead Prominence :) LOL

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 29, 2010


The sky this morning was a bit hazy and seeing is poor. Nevertheless I manage to take some shots of the decaying AR 11041 sunspot group which is now very very small compare to the last image I took of it last January 23 :( But in Ha light, I can still see some activities in the group.

2 nice prominences can also be viewed near the western limb.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 23, 2010 (New AR 11042 and Large Prominences !!!)


The sky this morning is a bit hazy with some passing small clouds. As I check the Sun through the PST-Ha , I notice there was a new sunspot group that pops out which I presumed will be designated AR11042 because it has some umbra and penumbra structure already. On the other hand, AR 11041 continues to grow in size and structure. For today, I concentrated on the ATK-1HS II webcam this morning to try to get better results than what I did yesterday which was done IMHO in a fast way. With more frames for me to acquire with the webcam than my Canon 500D single frames and shutter vibration, it seems the webcam images are promising as well as I was able to get some granulations despite fair seeing condition.

Starting today, my Ha images through the PST-Ha will be oriented north up and east to the left. In Ha light, AR11041 exhibits more activity inside its group. New AR 11042, although a bit smaller also exhibit some activity already as well. There are also several large eruptive prominences as well and a joy to look at too.

Unfortunately, I wont be able to monitor the 2 groups tomorrow till maybe Friday next week as I will go back to my provincial work. I'm sure AR 11042 will already be gone by them and hoping I can still catch up with AR 11041 near the western limb next week :0

Solar Imaging Session - Janaury 22, 2010 (AR 11041 and Several Large Prominences !!!)


The sky this morning is clear and I was able to observe the Sun and saw AR 11041 near the eastern limb. AR 11041 is the previous sunspot group AR 11039 which manage to survive to re-emerge from the eastern limb. The group has a nice faculae structure as well as umbra and penumbra feature. The seeing was a bit ok so I was able to image the Sun in both Ha and White light wavelength.

In Ha light the sunspot group doesn't possess that much active region compare to the AR 11040 which had exited the western limb last week. Nevertheless, we will know if this group will show up more activity in the days to come.

Aside from the AR 11041 group, several beautiful large eruptive and looped prominences can be seen across the Sun's limb.
I try using the ATK-1HS II webcam this morning to test its image quality compare to using my 500D DSLR in shooting closeup shots of the AR11041 in white light. I find it easier to image with the webcam but I had to stack 2 pcs of 2x barlow to get a bigger image of the sunspot group. IMHO, the image scale is still too small for me and Im considering buying again the TV 5x powermate again (for the 3rd time) to get higher magnification. The resolution is good but the noise IMHO is the poor factor compare to the 500D higher resolution image. Nevertheless, it is my first time to use a webcam for solar imaging and I might be proven wrong in the days to come.

Taken through 500D DSLR and 4.8mm NaglerTaken through ATK-1HS II webcam and double stacked 2x barlow lens.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 16, 2010


The sky this morning was a bit hazy but I still continue to setup and hoping to get some good shots of AR 11040 as it is nearing the western limb already as seen from yesterday partial solar eclipse session . I started shooting the group and can still see its active activity. Unfortunately, the sky suddenly turn bad after my Ha session and in white light I cant even shoot the whole disk in good detail and contrast! So I have no choice but to forgo shooting the group at high resolution :( Anyway, better luck tomorrow for me and hope weather will be ok.......

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Possible Green Flash Effect Image Explained


Last January 15, 2010, As the partial solar eclipse is coming to an end as it nears the island slope of Corregidor, a small bright yellowish green "mirage like" flash was seen for a few seconds before it got clouded out by a small strip of black clouds. My initial reports stated that I might have witnessed the rare and elusive "Green Flash " effect which normally pops out for a few seconds as the Sun sink into the horizon. But for this image below, the Sun had not yet set in the horizon so it was very weird and all conclusion points to the fact that I might have image it. I send the image to and hoping for them to help me confirm if I indeed got it.

My image was selected as one of the good images that was featured in the eclipse gallery and I was able to get a good explanation from atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley: "This is possibly a 'cloud-top' flash. There are two broad flash types, one is the classical Jules Verne flash when the the last sliver of sun disappears beneath the horizon. The other, much harder to see visually but more often photographed, is where the top of the sun flashes green while much of the disk is still above the horizon. The cloud-top flash is a variant of the second type and it might be caused by an inversion layer associated with the cloud top. We do not fully understand them!"

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010 Partial Solar Eclipse


The sky was particularly cloudy this morning and the odd of being able to observe the partial solar eclipse was dim. But I together with some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines went to AstroCamp Observatory in SM Mall of , San Miguel By The Bay in the afternoon and setup their equipment.

Fortunately, thick clouds started to break up in the afternoon and they were able to document and image the eclipse through thin haze and clouds. First contact did occur at 3:49pm (Phil Standard Time +8 GMT) at around 5 o'clock position.

We were able to observe and image the eclipse till it sets in the thin island slope of Corregidor. One nice composition of my shot at this time was a couple riding in a boat and getting a romantic view of the setting eclipse :)

Also notice is a "possible green flash effect" on the setting partial solar eclipse near Corregidor. This was noticed by fellow ALPer Andrew Ian Chan who has a similar image as well. It can be viewed below. The "green flash" can be found at the top tip of the eclipsed Sun just above the black clouds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 12, 2010


The sky this morning was a bit hazy but seeing started well when I image AR 11040 in H-Alpha light with Coronado PST-Ha. I also noted that the sunspot group is growing bigger and the main components of this group is also getting complex in structure.

Unfortunately, when I switched to white light imaging, clouds started to rolled in and I had a hard time imaging the Sun specially at closeup and I encountered trouble both in focusing as well as exposure. Also, with time running out for me to shoot more frames this morning as I'm getting late for work. I had to deal with whatever images I have to use :( Nevertheless, I still proceeded to image the group even though the image is poor in quality and dim :(

I will experiment tomorrow with the use of the ATK-1HS II webcam to replace the DSLR in my closeup shot so that I can acquire more image frame in lesser time at the expense of a lesser resolution camera. Seeing lately was really terrible that I'm really confronted with the decision to switch camera tomorrow. I might need to double stack 2 barlows for me to get a better image scale.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 11, 2010


The sky this morning was clear but the seeing vcondition was not that good. Nevertheless, the view of AR 11040 was a sight to see as one can see lots of activities inside the active region. Several small prominences can also be seen in the solar limb. In white light , AR 11040 continues to grow and I hope it will still be there on January 15, 2010 so I can image it together with the partial solar eclipse visible here in our country.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 7, 2010


Sky this morning is once again clear and seeing is also good. There are several beautiful eruptive prominences visible . Finally, returning AR 11035 show some bright faculae near the NE limb but unfortunately, there are no sunspots visible though. The sunspot group had decayed to the point that called it "sunspot corpse." The region only shows bright faculae but it is still too early to say that no trace os even a small sunspot is visible as the region is still in the Wilson Effect meaning, the group is near the edge of the Sun and that any sunspot group shows only sa "flattened" image. We will know in a day or two if old AR 11035 will get to have a new designated active region number maybe AR11040 if it shows any sunspots at all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Solar Imaging Session - January 6, 2010 (Beautiful Large Prominences!!!)


I got to wake up a little early this morning after an exhaustive evening of imaging and processing some macro images that I took of a grasshopper :) LOL The sky was looking good and I setup and pointed the PST-Ha at the Sun and was surprised to see lots of large eruptive prominences visible int he Sun's limb! Further observation of the limb through the computer screen reveals that AR 11039 is almost at the western limb of the Sun. Bye Bye AR 11039! Unfortunately, I have to go to work early today and I wasn't able to image the group through white light :(

But what amazed me today is the observation of several group of looped prominences entangled in the solar limb and together with exiting AR 11039 , the sight was beautiful! :)

Solar Imaging Session - January 3, 2010


The sky was cloudy in the morning and it took me till around 12:00pm before I could start imaging the Sun :( But the seeing was not good and I was only able to do a whole disk white light image of the Sun which shows AR 11039 starting to exit the western limb.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 1, 2010 Partial Lunar Eclipse Observation


In the early morning of January 1, some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) went to fellow ALPer Armandfo Lee's Astro Camp Observatory at SM MOA San Miguel by the Bay to observe and image the partial lunar eclipse. Among the members who participated were me, wife Charito and son Kendrick Cole Ty, Armando Lee, wife Mia , son Jason Lee & Mia's mom, Christopher "Benci" Lee and Sandra Torita, Kevin Dagunan and Mary Grace Gulde , Crispin "Mopper" Riosa and Ma. Theresa Masuay.

I arrived there 2pm as I had New Year celebration at my in-law's place. It was also a special day for astronomers as this Jan 1 has a unique rare blue Moon (meaning 2 full moons in a month) and a partial lunar eclipse altogether. As quoted by , "Blue Moons are rare (once every 2.5 years). Blue Moons on New Year's Eve are rarer still (once every 19 years). How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve?

A search of NASA's Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years). A year of special note is 2848 when there will be two lunar eclipses in December--on Dec. 1st and Dec. 31st. Such a double-Blue Moon-lunar eclipse ending on New Year's Eve appears to be a millennium-level event. That's rare!!!"

When I arrived at the site, all the roads near the site were closed because there was a concert near the mall area and I had to park the car farther thus have to drag my setup to the observing site in a more tiring way :( Armand had warned me of the possible scenario earlier in the afternoon and that helps a lot as I opted to leave the planned use of my heavier refractor and mount and instead use the much lighter Meade ETX-90AT :) Its still a little heavy but to compare it with his usual TV-101 setup, it is almost 3x lighter :) LOL . Once I arrived at the observing site, I quickly do a rough polar alignment and had setup my imaging system in less than 10 minutes. I was able to start imaging at around 2:15am.

Although umbra starts at around 2:53am, we were able to see the slight shading of the penumbra as early as 2:30am and become more pronounced at around 3:23am when maximum 8% umbra shading occurred. On the other hand, I already notice slight penumbral shading in his image at around 2:20am which started near the bright crater Tycho. The umbra shadow touches the southern part of the Moon only. One good note about this eclipse is the surprisingly clear sky that followed after the New Year Eve's fireworks :)

At around 5:00am, James and Benci took their last image on the last visible trace of shading that can be seen in the camera viewfinder before calling it a day! Before they packed up their scope, they had a group picture taken for posterity. Happy New Year To All !!

Other activity shots I took that morning.