Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Feb 20, 2011 White Light Image of AR11161 and AR11162 Sunspot Groups got featured in SOLARASTRONOMY.ORG !

Just got informed by Stephen Ramsden that my February 20, 2011 white light image of AR11161 and AR11162 Sunspot Group got featured in http://www.solarastronomy.org/ front page as amateur solar pick of the day on February 22, 2011 :) Thanks Stephen!

To see the image in other days, direct link to the archived image is at :


Solar Imaging Session - February 22. 2011

The sky this morning is fair but seeing is not good. AR11161 and AR11162 Sunspot Groups continues to moved toward the NW limb and may be gone in 2-3 days more or less. AR11162 Sunspot Group had deteriorated greatly and only the main core of the group remains :( AR11161 Sunspot Group, on the other hand, continues to hold on in terms of size and length but its main core is still a nice feature to look at up close. Several small nice group of eruptive prominences can also be seen around the Sun's limb.

Solar Imaging Session - February 20. 2011

The sky was clear this morning and seeing was very steady more or less around 2/5 . AR11162 is still very nice to look at but I can see that it is starting to deteriorate in structure. AR11161, on the other hand, continues to grow in its main core structure but other parts of the group is also starting to deteriorate a bit as well. AR11158 Sunspot Group is near the edge of the NW limb and might be gone tomorrow. Anyway, it is more or less a farewell shot on my part for the AR11158 group. Several nice group of eruptive prominences can also be seen in the NW and East limb.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lunar and Saturn Imaging Session - February 19, 2011

While I was preparing my powerpoint presentaion in basic astrophotography for tomorrow's 3rd Philippine Astronomy Convention opening day at Manila Planetarium, I got to take some break off to stretch my body a bit and went to look at the Waning Gibbous Moon rising from the Eastern horizon. I then do a quick image of the Moon with my TV-101 refractor with Canon 500D DSLR. Seeing was good at about 3 / 5 . Afterwards, I went back to my computer and continue working on my presentation.

But at around 11:15pm, I looked out at the window and saw Saturn is nicely placed already and cant resist myself again and did another quick image of Saturn using same scope but with Philips Toucam 740K webcam and triple stacked 2x barlow lens!!! Although transparency was good, seeing deteriorated at 1 / 5 :( Anyway, image is so so but I can see a small glimpse of the NEB I think near the right side of Saturn. Nevertheless, I'm happy and finally started to image Saturn again. I hope to do another image this coming week.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - February 19. 2011 ( New AR11162 Sunspot Group develops beside AR11161 !!!)

After a short sleep when I return to Manila from Baguio City this early morning, I quickly setup for solar imaging session this morning and was surprised to see a new AR11162 Sunspot Group developed fully beside AR11161 Sunspot Group ! It was a nice pair to view and image as both contains nice structure core. Aside from the 2 groups, I could still see AR11158 Sunspot Group about to depart near the SW limb.

In Ha light, all 3 sunspot groups exhibit good solar activity inside its cores. This is good because I would be able to show the Sun tomorrow to the participants at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Philippine Astronomy Convention at Manila Planetarium both in white light and Ha light :) See you all there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - February 17. 2011 ( 2 Sunspot Groups & Huge Eruptive Prominence )


I arrived in Baguio last night from Laoag City and sleep early as I'm going to meet up with fellow ALPer John Nassr for a solar imaging session in the morning.

I wake up a little early this morning and prepare myself and head to John place to meet with him at around 9:00am. After driving his daughter to school, we head back to his place and start to setup for our solar imaging session. As we were discussing , John told me that fellow amateur astronomer Agnes Oclarit had passed away past 2 days ago from 4th stage cancer. I felt bad because she is a kind lady and has always been a friend of mine amid our organization's different views. I thought she was getting a bit better late last year as I got to see her post messages in Facebook. Nevertheless, I pray that she will continue to enjoy astronomy and seeing the stars in heaven with better seeing and transparency up there than us!

Anyway, after we setup and roll off the observatory roof, we started to observe the Sun first and later started to image the Sun through John's AP127 refractor on AP600 mount and DragonFly 2 webcam. We started out with imaging the Sun through H-Alpha light and we were able to see very active solar flares inside both AR11158 and AR11161 Sunspot Group. Several beautiful dark filaments can also be seen as well as 2 large eruptive prominences visible in NE and NW limb. Seeing was a bit poor but we managed to get some decent shots of the Sun nevertheless.

This is the first time I had the opportunity to image the Sun through John's Coronado SolarMax 60 Ha filter and the difference in image resolution is obvious compared to what I had been using with the Coronado PST-Ha. I do hope I would be able to get myself one in the future so I can also do some better resolution Ha work as well.

Afterwards, we revert to white light imaging with the same scope and mount but now with the Baader Herschel Wedge installed with ND3.0 and Solar Continuum Filter. The seeing now started to deteriorate further more so we were forced to image the 2 sunspot groups with 2x barlow lens so it was very difficult to focus!!! But we managed to still image the 2 groups through prime focus.

After we imaged the 2 groups, we call it a day and have some pictorial shots of me and John together with the solar setup we used that morning. We then had a delicious lunch at his place before he drop me off near the main road so that I can go back to work.

Thank you John for accommodating me at the solar imaging session as well as the delicious lunch served but the most importantly thing is that we both had a good time this morning and looking forward to doing more of these sessions in the months to come. I will be going back to Manila tomorrow and hope to continue monitoring the Sun as always.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - February 14. 2011 (Valentine's AR11158 Sunspot Surprise and Large Eruptive Prominence !!! )

Happy Valentine's Day to all! The sky this morning was a bit cloudy and I thought the weather will not open up for me to image the Sun :( But luckily around 8:30am, weather improve a bit for me to image the Sun.

What surprised me today was the incredible increase in size of AR11158 Sunspot Group! The detail on the sunspot both in Ha and white light wavelength was a sight to see! In Ha light, the Sun is active wherein more than 5 sunspot group is visible on the Sun's disk with the latest AR11160 Sunspot Group emerging from the NE limb. Another nice feature today is a huge eruptive prominence visible in the SW limb.

According to spaceweather.com , AR11158 Sunspot Group unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year so far at around 1:38am (Feb. 13th at 1738 UT) , an M6.6-category blast. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation.

Much as I want to image all 5 sunspot groups in white light, heavy clouds prevented me from taking any more white light with my AR11157 Sunspot Group taken through heavy clouds :( Nevertheless, the image of the active AR11158 Sunspot Group is already a very nice gift for me on Valentine's Day....... of course the best is our Valentine malling and get together with my wife and kid last night.

It's bad that I will miss the next few day's solar activity with my provincial trip to Baguio City and Laoag in the next few days so will be back to solar imaging when I get back home Saturday morning.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - February 13, 2011 ( 4 Sunspot Groups and Large Eruptive Prominence)

The sky this morning is partially cloudy and seeing is not good. Nevertheless, I still proceeded to wait for more than 45 minutes before I could get some images of the Sun. I was able to see 4 sunspot groups on the solar disk. Of the 4 groups, AR11158 Sunspot Group is worth observing as it is slightly large in size. Although it is does not yet have a complex structured core, I believe the sunspot group is still in developing stage and will grow a bit more in the days to come. A large eruptive prominence can be seen in the NW limb while several other smaller group of eruptive prominences can be viewed around the solar limb.

With seeing conditions far from ideal, I had a hard time focusing and imaging the Sunspot Groups in high resolution white light wavelength thus I was only able to image the larger AR11158 Sunspot Group. :( Image is not that good but it is still better than no image at all :) LOL

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quarter Moon - February 11, 2011

Hard rain fell tonight in Manila and after the rain, the quarter moon came out of the clouds for me to take a shot of it. I miss night sky imaging !!!

Solar Imaging Session - February 11. 2011

The sky this morning is slightly hazy and seeing is just fair. AR11156 Sunspot Group continues to show some activity inside its core while AR11157 Sunspot Group is starting to decay and I think might not last more than 1-2 days :( Several nice group of eruptive prominences can be seen around the limb with the one in the NW showing a nice eruption :)

Several possible active regions can be seen near the NE and SE limb which might developed fully to be designated an Active Region Number in the days to come.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - February 10, 2011 ( 2 Sunspot Groups and Large Eruptive Prominence)


It's been more than a week now since my last solar imaging due to bad weather and busy the past 2 days. With a nice weather early in the morning, I proceeded to setup and observe the Sun. I can see 2 sunspot groups namely AR11156 and AR11157 near the Sun's central meridian with a possible new AR11158 Sunspot Group developing near the eastern limb. Seeing today was very good thus I was able to get better image resolution today than the past previous weeks. A large eruptive prominence can be viewed at the NW limb.

Both AR11156 and AR11157 Sunspot Group are simple group of sunspot with AR11156 Sunspot Group showing some small solar activity in Ha light in its core.