Sun in Hydrogen Alpha / CaK With Coronado 40 / Lunt 60mm CaK Uploaded 9/26/11
 Only once in a great while does persistence and good fortune come together on a shooting session to make an average imaging experience into a remarkable one. Today was such a fortuitous morning. The sun rose past the lip of the observatory wall at around 7:30 this morning, and the view in the hydrogen alpha scope revealed a very strong solar flare - possibly X class, was ramping up on the oncoming limb. The sky stayed totally clear for this shooting session and that is pure luck during our Arizona Monsoon season! As we continued to record the flare, I did my usual off band checks and found that in the Blue wing of the Halpha line a huge surge prominence was erupting like a ghostly shadow away from the flare at a high rate of speed. As we watched for over an hour, the flare peaked in brightness, and the spray of plasma changed minute by minute. I was able to record some of these changes in the images below. Interestingly, the CaK images do not reveal much at all, even during the maximum flaring.
Click on Images for a larger 1024 or 800 sized view

Overview in the Calcium K absorption line (Yes the "P" angle is correct) On the left edge is a monster sunspot group, dominated by AR11302 which is the entire group desig- nation. Little faculae surrounds this ominous feature. Just to the right of center a huge faculae complex surrounds AR1304. The thin wisps on the upper right edge is the remains of AR1298, and on the bottom right edge we find the disappearing AR1303.
First we will overview the features on the disk with the CaK which most resembles the white light view: With 2x Coronado Barlow
AR1302 a huge triple sunspot the small spot on the limb has no number yet
AR1301 has plenty of faculae around it hinting of more increased activity to come
AR1303 is moving off the disk


The first image up at top surprisingly does not

show a hint of flaring action, which was

apparently confined to Halpha.
Next, the Halpha data: With 3x Klee Barlow Low contrast Images to show the Flare clearly:
AR1302 at maximum flare. Ive processed the disk normally here blowing out the flare
A very low contrast view showing the start of the flare in detail
About 10 minutes after flare start
About 30 minutes after flare start
About 45 minutes after flare start
About 60 minutes after flare start
Blue Wing Hydrogen Alpha data tuned for best detail in the eruptive prominence flow
A few minutes after the flare occurred this amazing surge prominence was seen


The Coronado has a tuning assembly which allows manual adjustment of the wavelength about plus or minus 2 angstroms. By tuning the frequency to the blue end, you can see Doppler shifted plasma that is approaching you at high speed. When I tuned to the red wing, little was seen indicating that most of the material was still being ejected.
+15 minutes


The prominence quickly started to fan out
+20 minutes


The flow seemed to be slowing but now

the second flow from the big spot is starting
+30 minutes


The last few tendrils are becoming very

curved. I could not see any more in either red or

blue wings.
+45 minutes


Very faint now, all bands seem nearly empty
+ 60 minutes


Finally, after an hour, it was all over. This is

still a blue wing shot.
Additional Halpha images taken after the Flare


AR1301 in Halpha light


Western Limb prominences are

easily seen, the lower one seems to have

a corkscrew appearance.


More proms on the calm western limb.

the red fringe around the disk is the spicules,

and I was very careful not to overexpose them!

Instrument: Coronado 40mm Halpha or Lunt 60mm CaK Platform: Astrophysics 1200 Camera: DMK 3U (1024x768) Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 6/10, Transparency 9/10 Outside Temperature: 75F Processing: Registax 6, Photoshop CS2 Solar Home Page HOME SCHMIDT GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS