Sun in HAlpha / CaK / White Light With Lunt LS100THa / Stellarvue SV80s + Lunt CaK filter or Baader AstroSolar Safety film Uploaded 12/3/11 Weekly Report For the week of Saturday November 19 - Friday November 25

 Saturday was the first few hours I have had to spend with our new Lunt Halpha solar scope. We had a few hours of choppy seeing, but the results are encouraging! The new Lunt is a four inch aperture, and has significantly more resolution than the 1 1/2 inch aperture of the Coronado 40mm I have been using. When the seeing permits, this will enable me to capture many new features for the very first time, and get much sharper shots of the prominences that occupy the limb. I have used the old solar scope for nearly a decade, and have acquired imaging skills with it that I can directly apply to the new Lunt. I was able to get in a few white light shots as well, but the seeing at that point with the high winds we were dealing with between storms was making a mess of the sharpness.

I then took half a day off on Wednesday before we headed over to San Diego to visit Dawns family for Thanksgiving. In the morning before we left, I had a few hours of clear skies shooting, with still shaking seeing, but the results were much more meaning full because of the increased clarity. This time of year, the Sun clears the pine trees in the back yard around 8:30, and I usually have an hour or so for the best seeing.

Images below are 800 wide and non clickable


Lets start with the white light key shot, This is actually - as are all "white light" shots at this point taken with a SBIG G filter that is within the visual white light band and improves the seeing and contrast dramatically over a non filtered shot. Coming onto the disk is AR1335, which is now the most active flaring sunspot group on the Sun. Just below it (south) is the quad AR1354 group, which is a great imaging target with its associated faculae. The largest spot on the disk here, which is no behemoth is AR1352, a curious group with many tiny pore like companions.


Here is a view without the labels for a nice clean look:

The rather grainy look to the disk, especially in the center of this SV80s shot is due to the solar granulation beginning to become resolved.


Lets take a look at the AR1354 quad group a bit more closely. For the first time I tried a Televue 2x Big Barlow. I thought the poor seeing made it impossible to use the usual 3x Klee, so tried this giant Barlow. Still, seeing was not clean, but there is significant improvement in small details. This image is really noisy too, I just could not pull out the details without bringing up the noise a bit. Ill probably not use this Barlow again for solar. Makes a great guide scope Barlow however...

Now on to the Hydrogen Alpha images with the new Lunt LS100! The seeing was a lot better in these than the white light, which was taken later. This is why you must choose which scope to image with first - the seeing starts out best, and then as the ground and trees warm in the rising sun, the seeing degrades very quickly. This is especially true at high elevations, since the air temperature changes so rapidly.

FULL DISK. This is the very first solar disk shot I have taken with the DMK camera on a solar scope. It is a four part composite, since I can get exactly 1/4 the sun at at time at prime focus with the LS100. Images were combined in iMerge:

The orientation is the same as the white light shots above. You can still see the sunspots, but they are now surrounded by fine chromospheric details such as plage (white areas around sunspots), and fine filaments and spicules. Note the huge dark filament to the upper right, this one will be spectacular when it reaches the limb in a few days and protrudes over the edges to form a big prominence.


Lets take a look at that big filament now, with the 2x Coronado Barlow. Chains and rings of spicules surround this filament all the way to the limb.


Lets now examine the other, eastern limb where the quadruple sunspot, and another big prom is lurking with the 2x Barlow:

A closer view now of the limb prominences now, in the same field as the above image. To make this type of image, we take two shots of the same part of the Sun, one exposed for the prominences which overexposes the disk, then add in the disk shot properly exposed over it to make the view complete. The Lunt 100 is starting to shine now, showing much more detail than the 40mm ever did on proms:


Here, seeing was starting to degrade rapidly, making for some noisy images, but this stunning flame shaped prom gives the appearance that the sun is actually on fire.


On the western limb, and rotating off is this nice little arch prom:

On the north limb, this rocket like prom appears to be shooting off into space.

More images taken on Wednesday, before we left for San Diego:

The sunspots have morphed significantly in the past few days since the weekend, our beautiful quadruple spot AR1354 is just a ghost of its former significance. A chain of larger spots however is coming onto the Suns western limb on the left.

Same full disk view without the designations:

Below, we see the western limb with the new spot chain. On the left is AR1358 with some gorgeous spiral chains of faculae in this white light limb shot. On the right is the pair AR1356. These and all white light shots with SBIG-G filter, Zeiss 80mm f/6 and Astro Solar safety film 5.0.

AR1355 is alone near the center of the disk. Granulation is present, but seeing was not as good this morning. Notice the light bridge within the spots umbra, and the small chain of pores surrounding.

Hydrogen Alpha Shots with Lunt LS100THa:

Below is a full disk composite, from four disk, and six prom frames. Im still not decided on the prom colors yet, but it seemed to work well on this one with a realistic pink hue.

Ar1357 Flaring. Flares last only an hour or less, and their capture is rare and beautiful.

Composite of sunspots on the western limb. Beautiful swirls of magnetic plasma activity surround AR1356.

AR1352 along on the eastern limb shows structure in the bright plage near the spot

What is left of AR1354, the former Quadruple sunspot group. It is decaying rapidly. So sad to see it go...


A beautiful small arch on the eastern limb. Seeing now is degrading very rapidly, so I did a quick tour of proms on the limb. Still, you can see the spicules around the edges clearly.

On the north limb we find this group of Hedgerow proms.

Seeing was falling apart fast, this very complex group of hedgerow types shows some very nice vertical striations.

Seeing is gone. But one last shot of a set of pillar like proms on the western limb. A week later, it lifted off and shot into space!

Finally, this is a fish eye shot of the inside of the observatory at the end of the shooting session, when the clouds started rolling back in. The Lunt is on top of the mount, and the SV80 with a Baader Astro Solar Safety film front filter for white light shots is on the bottom.

Instruments: Lunt LS100THa Halpha or SV80S with Zeiss Apochromat Platform: Astrophysics 1200 Camera: DMK 3U (1024x768) Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 7/10, Transparency 9/10 Outside Temperature: 45F Processing: Registax 6, Photoshop CS2 Solar Home Page HOME SCHMIDT GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS