Staring @ the Sun, 95

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Clouds & Timing


11/02/2021. A very active sunspot complex transited the Sun, fired an X-flare, launched a coronal mass ejection, and showed much of the country the first auroras of the new cycle. We had lots of clouds. I finally got a glimpse of the AR on its way off the Sun and enjoyed a good look at a second, less dramatic area yesterday. It's tossed some decent flares, but always at night here. Consider these photos a place holder for whatever comes next.


The usual: best 150 of 3,000 frames,
stacked with AS!3 and processed with IMPPG


In other news, there's a TeleVue 5x Powermate on the way from AstroMart which I intend primarily for lunar photos behind the TMB92SS, but I expect to make a solar filter for that 'scope and do some white-light stuff, too. Also, the image scale behind the AT10RC would be... interesting.


01/08/2022. Another complex group made its way across the Sun behind clouds, or during cold, clear but very windy days. And I just didn't feel like chasing it. This week a smaller bipolar group spun into view and I thought, well, if not now when? And gave myself a refresher course in solar imaging.







Best 300 of 3,000 frames. You can make 'em big. Go ahead and click. Don't expect much.

I remembered to set high speed mode, select AVI rather than SEL, take a full-frame flat with gamma turned off, focus using gamma, turn it off again to capture, set a region of interest (2400x2000), and take data at relatively short exposures (2.4ms) with relatively low gain (around 140). The results (AutoStakkert!3, IMPPG, Photoshop) are nothing much to brag about, but they're not nothin'. Maybe a little noisier than usual? Just you wait.

Venus was at inferior conjunction as I captured these data. I put the Sun behind a dense pine top and using the 14x70 Fujinons looked for Venus four degrees and change to the north. Nothing. I saw nothing! This surprises me since the sky was deep blue overhead and still quite blue beside the sunlit pine. The location was unambiguous, but I repeat: nothing!



My deep-sky photos are made with a variety of sensors and optics. Deepest images come now from a ZWO ASI1600MM Cooled Pro CMOS camera, an ASIair (model 1) and sometimes one of several laptops. A good many images come from an unmodded Canon 6D but a lot more will be coming from an R6. Video and video extracts begin in a Canon EOS M, usually running in crop mode via Magic Lantern firmware (but the 6D and especially the R6 will probably see more use). Telescopes include an AT10RC, an Orion 10" F4 Newtonian, and a pair of apochromats: a TMB92SS and a AT65EDQ. A very early Astro-Physics 5" F6 gets some use, too. So do lots of camera lenses on both the ASI1600 and on the Canons. A solar Frankenscope made using a 90mm F10 Orion achromat and the etalon, relay optics, and focuser from a Lunt 60 feeding a small ZWO camera will see more action as the Sun comes back to life (Autostakkart!3 is my current fav for image stacking). Mounts include an iOpton SkyTracker (original model), a bargain LXD-55, a Losmandy G11 (492 Digital Drive), and an Astro-Physics Mach1. PixInsight does most of the heavy lifting; Photoshop polishes. Some of the toys are more or less permanently based in New Mexico. I desperately hope to get back soon.


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                   © 2021, David Cortner