Nov 062011

After an extended lull, solar activity appears to be finally picking up.  Active region 11339 rotated into view on the 3rd of November.  I first viewed it late Friday afternoon waiting for  the sky to get dark at the ‘WEBELOS Weekend’ event at Spanish Trails Scout Reservation.  I set up my 6″ Newtonian in support of the NWFAA and took my solar  filter specifically to view this grouping.

”]AR 11339 is the group below and just left of center.  As you can see, the area is large enough to be easily visible even during coarse focusing.  In fact, this sun spot group is large enough to see without any magnification.  I used my hand held solar filter and can just see the group even with the sun low on the western horizon.

According to NASA this area has produced 11 class-C or stronger flares in the past 3 days.  Several reports show the longest dimension of the grouping to be about 50,000 miles long.  With the diameter of the earth right at 7,900 miles, you can see just how big the area is.

This image is a stack of twenty three 0.0008 sec exposures.  These white light exposures were test shots taken to verify focus and exposure time but by the time I got back outside, clouds had moved in and trees had become a problem.  So these were the ones that I was stuck with. It also means I didn’t get a chance to take any flat frames which is why you can see several smudges from dust donuts.

 Posted by at 18:00

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