Andrew Thornett

Solar Observing and Evening Treats!

Sunday 24th June, a chance to get out and do some solar observing – can’t leave it all to Nick and Roger after all !

I double checked my usual sites to see what was happening on the sun, they suggested enough to warrant pulling all the gear out.

http://halpha.nso.edu (GONG)

http://www.spaceweather.com

https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov

Credit: SOHO (NASA/ESA)

 

Credit: SDO/HMI

 

Invited the big ‘A’ to join me, he duly did after 2.15 as we set up the gear.

Forecast on ‘Clear Outside’ app was correct, indicating 90+% high cloud cover…

This did have a detrimental effect on the observing to some degree, especially in my longer focal length scope, but you have to take the opportunities when they present themselves!

We both took the chance to do some sketching and it was good to see that Andy’s Calcium Quark actually worked – an “enhance white light” view, being my description.

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

We were more than pleased with our day as Andy packed up after 5, me not long after…

But the day wasn’t finished…

Looked out my North facing front office window to be greeted with a Solar Pillar – about 9.30pm.

Took a quick snap with the iPhone, then rang Andy. He seemed a bit perplexed at first for my call and a ‘Light Pillar’, but I urged him to go outside, then put the phone down pretty abruptly and went to grab a ‘proper’ camera.

iPhone image 9.34pm:

And again at 10.07pm

Even later into the evening, I spotted roughly in the same position what I thought could be noctilucent clouds… never seen them before.

Having left my tripod at work, I quickly grabbed the GorillaPod and took a 3 sec exposure – ‘NCL’ confirmed !

Texted Andy… no reply…

Those images will appear in a new thread!

 

Damian

 

Sun Pillar over Lichfield

Thanks Damian for ringing Rhys and I just now to let us know there is a sun pillar. Following photos taken outside front of our looking West towards setting sun.

sun pillar is a vertical shaft of light extending upward or downward from the sun. Typically seen during sunrise or sunset, sun pillars form when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds (like cirrostratus clouds).

Andy

22:10. It got even better!

 

Crossed polar images of Northwest Africa meteorite with and without 1/4 wave compensator plate

I recently acquired a compensator plate for my LOMO Polam microscope – the following images of a chrondrule from a thin section of a Saharian meteorite collected in 2016 and sold online by SDFossils show the difference using the compensator plate – purple images without plate and green with – all are crossed polar images.

Andy

Andy’s drawings from solar observing today

I joined Damian in his garden in Streethay to observe the solar disc today. Interesting to compare my very amateurish drawings with Roger’s amazing photos in his post from his session with the sun today! Still, it was great fun.

I think that Damian intends to add in his own post soon – his drawings were amazing…..the artist at work puts me in the shade!

Both Damian and I have Daystar Hydrogen Alpha filters for observing the sun and I also have a Daystar Calcium-H filter. The latter performed really well today showing up substantial white haloes around the sunspots and also in the area of the filament in Roger’s photo. I have tried to capture these white areas in my drawing of the Calcium-H view. That filter does not show the prominences – the H-Alpha filter is required for that.

The drawings below were all drawn at my telescope:

  • Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm on Manfrotto mount
  • Daystar Hydrogen Alpha and Calcium-H filters
  • Televue Plossl 32mm eyepiece
  • Baader 8-28mm zoom eyepiece

Andy

 

Noctilucent clouds over Lichfield?

Rhys and I have never seen noctilucent clouds with certainty in the past but the height of summer is meant to be the best time to see them and our latitude in Lichfield the best latitude for observations of this phenomenon.

Looking West after the sun goes down is meant to be the best way to see them and according to a recent BAA bulletin about 23:00 the best time.

So Rhys and I insisted all the lights were turned off in the house tonight at 22:25………

And we think we might have captured a sighting of them! Can some of the noctilucent experts in the club comment on whether they think these are noctilucent clouds?

23:50. I will leave this post in for future reference but in closer inspection of photos I doubt now that they are noctilucent clouds.

Andy