Sun changes in Ha.

Keeping a stack of quick drawings, it’s quite satisfying to note that every view is different and changes over short periods of time add to it all.

There is quite a wide sweet spot in the fov, it’s also best to tinker around with focussing. I’ve seen quite a few forum posts where folk , mainly new to Ha, have either given up or expressed dissatisfaction with the views. Taking time and patience , as in all observing will reap rewards. Any slight haze in the sky will dramatically deteriorate the views, hoping for clear skies ! Nick.

DIY observatory pier kit

Hi Folks

I picked up the rebar ‘skeleton’ this morning so we now have all of the necessary bits to build the pier for the telescope. The ‘skeleton’ is pretty substantial and I could only just pick it up on my own. I have all of the ducting in the garage and I’ll have to see how that all fits together now. The piece you can see on the right is the template that I made for holding the studs in place in until the concrete dries. It’s a piece of plywood I had lying about, which for the last 10 years was actually the platform for the slide in the village playground. We replaced it recently with a new piece. Recycling in action, huh?







“White sunspot” 27/07/2017

“SpaceWeather” ( says:

“WHITE SUNSPOT”: Sunspot numbers have dropped to zero this week as dark cores associated with sunspot activity have vanished. Instead of dark spots, the sun has a light spot.

The correct name of this phenomenon is “faculae.” It is a cousin of sunspots. 

Regular dark sunspots are magnetic islands on the surface of the sun. Magnetic fields in these areas are typically thousands of times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field. Sunspot magnetic fields are so strong, they block the flow of heat from the nuclear furnace below. They appear dark because they are relatively cool compared to their surroundings.

Faculae are also made of magnetic fields. However, the magnetism of faculae is concentrated in much smaller bundles than in sunspots. Instead of blocking heat from below, they essentially form corridors that allow us to see into sun’s hot interior, creating an apparent bright spot on the surface of the sun.

These bright structures are more common than you might think. During the peak of a sunspot cycle, faculae actually win out over sunspots and make the sun appear slightly (about 0.1%) brighter at Solar Maximum than at Sunspot Minimum.

I could see no sign of it on the SOHO web-site today, but it is visible in H-alpha. The spot is clear enough, but not much doing on the prominence front.

Cygnus colour.

Battle of the forecasts, sScopenights app says clear all night, clearoutside ; computer says no. Quite dark and pleased to see the sinking crescent moon. Allset up and a trail of the Milky Way with the ISS brightly running down Cygnus. A few other bright ones later , in all directions.Started off with a wobbly Saturn, low in the south.

Some favourites in Cygnus, kicking off with a return to the fast “Piazzi’s flying double “, 61 Cygni. A cheery pair , just perfect. Then some real colour , very much worth finding, omicron 1 Cygni (30 Cygni) with 30 Cygnus. A wonderful orange and turquoise combination in a lovely star field.This is a complex (triple ) visual group with many designations
Some really great colour in Σ2666 in Cygnus (SAO 49438).

Down to a fabulous view of Theta Saggitae, probably the nicest view of a triple group in this arrow. Mains being yellow and blue. The star is a subgiant about two billion years old.
Just getting cracking and the clouds massed and blew in so fast it made the stars appear to move backwards. Between the clouds it looked very clear and dark.

Checked out a few of the old timers including NGC 7789 ( ” Caroline’s Rose”) looking spectacular , double cluster and a great view of M31. Worth getting out there ,
Old Nick.

Sun this evening 25/07/2017

Another advantage of the window-sill method is that if you are a bit crocked up, as I am at the moment with an ankle injury, you can still observe!

Sun remains pretty quiet. I just got chance to image this modest prominence before the clouds rolled in. Some quite nice disc detail though.

Given the prominence was pretty faint, this might be another case where the black and white image is better.