The Sun is brilliant!

This afternoon was nice and sunny so I took the solar telescope (a Coronado PST) outside to show a few people our nearest star in a safe way. It can be very dangerous to look directly at the Sun, but the PST takes away nearly all the light from the Sun except for the particular type of red light caused by hydrogen atoms on the surface of the Sun. I say red although one little girl this afternoon decided she thought it was more pink, but she was wearing a pink dress so may have been a little biased! Anyway, this red light lets you see the sunspots quite well and I was able to admire sunspot group 0960 near the limb of the Sun. On the opposite side of the Sun there were a few small prominences visible too.

I had a great time showing people the Sun, explaining what sunspots were, how big they are (you could fit the Earth into one of them) and other related stuff. Although not everyone could focus their eyes on the sunspots or flares, most people were amazed to see the Sun with their own eyes in this way. One lady even turned to her friend and said "the Sun is brilliant - literally". I really like responses like that.

We often take our nearest star for granted. Hopefully, some people today took some time to think about just how amazing and brilliant our Sun really is.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 02nd Jun 2007 (18:01 BST) | Permalink
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