Sunspots and flares

As we head towards the maximum of the Sun's 11 year cycle of activity, the Sun's surface is becoming much more interesting. Although here in the UK we've had awful weather for the past month or two, the sudden improvement of the past couple of days has meant we're able to see huge sunspot 1476 which is launching solar flares in our direction. Here is my photo taken a few minutes ago:

Sun
The Sun seen at the eyepiece of a Coronado PST 12 May 2012 CREDIT: Stuart
It isn't the best picture ever but you can see the sunspot to the left of centre as well as some prominences around the edge. For a sense of scale, the prominences are several times larger than the Earth.

Will Gater has posted a much better series of shots of the prominences and sunspot and Pete Lawrence took this high resolution image of sunspot AR1476 yesterday and this white light picture today. In the Lake District Stuart Atkinson took this image about an hour ago. In Australia, Ian Musgrave has been taking images of the Sun using binoculars and safe solar projection.

WARNING: Remember that it is very dangerous to look directly at the Sun especially with binoculars and telescopes. You could seriously damage your eyes. Either view the Sun via a projection technique or use safe solar filters.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 12th May 2012 (13:51 BST) | Permalink
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