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AR 2739 and 2738

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Posted (edited)

I was out yesterday (19th April) and had a good opportunity to set up looking across fields rather than across my estate which usually results in better views due to the lack of heat currents coming off rooftops and roads.

I was out with the ST120, herschel wedge, nd3.0, polarising filter, and baader solar continuum filter. With the 8-24mm Mk4 zoom  and a 2.5x powermate in reserve. Being out of touch with whats going on on the sun I didn't have many expectations regarding spots but I immediately saw AR2739 towards the leading limb, the most action I've seen for a while. The  penimbra was circular but the umbra was almost a line across the middle. The shape of the umbra and filaments around it changed notably  over time. There were three tiny parallel line shaped spots nearby that looked like claw marks.

This was great but I then noticed faculae going closer towards the limb and checked them out. I was very happy with the views and was having a great time when I then clocked AR2738, and it looked huge! It provided a great 3 dimensional perspective being right on the limb. A big circular umbra and circular penumbra both foreshortened by the perspective. There was also a small off axis dark spot in the penumbra. I dont know why I didnt see 2738 first, I guess it was target fixation on the things I happened to see first.

I played around with the polarising filter, adjusting the brightness to highlight different features, and once I had a really good setting I checked the focus was dead on and got one of the best views of the sun I can recall. If I've seen better its maybe a couple of occasions.

I could see limb darkening really clearly, and signs of faculae elsewhere on the disk despite but no direct sign of other spots. I could see a sea of tiny stipples all over the disk and did a few scope jiggles and double takes to make sure I was not mistaken.

I wonder if the seeing was good for the most magnification I had available (187x with the powermate) but my Porta 2 mount struggles with keeping down the vibes with this weight  and the best experience was actually 75x at 8mm without the powermate. Not because of any optical issue with the powermate, just because it adds to the weight and therefore the vibes.

This session was at about 4.30pm for almost an hour which is a long time for me. The other great sessions I've had have been in the morning . I wonder if the morning would have been even better. It was a good lesson in getting a good view by picking the time and the place and not just setting up where and when its convenient.



Edited by Paz
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