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Am i going mad.....


GordonCopestake
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.... Or are there no sun spots at the moment? Just spent 30 mins looking at the sun through my solar filter (white light) and my ED80 with a 9mm eyepiece. With a 600mm focal length the 9mm eyepiece lets the sun pretty much fill the entire FOV. However i was unable to see a single sun spot. I got a good crisp edge so im assuming my focus was OK and i've seen sun spots before with a similar setup (ed100 and the same solar filter). Can anyone put me out of my misery?

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There are no sunspots, but there are active regions. See the 2 areas of brighter mottling along the right side? One right at the 3:00 position, right on the limb, the other is larger and stretchesaround the 4:00 area just in from the limb. There are some smaller ones close to the 9:00 area, but they're subtle.

As I've said before, the Sun is going toward its quiet phase in the cycle. There will be periods of no sunspots for a number of years. I suggest you take a look at the SOHO website image archives and compare current images from the MDI continuum and the LASCO C3 images to see how much the surface and corona have changed, respectively, over the last 5 years. It's really quite dramatic. Let me pull some representative images for you.

I'll be back....

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Straight away, sorry for the size of these images. It's the way they come off the website.

First, check these images from 2003 and 2000. The first is from the Michelson Doppler Imager, (MDI). Essentially white light of the surface sunspots. the second is from LASCO C3 coronagraph. Aside from the labeled planets and such, check out the size or extent of the corona from the Sun. You'll also see the CME extending from the upper left quadrant.

mdi_20031028.gif

las001Gb.gif

Now, compare those with the currents, including the MDI image posted above.

latest.gif

It's easy to see the difference in the corona's intensity. This will continue until solar minimum ~2010 or until the Sun says so. :sunny: If you visit the site Steve linked today, you'll see a very nice image of a prominence taken yesterday, I think. So, there's still stuff going on up there, just not in white light. As they say at SpaceWeather, "There's really no such thing as, 'a quiet Sun'".

Cheers.

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