Solar Astronomy on March 10, 2012

•March 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I set up my telescope in solar astronomy mode yesterday in my very small backyard. I was able to observe the Sun in visible light and H-alpha light for a couple of hours. I imaged a large sunspot group that is associated with the solar flares we have been hearing about these past few days.

The photo shown here is of the largest sunspot group seen that day. I am amazed by the detail that shows up after processing. You can see granulation on the surface of the photosphere, and in the sunspot group you can see portions of sunspots being stretched by magnetic field lines. At this point in the 11-year solar cycle, the sun is attractive to both professional and amateur solar astronomers as it shows a lot of activity. I have read that after my imaging session , there were two solar flares. Too bad I took the setup down too soon. Maybe I will get lucky nest time around. I would love to image a solar flare in the H-Alpha telescope. 

Here is the large sunspot group along with a sketch with features labeled that I got from the 150 foot solar tower at Mt. Wilson observatory:



New Lecture on Comet 2012 S1 ISON in Downey, CA

•November 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

05 nov

I will be giving a 30 to 45 minute lecture on the apparition of Comet C/2012 S1 ISON at the Columbia Memorial Center in Downey, California on Saturday, November 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Outreach at Seal Beach Pier Park

•June 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The small seaside community of Seal Beach has an astronomy outreach event once a month. I attended the star party that was held on Saturday, June 15, and about seven telescopes were set up with their operators. I set my 10 inch SCT up after making seven trips from my vehicle lugging it all over to the park. My friend Gary Ortlieb took a lot of photos, so hopefully soon I can post them here.

Solar Astronomy Outreach at Hermosa Beach Strand

•May 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I set up the Coronado Helios H-Alpha Solar Telescope on a portable German Equitorial Mount and let about 50 people view the Sun throughout the afternoon of Sunday, May 19 2013. Many of the clients were visitors from other countries. Next time I will set up my entire solar astronomy rig, including the 10 inch SCT with Baader Solar Filter.

Possible flare

IMHelios at Hermosa Beach Strand_0264 sm

Solar astronomy outreach, partial eclipse at Signal Hill, CA

•June 4, 2012 • 2 Comments

Two other Telescopes In Education (TIE) alumni volunteers set up or solar telescopes at Hilltop park in Signal Hill, California to view and share the eclipse with onlookers. We had about 150 to 200 people show up out of nowhere to see it. Carrol brought his classic C-8 Celestron SCT and April brought her vintage Celestron Ultima 2000. I set up my Meade LX250 Frankensocpe SCT with the venerable TIE Helios 1 H-alpha solar telescope. On addition I set up my short tube Celestron FirstScope refractor with a Sun Funnel, which made it easy for people to view the eclipse and take photos. People were even holding up their children and posing next to it. Here a young woman poses with a smile, standing next to my sun funnel which is displaying a Cheshire-cat like grin.Young woman poses next to grinning solar eclipse of May 20, 2012

Sunspot group, March 10 2012

•March 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sunspot group, March 10 2012

Sunspot group imaged from my backyard with my telescope in solar astronomy mode. I used my cheapo Canon Powershot A260 digital camera hard attached to my ten inch SCT.

Ready for Astronomy Outreach Season

•March 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Thanks to a generous contribution my Meade Instruments, who supplied me with a free replacement AutoStarII handbox for my telescope, I am getting ready for the 2012 season of astronomy outreach.

First up is an appearance of my telescope at the Long Beach Downtown Art Walk on Linden Avenue between First and Broadway streets. I intend to run the telescope from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. In April I am coordinating with a local Meetup Group for a joint astronomy outreach on Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 18 at Bluff park in Long Beach.

In addition I am gearing up for the partial solar eclipse (partial as seen from Long Beach) on May 20th from Hilltop park in Signal Hill, California, and enclave community within Long Beach. I am coordinating with the Science Department at Wilson High School for students to view the eclipse for extra credit.

On June 5th 2012 in the afternoon a once in a liftetime event happens. The planet Venus will pass in front of the Sun, from our point of view. This is called a transit, and it will be visible in my telescope, which may be set up again on Hilltop Park in Signal Hill, weather permitting. This is the time of year when overcast skies are common in Los Angeles. If this is the case I will have to travel to a remote mountaintop to view this event.

The Second Saturdays in June, July, August and September are the dates for the Long Beach Park Jam at Caesar Chavez Park. I wlll be setting up my telescope there, if the weather cooperates.

The biannual Colorado Street Bridge Party in Old Town Pasadena is on Saturday July 14th. Traditionally, I set up my telescope with other Telescopes In Education Foundation volunteers for viewing from 6 to 11 p.m.

This is only a provisional schedule. More events my come up. As usual, I intend to have as many people look at the Universe through my telescope as possible.