Daily Archives: July 4, 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. July 4, 2014

There are currently 9 sunspot groups visible, with NOAA 2104 and 2109 the largest and magnetically most complex regions. Only 1 C-class flare was recorded. This C2.4 flare peaked at 05:37UT and had its source in NOAA 2109. A long filament near the west limb became unstable and mostly disappeared overnight (3-4 July), however no obvious CME was observed. Some subflaring activity in the long filament near NOAA 2106 was observed around 09:30UT.
C-class flares are expected, with a chance on a strong flare from especially NOAA 2104 and 2109.
Solar wind speed remained fairly constant around 350 km/s. Bz was mostly negative between 21:00 and 08:00UT, and positive for the rest of the period. Its value varied between -5 and +4 nT. Quiet geomagnetic conditions were observed and are expected to remain so.

Equipment: Coronado 90 +  Imaging Source DMK  + LX75
Processing: Photoshop, Avistack 300 frames
Date: 07/04/14
Time UT: 16:00
Exposure 1/500 sec.

Observatory Sponli


OCO-2 Night Launch 

Image Credit & Copyright: Rick Baldridge

 In this alluring time exposure, star trails arc across the night sky above foggy Monterey Bay and the lights of Santa Cruz, California in the United States of America. Since the exposure began around 2:56am PDT on July 2 it also records the trail of a Delta II rocket lofting NASA’s OCO-2 spacecraft into orbit. Seen from a vantage point 200 miles north of the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site, the trail represents the first five minutes of the rocket’s flight along a trajectory south and west over the Pacific to join the A-Train in polar orbit around planet Earth.2014DeltaOCO2Baldridge221crop The entire trail through main engine cut-off is captured, with a very faint puff at the end marking the nose fairing separation. Under the rocket’s path, the two brightest trails are the alpha and beta stars of the constellation Grus, flying high in southern skies. The OCO-2 mission goal is a study of atmospheric carbon dioxide, watching from space as planet Earth breathes.

NASA APOD 04-Jul-14

M101: Pinwheel Galaxy


M101 is a relatively large galaxy compared to the Milky Way. With a diameter of 170,000 light-years it is seventy percent larger than the Milky Way. It has a disk mass on the order of 100 billion solar masses, along with a small central bulge of about 3 billion solar masses.

M101 is noted for its high population of H II regions, many of which are very large and bright. H II regions usually accompany the enormous clouds of high density molecular hydrogen gas contracting under their own gravitational force where stars form. H II regions are ionized by large numbers of extremely bright and hot young stars; those in M101 are capable of creating hot superbubbles. In a 1990 study, 1264 H II regions were cataloged in the galaxy. Three are prominent enough to receive New General Catalogue numbers – NGC 5461, NGC 5462, and NGC 5471.

M101 is a asymmetrical due to the tidal forces from interactions with its companion galaxies. These gravitational interactions compress interstellar hydrogen gas, which then triggers strong star formation activity in M101’s spiral arms that can be detected in ultraviolet images.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Ian King Ikharos 8″ RC
Imaging cameras: Atik 314L+
Mounts: Software Bisque Paramount MX
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion Mini 50mm Guide Scope
Guiding cameras: QHYCCD QHY5
Software: PixInsight, Software Bisque CCDSoft 5, Software Bisque TheSkyX, iLanga AstroPlanner, Matt Thomas’s CCDCommander
Filters: Baader Luminance 36mm, Baader Red, Green, Blue 36mm
Accessories: Atik EFW2
Dates: March 15, 2013
Frames: 100×300″
Integration: 8.3 hours

Author: Colin McGill
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 04 July 2014