Image Credit: NASA’s GSFC, SDO AIA Team
What’s happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual — it just threw a filament. Toward the middle of 2012, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active regioncan be seen above the erupting filament in the ultraviolet image. Over the past week the number of sunspots visible on the Sun unexpectedly dropped to zero, causing speculation that the Sun has now passed a very unusualsolar maximum, the time in the Sun’s 11-year cycle when it is most active.
APOD NASA 20-Jul-14
The Lagoon Nebula (catalogued as Messier 8 or M8, and as NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. It is classified as an emission nebula and as a H II region.
The Lagoon Nebula is estimated to be between 4,000-6,000 light years from the Earth. In the sky of Earth, it spans 90′ by 40′, translates to an actual dimension of 110 by 50 light years. Like many nebulas, it appears pink in time-exposure color photos but is gray to the eye peering through binoculars or a telescope, human vision having poor color sensitivity at low light levels. The nebula contains a number of Bok globules (dark, collapsing clouds of protostellar material).
Imaging telescopes or lenses: GSO Newton 12″ f/4
Imaging cameras: ATIK 11000m
Mounts: Skywatcher EQ8
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion 50 mm mini guider
Guiding cameras: Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager & Autoguider
Focal reducers: ASA Wynne 3″ Corrector 0.95x
Software: photoshop, CCDStack, Maxim DL
Filters: Orion 2” LRGB filter set, Baader Ha 2″
Dates: April 4, 2014
Integration: 1.6 hours
Author: Paul Storey
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 20 July 2014