Daily Archives: August 24, 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. August 24, 2014

Solar activity continued to be low with a handful of C flares. The two most prominent were again, like yesterday, from NOAA AR 2146 and NOAA AR 2149. A C6 flare peaking at 17:27 UT originated from NOAA AR 2146 and a C5.5 flare peaking at 5:02 UT originated from NOAA AR 2149. Both were  associated with eruptions but no earth directed CME’s were detected in coronagraph images. Low solar activity with C flares and a chance for an M flare is expected to continue.Solar wind conditions were nominal. Solar wind speed dropped steadily from around 310 km/s at the start of the reporting period to around 270 km/s currently. Total magnetic field was variable in the 1.5 to 6 nT range with Bz also variable in the +-4nT range. The phi angle was mostly positive (away).  Geomagnetic conditions were quiet with a local unsettled period around UT noon August 23 (NOAA Kp=1 throughout the period while local K Dourbes between 0-3). Nominal solar wind conditions and quiet geomagnetic conditions are expected to continue until the combined arrival of the August 22 CME’s expected from the afternoon of August 26 onwards. This may be associated with active geomagnetic conditions.


Mercury’s Transit: An Unusual Spot on the Sun 

Image Credit & Copyright: David Cortner

 What’s that dot on the Sun? If you look closely, it is almost perfectly round. The dot is the result of an unusual type of solar eclipse that occurred in 2006. Usually it is the Earth’s Moon that eclipses the Sun. This time, the planet Mercury took a turn. Like the approach to New Moon before a solar eclipse, the phase of Mercury became a continually thinner crescent as the planet progressed toward an alignment with the Sun. Eventually the phase of Mercury dropped to zero and the dark spot of Mercury crossed our parent star. The situation could technically be labeled a Mercurian annular eclipse with an extraordinarily large ring of fire. From above the cratered planes of the night side of Mercury, the Earth appeared in its fullest phase. Hours later, as Mercury continued in its orbit, a slight crescent phase appeared again. The next Mercurian solar eclipse will occur in 2016.

APOD NASA 24-Aug-14

Whirlpool Galaxy M51

531a76989d5fff0d26a80c5d81a60ff5.1824x0_q100_watermark_watermark_opacity-15_watermark_position-6_watermark_text-Copyright Stefan Westphal
The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51aM51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting grand-design spiral galaxy with a Seyfert 2 active galactic nucleus in the constellation Canes Venatici. Recently it was estimated to be 23 ± 4 million light-years from the Milky Way, but different methods yield distances between 15 and 35 million ly. Messier 51 is one of the best known galaxies in the sky. The galaxy and its companion (NGC 5195) are easily observed by amateur astronomers, and the two galaxies may even be seen with binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Orion Optics UK SPX 250
Imaging cameras: Artemis Atik 383L+
Mounts: Vixen New Atlux + Skysensor 2000
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion Optics UK SPX 250
Guiding cameras: M-Gen Guiding Kamera
Focal reducers: GPU Komakorrektor
Software: Fitswork4, Adobe Photoshop CS2
Filters: Baader Planetarium Ha 36mm 7nm, Baader Planetarium 36mm Luminance, Baader Planetarium 36mm Red, Baader Planetarium 36mm Green, Baader Planetarium 36mm Blue
Accessories: Lacerta MGEN2
Dates: March 8, 2014, March 20, 2014
Locations: Kreben
Baader Planetarium 36mm Blue: 9×600″ -20C bin 1×1
Baader Planetarium 36mm Green: 8×600″ -20C bin 1×1
Baader Planetarium 36mm Luminance: 16×600″ -20C bin 1×1
Baader Planetarium 36mm Red: 9×600″ -20C bin 1×1
Baader Planetarium Ha 36mm 7nm: 5×900″ -20C bin 1×1
Integration: 8.2 hours
Darks: ~24
Flats: ~60
Bias: ~150

Author: Stefan Westphal
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 24 Aug 2014