"Solar Ecliptical Fun" [slogan © Jana Gayle]


For the 2 dozen or so people who came out to Sauble Beach to watch the Oct 23 partial solar eclipse, the event started off with the sun in clear blue sky. And even when clouds near the horizon interfered with the view, it did not detract from the enjoyment of the event. Two H-alpha scopes, two small reflectors and a 4-inch TeleVue refractor provided lots of variety in the closeup views but the giant sunspot was visible to the naked eye (protected by proper filters of course). That giant sunspot provided a bonus that made this eclipse particularly memorable. It appeared over the eastern limb a week ago and is currently “aimed” right at Earth . The veteran solar observers among the viewers, some going back 40 years, were amazed at the size of this group. APOD for Oct 22 had a video showing sunspot group AR 2192 crackling with flares like lightning bolts seen in Earth's clouds from the ISS. AR 2192 was reported to be 10 times the size of Jupiter which is itself 11 times larger than Earth! Incredible! Even more interesting was the observation by some that the sunspots looked like ET. One observer whimsically observed that if you looked at it upside down, it looked like a running chicken. (Names have not been divulged to relieve those folks from scorn...)

Images shown here were taken by John H. through a 4-inch TeleVue refractor, at about 80x using an afocal system (a 26 mm Plossl eyepiece). Exposure times around 1/320 s ISO 200 with a Canon 60Da camera. The last image was taken about 25 minutes before sunset and shows the dispersion of light by the atmosphere causing reddish and greenish fringes to the edges of the sun and moon's disk. Enjoy!