Huge solar activity portends auroral displays

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Enormous storms on the Sun are creating great opportunities for solar viewing and imaging by amateur astronomers as they watch a monster sunspot group (1302), which is now visible to the naked eye. A significant explosion from the Sun’s corona occurred Saturday morning, September 24, and is making the possibility of tremendous auroral displays very real. Impacts have arrived in Earth’s geomagnetic field, and the huge coronal mass ejection (CME) observed over the weekend means that periods of aurorae in the north and south are likely. The weekend CME delivered a “glancing blow” to Earth, and more activity is probable.

John Chumack captured the enormous sunspot group that appears to be growing each day with two solar telescopes from his observatory near Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, September 25. The full disk shot was made with a Lunt 60mm/50F Hydrogen-alpha solar scope, a DMK 31AF04 Firewire camera, and a composite of 700 frames. The closeup was made with the same setup (2x Barlow lens added) and is a composite of 754 frames.

Send observations and images to me at editor@astronomy.com, and let us know how you fare with seeing aurorae!

Tags: Sun
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