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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know how you fare with seeing aurorae!
You can see the dark lines projecting out from the spot with a Coronado PST using a 6mm fl Zhumell eyepiece. (Those fuzzy dirt spots you see when you rotate the eyepiece aren't on the Sun. They aren't a problem at night.) Chunks of the prominences are starting to break off too, I think. Blobs of gas are way out there from the solar surface. It is getting active all of a sudden. I should probably get out the 90 mm Coronado. I need some exercise and you can't see much in the closet. If I were you up there in the North Dave, I would stock up on bottled water, candles, and KitKats. They are more valuable than gold coins after the electricity is out for a couple of weeks. And after they get stale in a few years after the solar cycle wanes, you can recycle them on Halloween to unsuspecting trick or treaters.
My laptop is making some strange warning type sounds. A CME warning from Microsoft? Or a warning from the Almighty?