The weather is being unseasonably kind to us here in the United Kingdom; indeed walking to work at 15:30 BST this afternoon in jeans and a t-shirt is somewhat rare at this time of year.
Thanks to the odd (but nice) weather, I was able to have my telescope set up for a few hours this morning; - I could get used to being a daylight astronomer, no tripping over cables, no freezing cold hands and no need to be accurate with alignment, indeed if it hadn't been for work, I suspect a few beers would have made it in to the session.
I am a layman when it comes to solar imaging, indeed I've not had many attempts at photographing the Sun, and every time I do, I learn something new, or have to rethink my expectations.
It's worth fighting through the mistakes, hardware glitches or horrible seeing conditions; every time I look at the Sun, it's different - and yes, whilst it's reasonable to argue that the planets and the Moon look different from night to night, nothing is quite so obvious as the Sun's changes, not over the course of days, but mere hours.
Today the Sun presented the most sunspots I have ever seen on the Earth facing side - this; combined with nice prominences made for an interesting disc to view.
Despite it being an insanely hot, radioactive, plasma ball that utterly dwarfs the Earth and will one far off day obliterate all life on Earth, I find it beautiful to look at and fluffy - no seriously it looks furry/fluffy.
The close up image of the sunspots to me demonstrates this "fluffiness" quite nicely and is to date the best photo I have taken of sunspots.
The prominence shot shows a certain "hairiness" to it, and despite it being the focus and original point of taking a photo of that region, I find the faint arcs in the upper right of the image to be much more interesting, I assume these arcs are following the otherwise invisible intense magnetic lines that twist and arc out of the Suns mass.
The full disc image, is a stitch of four images, two for the disc details and two for the prominences, this number is caused by the full disc not fitting on my cameras sensor, and the need to over expose the image to bring out the prominence details.
I'm still getting used to processing this kind of data, but I am learning that less is more, with much more subtle details being on show, compared to my prior attempts.
This is an addictive hobby, and I have much to learn, so roll on Friday, sunshine predicted and a day off work!
Conditions: Patchy Cloud, Strong Gusts, Seeing varied from 4/5 to 2/5.
Time and Location: 16/04/14 @ 10:15 BST - Mansfield, England
Optical Train: Coronado SolarMax II 60 BF10, ASI120mm, and with close ups a Meade 2x Shorty Barlow and Teleskop Service Tilt Adapter (To remove Newton Rings).
Processing: Registax, Photoshop.