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.
Check out this cool animation of Saturn's rings made by .
Credit:= NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Being able to get plants to grow in the harsh environment of microgravity will be one of the biggest challenges to human spaceflight. If scientists can get the biology right, we'll have air, clean water, and food. We'll be able to travel further and last longer.
But low gravity does crazy things to plants. Here's a cool video from the on what's involved.
I'd love to be a space gardener. :-)
People have wondered if there are some kinds of natural explanation for why Westeros in Game of Thrones might experience these extreme weather shifts, and have winters that arrive at unpredictable times.
Here's a great video from that offers some ideas. And if you want an even more detailed explanation, check out this video:
Why is Winter Coming (Game of Thrones) - Deep Sky Videos
Stop what you're doing and watch this video of the F9R rocket taking off, rising to an altitude of 250 meters, and then landing again. Each time we see one of these tests, SpaceX is getting closer to the dream of a reusable spacecraft.
I love the hexacopter footage... where do I get one of these?
So here's something interesting you might want to watch. Saturn is going to pass behind the Moon in a little bit. It'll only be visible in a few parts of the Earth, including Brazil. is going to be broadcasting it live.
You know me, I'm a total sucker for timelapses. Here's a video by the amazing of the recent lunar eclipse which he captured from a dark sky location in California.
You can see how the moon gets chomped by the shadow and then turns red when it's completely covered by the Earth's shadow.
I was in flight when the eclipse began, but I was able to see most of it once I landed.
Did you get a chance to see the eclipse?
As we near the lunar eclipse we're thinking about the Moon. And thinking about the landings on the Moon. But how do we know they weren't faked? It's a puzzler.
Watch a livestream version of the lunar eclipse, courtesy of and friends.
Tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse tonight in the Western Hemisphere.
will be heading to Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA to do some on-site outreach with Dr. . Internet permitting, we'll be attempting to bring in a live feed of the lunar eclipse from LA and hopefully connect with our friends from the and bring in feeds from there too!
If you're in the Los Angeles area, you are more than welcome to join us on site. The event starts at 10:30 p.m. PT and parking is free after 10 p.m.
Cerritos College: 11190 Alondra Blvd. Norwalk, CA 90650
Parking Lot C-6 off of Studebaker, just south of Alondra Blvd.
Not local? That's okay too! Share with us your pictures of the eclipse in the event below!
Keep Looking Up!
#ScienceEveryday #Space #Astronomy #Eclipse #LunarEclipse
- Universe TodayPublisher, 1999 - presentUniverse Today (http://www.universetoday.com) is one of the most popular space and astronomy news websites, with more than 3 million visitors a month. The site covers breaking news in spaceflight, astronomical science and gives you tips and tricks for amateur skywatchers.
- Astronomy CastCo-Host, 2007 - 2013Astronomy Cast (http://www.astronomycast.com) is a weekly podcast co-hosted by Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay. Each week we focus on a different topic in space and astronomy, explaining the science in a friendly and accessible way.
- Astrosphere New MediaDirector, 2007 - 2013Astrosphere New Media Association is dedicated to promoting science and skeptical thought through internet-based technologies and distribution. We focus our efforts on the creation of technologies and content that enable better astronomy communications and greater astronomy content access for the public.
- Communicate.comVP Operations, 1996 - 2000
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- North Island College
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