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SunSpots on the comeback

Note: NEVER look at the sun without a proper solar filter.

I'm thrilled to see more sunspots on the Sun these days. It seems a long time since you could pick any day to have a look at the Sun, and find Sunspots. That's because we're coming once again to a Sunspot maximum. Sunspots won't be at maximum for many years, but a big difference can already be seen. And its not just the number of spots that are on the rise, it's the size of them. Now, many 'naked eye' spots are regularly seen on the surface (spots that can be seen with just a sun filter and without magnification).

Here is a first try at imaging the sun with a ccd Quickcam. The 3.1" refractor at the Bowman Observatory was used. Seeing was poor. The date was Feb 14, 1999.

This was a very large spot complex... and it wasn't alone.

This second Sunspot group was seen the same day... not as big as the first group, it was still easily seen without optical aid (just a solar filter held over your eye).

Many other smaller Sunspots were also seen scattered across the Sun's surface, I just imaged the two big groups. The Sunspots were much more stunning visually than when imaged. Perhaps because of the extremely poor seeing. I can't wait to see what Solar Maximum brings!

- Rick Bria -

For a fascinating tour of the the Sun and all its internal workings, I recommend seeing The Virtual Sun