Here comes the Sun(spots)

Photo: Sunspot Group by Christopher Christe.
Sunspot group AR1476 via telescope & smartphone by Christopher Christe

A string of clear-sky days has allowed amateur astronomers to get a good look at a string of sunspots. AR1476 was rotating towards the center of the Solar disk on Thursday, May 10, when CAA member Christopher Christe aimed his telescope (a six-inch Newtonian) for a look. Protected using a Baader solar filter, Chris could clearly see the huge sunspot group and, holding the lens of his camera-equipped smartphone to the eyepiece, shot a photo. As smartphone cameras become more common and continue to improve, we are seeing them employed in astrophotography more often.

Today (May 11) AR1476 was aimed squarely at Earth. made the following comments: “NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-class solar flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Any eruptions are likely to be geoeffective because the source, sunspot AR1476, is directly facing our planet.”