Mother’s Day: AR1476 and her “children”

Photo: Sunspots on May 13, 2012. Photo by James Guilford.
AR1476 and her “children” on the face of the Sun. Photo by James Guilford.

Sunday, May 13 dawned reasonably clear and so, with cloudy skies anticipated, a few rushed observations were made of our Sun. AR1476 continues to dominate the solar disk through it has been joined by several smaller but notable sunspots. A CME was Earthbound and expected within a few hours with minimal effects expected. Also visible in this photo are granulation and other disturbances in the solar atmosphere. The photo above was made by CAA member James Guilford: Canon EOS 50D: ISO 400, f/8, 1/1,250 sec., 400mm, AstroZap white light film solar filter, May 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM.

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CME on its way though aim is off a bit

Photo: Sunspot group AR1476, May 2012, by Jay Reynolds.
AR 1476 as photographed May 10 through the clouds by Jay Reynolds.

Sunspot group AR1476 finally spit out a coronal mass ejection (CME) though perhaps a bit late for a direct shot at Earth. The active region has been the focus of much attention from solar-interested scientists and amateur astronomers of every ilk. The huge grouping is rotating away from the center of the Sun’s disk and will soon pass over its limb. In the mean time, clouds and inclement weather are moving into the Northeastern Ohio area, obscuring the fascinating markings … visible to the unaided (but properly-protected) eye.

SpaceWeather.com reports: “On May 11th at 23:54 UT, a coronal mass ejection raced away from the sun faster than 1000 km/s. The fast-moving cloud will deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on May 14th around 14:30 UT, according to a revised forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab. Mars is also in the line of fire.”

Photo Notes: AR 1476 as photographed through the clouds May 10, 2012, by Jay Reynolds who was birding when lake effect clouds reduced the brightness enough to get this photo. Canon 400mm telephoto, 1/1,250sec., f/13. Extreme caution is warranted when photographing the Sun. A clearing in the clouds or a hole in a solar filter can instantly and permanently damage the eyes.