Image courtesy of SOHO

After an awful weekend over the last Bank holiday, the weather seems to have settled down a bit and I was able to open up on Saturday afternoon and see what the sun was up to.  A quick peek the week before, was very dissapointing,  but yesterday saw lots of activity.
Here’s the entry from my observing log.

Way hay. My first log using Skytools 3!! Way to go.

Principle groups are 1560, 1553 and 1563.

1560 made up of four components. Below 1560 group 1561 comprising of a pair of spots.

1563 comprises of 5 spot groups 1553 made up of 4 sunspots. The largest is heart shaped – the second time this shape has been noted for a shape – with large beach structure.

I  was struck by the large amount of what I will call ‘Peppering’. Lots of single spots out there on their own. The other thing I have noticed over the last few Solar observations I’ve made is most of the Solar activity taking place is in the Southern Hemisphere.  I’m not sure if this is just coincidence or something else at work here. At some point I will have to start making accurate plots of surface features using a Stonyhurst disk.

Our local astronomy club held their Summer BBQ at Sand’s place this year, and what a belter it was. A good turnout of the usual suspects, clearish skies and a run of a few scopes to boot.
Frank’s highly modified Coronado PST saw good views in H-Alpha with one large prominence, which I guess as being Sunspot 1553. Triangular in shape and it seemed to just hover slightly above the Cromasphere. With a few wisps of high cloud passing through, the view was marvellous.

Our new club scope had its grand unveiling and wowed everyone with some super views of the Moon. Loosely based on one of William Herschel’s 7ft Reflectors, the tube was constructed from Mahogany faced plywood in the form of a hexagon. Rather than go for William’s complicated and rather user unfriendly Alt/Az mount, we decided to mount the tube in the Dobsonian configuration.  The 250mm f/5 mirror and flat were salvaged from a long gone commercial scope. As they were both in reasonable condition,  we just sent them off to be re-aluminised. With a new mirror cell and a salvaged focuser from the spares box, the scope proved to be a delight to collimate and was perfectly balanced in use. Looking forward to using this scope on a decent dark sky.

After everyone left, the sky was still clear, but transparency was bad. Still, with 10 mins to spare before I closed up for the night, I had a chance to look at the Double Double or Epsilon Lyrae. Conditions were starting to fail and the Moon was in full swing so the log entry isn’t as detailed as it should be. It reads.

Both pairs don’t split in the 26mm. Skytools suggests optimum EP and 18mm SWA with Barlow,  but did in the 18mm SWA on its own. Eyepeices all dewing up now and I’m pooped. Couldn’t make out any colour differences in the Primaries.

I’ve just moved my observing log software from Astroplanner to Skytools 3. Initial results are promising, but I will cover this in more detail once I’ve had a chance to play with Skytools for a little longer.