Sunspots and Proms March 25th 2022. From Killadoon Co Mayo Ireland. Active Regions 2975 & 2976 (big sunspot) a drawing in pastel and Conte on 200 gsm paper. 12:20 UT – 13:00 UT. PST h- alpha /40 / 8mm eyepiece/50 X . Seeing 4 /5 at times. Not rotated.
Draiocht ar on Ghrian means Magic on the Sun in Irish.
The sun is always busy shifting energy around itself and from inside itself over time to its atmospheres. As a side order it spends time sending its light to do wonders for life on Earth. Our star goes through relatively quiet and relatively active cycles every eleven years: a minimum and maximum status. Right now, the sun is in its maximum phase, and it is producing active regions. Inside these active regions are sunspots; these are cooler areas on the sun. Again I must use the word relative as the sunspots are at circa 4,200 degrees C and the surrounding areas are at circa 5,500 degrees C. Sunspots appear darker because they are cooler. Sunspots are jam-packed with magnetic forces.
Sometimes, active regions become so potent that they release massive amounts of energy away from the sun. These are called CMEs or Coronal Mass Ejections. Meaning the ejection of energy comes from the sun’s corona in the vicinity of sunspots.
A little white light
AR2975 is the meek and mild – looking area to the left of the big sunspot 2976 in my white light drawing above. To see this I used my 200mm white light filter attached to my dob telescope to observe the same active regions in a different way. Neither drawing is rotated. The white light filter shows more detail in the umbra and penumbra of the sunspots.
Solar Draiocht AR2975
I was fortunate to observe the active region 2976 and AR2975 this week on a few consecutive days. On March 28th, the sun emitted a CME from the area around sunspot number AR2975. Its energy particles will interact with the Earth’s atmosphere late on March 30th or in the early hours of March 31st. Two other exuberant solar launches will dance with Earth’s atmosphere on April 1st and may be spectacuar.
When I observed AR2975 on March 28th, there was lots of visible activity around 2975. Gorgeous rivers of plage with several super bright areas oozing energy to the eye. A drawing was produced however I was not happy with it.
This was because our atmosphere did not stay still enough to give me a sharp view. Plus I tried to merge drawing magnetically arranged fibrils with everything else all in the one h-alpha view. Back to the drawing board as they say, more thought required.
If you are lucky, your country may enjoy a rare sighting of the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights. These are a visual display of the interaction of solar energy particles with the Earth’s atmosphere. With no cloud and luck, the aurora will produce colours and shapes that bring joy to all who see them. You could download this app to keep you informed of possible displays. Watch the home page KP index on the app if it climbs to 6 or above you are in the zone. Space Weather Live app for your phone Good luck.
There is a lot of action on the sun at the moment so if you have a PST telescope for observing then get it out and start looking. If you do not have such an instrument then contact your local astronomy club to see if they can give you a view.