It was great to have a new huge active region to observe recently. This massive area of magnetic disturbance heaving its way across the solar disc was fascinating to watch. The weather smiled on Ireland, several days of sunshine in April is unusual to say the least. Active region 2738 boasted the largest sunspot in several years. Its diameter is three times that of the Earth. Across the center of the umbra is a light bridge circa 20,000 km long and circa 800 km wide. !! Drawing Active Region 2738 is a challenge indeed but it is also an opportunity to try some new ideas.
At 12:36 UT on the 10th of April, a very bright plage flare erupted from the base of two dark filaments. Then one of the filaments got very long very quickly. Then the flare subsided. It’s the yellow part of the drawing. The umbra was very dark and the surrounding penumbra seemed light red in h-alpha. Other normal plage is shown in light pink. It is very difficult to draw all the detail that comes to the eye as it is in layers. Each drawing is an experiment in trying to get it right. A corkscrew-like prom was busy off the limb. The grey dots you see there are because the fixitive spray reacted in the hot sun (very unApril)
I had hoped to do several of these white light pencil drawings and a h-alpha pencil drawing. Anyway it got a bit hazy as the morning developed. You need really good pin sharp seeing to capture features accurately.
In the h-alpha drawing above I tried to simulate what I was observing by using colour particles as close to my view as possible. This process is difficult but can produce spectacular results in good conditions.
Watch this space
The idea of drawing the very complex visible detail on the solar disc with pencil in h-alpha is daunting. However I think it will work and at the very least be a learning curve to produce better drawings.
As Active Region 2738 approaches the limb I hope to capture it in one or two experimental drawings using just pencil for all visible detail. A monochrome drawing in h-alpha. Let’s see how it goes !!