Standard warning for random readers: it is very dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or telescope – immediate permanent blindness is the likely outcome. NEVER look at the sun unless you have a solar filter or solar scope bought from an approved astronomy dealer, and have the advice of experienced astronomers.
I wanted to see how the big sunspot groups were getting on today and I cooked gently while observing. The stormy trail now stretches across most of the sun’s southern hemisphere. Group 1784 is moving away towards the limb, while the huge conglomeration 1785/1788 has rotated towards the meridian, with a new group of sunspots emerging to the south and another small one (just visible in my image) rolling along behind. The detail is spectacular, and the scale boggles the mind.
Again, I tried to capture some of this with my little Canon Powershot, and I seem now to have the correct formula of 20 mm eyepiece, ND filter, positioning and not wobbling, as I found I had a couple of dozen decent full disc images. It took me some time to inspect them, and I don’t have image-processing software, relying on crude tweaks to exposure and sharpness to bring out as much detail as possible. The colour in the image below is of course false (the Baader filter gives a white light image) but it seemed to show up the train of activity best.
Southern hemisphere of Sun, 09.42 UT. Active regions 1787, 1785, 1788, 1784 and two small new groups I can’t find numbers for on SOHO or Spaceweather.
It is much trickier to use a shorter eyepiece (i.e. higher magnification) for my piddling little handheld shots, as it is necessary to get the required part of the image into the sweet spot in the field of view, as well as NOT WOBBLING. This was the best I could manage, using a 12 mm eyepiece.
Detail of active regions 1787, 1785 and 1788