2011 08 26 – Solar h-alpha, NE Prominence and NOAAs 11277 and 11279

We went from one designated active region yesterday to six today: 1271, 1272, 1275, 1277, 1278, and 1279. From yesterday’s observation with what looked like a new active region forming, today has been designated as active regions 1277 and 1279. I’ve sketched them both along with a beautiful extensive prominence slightly north of them. An area of prominence was observed yesterday in that same area.

Sketches created scope-side with black Strathmore Artagain paper, Conte’ pastel crayon, Prang color pencil, black oil pencil.

The view I did manage today of the solar disk was loaded with plage and filaments. The clouds made sketching nearly impossible today so I eventually packed up even though I had planned on doing a full-disk sketch in both h-alpha and white light. It’s due to clear up again tonight, so I may try to observe comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd).

Here’s a link to what’s happening on the Sun today: Spaceweather 2011 08 26 A coronal hole has opened up earlier this morning and solar wind should reach Earth in a few days. Anyone living up north should be on the look out for aurora activity.

Of particular interest to me is that a paper has been released in Science magazine: Detection of Emerging Sunspot Regions in the Solar Interior I initially found a post by Tony Phillips on the NASA Science News site regarding it. NASA Science News, Aug. 2011 Sunspot Breakthrough. Fascinating stuff. When sunspots are approximately 60km below the surface of the Sun (about 2 days away from emergence), they can sometimes be detected by “time-distance helioseismology2,” or in other words acoustic measurements via vibrations on the surface.

Submerged sunspots have a detectable effect on the sun’s inner acoustics—namely, sound waves travel faster through a sunspot than through the surrounding plasma. A big sunspot can leapfrog an acoustic wave by 12 to 16 seconds. “By measuring these time differences, we can find the hidden sunspot.” Ilonidis says the technique seems to be most sensitive to sunspots located about 60,000 km beneath the sun’s surface. The team isn’t sure why that is “the magic distance,” but it’s a good distance because it gives them as much as two days advance notice that a spot is about to reach the surface.

So far 5 have been detected before submergence, 4 by SOHO and 1 by SDO. This could really be a breakthrough for space weather forecasting!

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~ by Erika Rix on August 26, 2011.

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