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The Sun - almost spotless by Duncan Waldron
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Shooting through a low-power eyepiece on a 150mm refractor, the Sun’s full disk was recorded on 2010 June 12th, around 15:30 AEST. There was quite a bit of heat shimmer at the time, but 2 small sunspot groups have been recorded; they can be seen towards the right side of the disk, positioned about 2- and 4 o’clock. Here’s the lower group:

Sunspots are cooler areas on the Sun, associated with magnetic field effects. Typically, they are around 1,500 degrees C cooler than the rest of the surface, which is around 6,000 degrees C. Sunspots have been notably absent for much of the past 2 years, and are only recently starting to make an appearance again, as the Sun heads towards solar maximum, and greater numbers of spots. Each spot or group of spots typically lasts for a few days, but large ones can be visible for more than a full rotation of the Sun.

The gradual darkening of the Sun’s disk towards the edge (limb darkening) can be seen quite clearly; this is caused by the Sun’s light having to pass through thicker layers of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, compared to the light coming from the centre of the disk.

The Sun is our nearest star, at around 150 million km (93 million miles) away from Earth; at this distance, its light takes a little over 8 minutes to reach us. It is an almost perfectly spherical globe around 1.4 million km (865,000 miles) in diameter, and rotates on its axis approximately once every 4 weeks.

For a couple more images (Moon & Saturn), see the blog

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Image Copyright Duncan Waldron © 2010
This image may not be reproduced without permission
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Tags

astronomy, disk, orange, round, solar, summer, sun, sunny, sunspot, yellow

Comments

  • vampvamp
    vampvampabout 4 years ago

    wow.

  • TheWalkerTouch
    TheWalkerTouchabout 4 years ago

    You are the sunshine of my life. Nice shot Duncan and nice to see you back!

  • Don’t be daft, woman! Mind you, this might be the only sun you’ll see for a month, if I know British weather ;-) Hoping to do more of these, at higher quality, so watch this space. I’ll try not to be so absent :D

    – Duncan Waldron

  • Soxy Fleming
    Soxy Flemingabout 4 years ago

    tell me what sunspots are please : )

  • Of course – I’ll edit the description :)

    – Duncan Waldron

  • jemimalovesbigted
    jemimalovesbigtedabout 4 years ago

    haha! classic, I didn’t realise that you had taken it down… I just thought that it hadn’t posted. Sorry to offend…

    How about – this is brilliant!

  • Thanks jlbt – given how casually I went about shooting it, it’s a wonder it turned out this well. Just wait till I do it properly! I might put a close-up in the description.

    – Duncan Waldron

  • Cate Townsend
    Cate Townsendabout 4 years ago

    Hi Duncan … this is amazing! Hope you guys are all well and having lots of fun.

  • Strange – I replied to this yesterday. Thanks Cate; yes, we’re all well, and having as much fun as I suspect we ought to be … some possibly more than others, when they should be working :)

    – Duncan Waldron

  • Prasad
    Prasadalmost 4 years ago

    Excellent work here :)

  • Rosalie Dale
    Rosalie Dalealmost 4 years ago

    Amazing!

  • S .
    S .almost 4 years ago

    wow … quite an incredible shot here duncan… amazing image

  • Jennifer Hulbert-Hortman
    Jennifer Hulbe...almost 4 years ago

    WOW is right! Excellent capture.

  • greenstone
    greenstonealmost 4 years ago

    amazing shot!!! wow!!!

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