Tuesday, 3 March 2015

"Here comes the Sun"... and it is so detailed!

Hi all,

I had not seen through a dedicated Hydrogen alpha solar scope until May last year.  That was an extraordinary experience for me too.  I had that scope all to myself for half an hour, and to see prominences on the Sun change so quickly in that time was staggering to behold.  To think that the Sun's diameter is roughly 300,000km and to see those prominences move so quickly, those jets of plasma must be moving soooo fast!!!!

I have been considering getting a dedicated solar scope since then.  But they are so expensive, and it means getting ANOTHER scope.  The solution presented itself when I came across an article on the Daystar Quark solar filter - I will post a review of this device in the Bits and Bobs page in the next couple of days as this is not the page for this right now.

I've also been experimenting with different techniques of sketching the Sun.  I'v wanted to keep using black paper as the substrate, so soft pastels were a must for the vibrancy of their colours.  And as it turns out, the method I've come up with for solar sketching is a happy mix of the Mellish Technique and the technique I use for sketching the Moon!  Brilliant!

Below is the sketch I did today using the Daystar Quark.  A spectacular spicule on the solar limb made for a perfect subject.  The base of the spicule was very detailed with a small bright jet of plasma shooting up beside the long spicule, and smaller jets around it too.  The spicule itself was very details, with two distinct branches that slowly feathered out and arced back down  - maybe this was a faint prominence instead.  Either way, it made for a lovely vista.  Another spicule was visible a little further up along the limb too.  A little artistic license here too as I added a sunspot and its associated plages - these features were present on the Sun, but a little beyond the scope of the sketch, but I added them to the sketch to make a record of the view and to gain more experience with sketching these.

I am sure that this piece will be the first of many more solar sketches I will do.  Such a fabulous subject, the Sun.


Object:  Solar spicule
Telescope:  100mm f/5 refractor stopped down to 50mm f/10
Gear:  Daystar Quark prominence filter, 25mm plossl, 84X
Date:  3rd March, 2015
Location:  Sydney, Australia
Media:  Soft pastels