Sunny Hawaii

 Sunny Hawaii

A unique sunspot grouping, AR963, emerged this week and has been dubbed by some “the
Hawaiian Islands”. The large ‘island’ is about the size of Neptune and all the little ones are each about the size of Earth. Atmospheric conditions prevented anything but brief glimpses at the Sun through heavy clouds and gusty winds.

This grouping is definitely one to keep an eye on!

The Sun with AR963
100mm acromat refractor at 48x (25mm Plossl + 2x Barlow).
Graphite pencil on white paper, blending stumps.

Andrew English

Four days in the life of a sunspot

sunspot 0953 

Here is a small sequence of observations of sunspot 0953 made during 4 days. 0953
turned out to be one of the bigger sunspots of recent time.

Time : see sketches
Scope : ETX 105/1470
Vixen LV Zoom eyepiece at 8mm
Power : 183
Filter : Baader AstroSolar filter.
Seeing : 2/5

Sketch Orientation : N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with a digital tablet and PhotoPaint, based on a raw pencil sketch.
Rony De Laet, my personal website.

Magnetic markers


Living in the UK one has to embrace every opportunity to get the pencils out and
enjoy a little astro sketching as breaks in the cloud cover can be frustratingly
For me this includes capturing Sun spots in white light when the sun shines and
I’m close to my observatory with a few quiet minutes to spare.
I caught the complex Sun Spot group 956 during the afternoon of Saturday 19th May
as it transited the meridian.
  Antares 105mm F15 Achromatic refractor
  Baader solar film white light filter
  Denk binoviewer with Celestron Axiom 23mm eyepieces
  Magnification of 163X
  Cartridge paper, HB Derwent pencil & blending stump.
  Image scanned and mirror flipped.
  Dale Holt, Hertfordshire, UK

Sunny side up


The Sun with ARs 953 & 954

After many frustrating weeks of poor conditions, things finally let up long enough
for me to catch a few sketches of the Sun with its (also long-awaited) recent
sunspot activity. These sister ARs are quite impressive, and 953 is the largest I’ve
seen in my short observing career. I can’t wait for Solar Maximum! -æ

(Sketches done in graphite pencil (HB & 3B) on 70# sketch paper.)

Andrew English

Drawings From an Antique Textbook

Solar prominences sunspots and lunar view 

Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (12/26/1827- 4/22/1895) was French born (Aisne, France)
Astronomer/Artist that came to the United States of America in 1852 with his family.
After seeing his drawings, the directory of Harvard College Observatory invited
him to join the staff as a  member in 1872.  During his astronomy years he made
thousands of excellent illustrations and particularly enjoyed drawing the sun.
Sixteen years before his death he returned to France and died in Meudon, France.
In the history of biology and particularly entomology (study of insects) he was
the person  know to accidently release a collection of Gypsy moth larvae into the
woods in Medford, Massachusetts. He was attempting by experimental cross breeding
to give disease prone silk moths the disease resistance of Gypsy moths imported
from Europe. Gypsy moths spread westward and northward and remain a pest insect in
North America to this day.   A 9 km lunar crater on the south wall of Vallis Alpes is named for him.
The attached solar drawing by Trouvelot is between pages 10 and 11 as Plate II in
David P. Todd’s, A New Astronomy © 1897, American Book Company

Solar prominences sunspots and lunar view  
The second drawing by Trouvelot is between pages 282 and 283 as Plate V-Solar
Prominences in David P. Todd’s, A New Astronomy © 1897, American Book Company

Solar prominences sunspots and lunar view 

As mentioned in the preface on page 4 some of the illustrations have been
re-engraved from the Lehrbuch der Kosmischen Physik of Miller and Peters. A number
of drawings in this text are not credited. One titled a “Typical Lunar Landscape
(full Earth) is the third drawing attached.

 Frank McCabe

A satellite runs through it

 The Sun with AR923 & 924

The Sun with AR923 & 924

The Sun in white light with active regions 923 & 924: November 19, 2006
100mm achromat refractor with 10mm Plössl e/p & MV filter for contrast.
From Albuquerque, NM (36N 106W).

(2nd frame: mysterious satellite transit at 2132UT; RA 15:40:32, Dec. 19° 35.15′)

Sketch medium: graphite on paper.

Andy English

A daisy in the field

AR 756 Sunspot sequence

What a difference a day makes

This pair of sunspot drawings hails from the tail end of activity of the current solar cycle. The weekend of May 1st and 2nd 2005 consisted of two ‘blue sky’ days here in southern England, and I had the chance to observe and sketch the Sun in white light on both of them, recording the intriguing changes to AR 756 that occurred in just over 19 hours. I used graphite pencil on white cartridge paper, my favourite medium for this kind of target. For each sketch I drew the umbra first, then added the penumbral region with lighter pencil strokes drawn from the umbra outwards, with the pores being added last. The seeing conditions were very steady and not a breath of wind was to be had while I spent a happy (but very hot!) hour in front of the eyepiece each day.

Sally Russell

Sketch details: 

Date: 1st and 2nd May  2005   

Time: 14.20-15.30 UT & 10.05-11.15 UT respectively 

Equipment: 105mm AstroPhysics APO, 9mm TV Nagler, 2 x Barlow (mag x135),

Kendrick white light filter

Additional accessories: Large brimmed straw hat and a cold drink!                                                     

Medium: Graphite pencil on white cartridge paper                                                                                     

Each image size: approx. 1.5″ x 1.5″

Radiant spectacle

The Sun with Sunspot groups 484,486, and 488

Today, March 2, 2007, the sunspot number is zero.

The sunspot number on October 28, 2003 was 238. An X-17 solar flare erupted that morning. Sunspot groups 484,486, and 488 were associated with Coronal Mass Ejections and auraural activity. The attached watercolor was based upon a white-light solar image captured with a 4″ refracting telescope, a white-light-solar filter, and a digital camera. The image of the sun with sunspots 484, 486, and 488 was processed in Photoshop and then printed. In a photocoping machine a transparancy was made. The transparancy was placed on an overhead projector and the projected image was traced and colored with watercolor pencils. Then, with a brush, water was added to the sunspots and to the remaining surface and background.

If the use of an “overhead projector” sounds like something from a school project, it was. Students at the A.R. Gould School in South Portland, Maine have used this process numerous times to document their observations.

… just a thought about tracing. In the late ’90s, I sent a cardboard-box camera obscura to Betty Edwards, the author of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. In her book she recommends that one should try to copy an image that is upside down; she suggests that that may allow the observer/drawer to see what is there and not what one expects to be there. In the camera obscura that I constructed, the image was projected upside down. In our conversations I asked her about the whether she thought tracing was drawing. She said that if two people were to trace the same thing that the finished drawings would be different, because drawing is about how we see things. (She also said that tracing allowed muscles to build muscle memory. I suppose that that is similar to practicing scales in music.)

John Stetson