Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here Comes The Sun


At one time I had really big plans for the Sun and this blog, gonna post a lot of images and such, but alas the Sun has not been co-operating, nothing going on, little or no Sunspots, flares or prominences. I took the image of Sunspot 0999 above over a month ago. The image below is what was on Spaceweather.com today, actually been the same blank Sun for going on 6 weeks now.



A little bit of solar background, the Sun's solar activity such as sunspots, flares and prominences goes through an 11 year cycle of highs and lows, we are currently on the extra long decaying end of cycle 23, in the next few months we will see more solar activity as the Sun builds to solar maximum around 2012. At solar maximum we can expect to see upwards of 120 sunspots and intense solar flares daily as well as auroras as far south as Florida.

The Phoenix lander has been drilling into the Martian surface with it's motorized rasp on the back of it's robotic arm, collecting the sample with it's scoop and then watching and documenting the whole procedure kind of like a dress rehearsal in preparation for an actual gathering and depositing in the lander's oven when they are hoping they will finally be able to get some of that ice water into an oven to scientifically conclude ice water on Mars.

Okay now for the exciting news, NASA just released some 3D stereo views of the Martian surface around the lander. You've heard me talk before about my cardboard 3D glasses, people mock me for wearing them, actually I'm wearing them right now as I type, and yes It isn't the easiest thing to do, type while your wearing 3D glasses, but boy is it ever cool, may not look cool, but the view of the images with these glasses is, well it's like you're there, get yourself some of these glasses, you'll never regret it. Before I got my professional ones I had made some up by buying blue and red gels and taping the cut out squares to my glass lenses, word of advice, you may want to do that in private, it's not like people will think anything less of you when they see you wearing them, it's just they probably won't think anything more of you.

I'll leave you now with an animated Lunar Pleiades Occultation.

52 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

LOL at image of you in your 3D specs. I love it. 3D specs for Martians are even more difficult to make and wear.

The Supplicant said...

Great shots of the sun Bob! Interesting you mentioned 2012. Thats the year the Mayan calendar says the earth will suffer a calamity. ALso, several prophets have deduced the same year AND Webbot ....the program that crawls the whole internet looking for clues of any future going ons says something bad will happen to the earth in 2012. Coincidence? Hmmmmm.
As for your 3D glasses, I advise you wear them in private. You wouldn't want to ruin your sophisticated image now would you? :-)
~JD

Sherer said...

I can't wait for some fantastic solar activity. Especially if you get some good shots of it!

How powerful of an eyepiece do you recommend for the best planetary viewing. I know it depends on the focal length and other factors. I use a 6 inch reflector.

Susanne49 said...

What a super post again, Bob.

I enjoy every single minute when I'm here reading and learning and laughing. Great pictures as usual.

Thanks for sharing and thank you also for your comment on my blog.

Will said...

Hmm - I should have saved my 3D glasses from that last 3D movie I went to last... well a long time ago.

Nice shot of the sunspot. It is so tiny that it almost looks like nothing, but it is probably about as big as the earth or something? ;-0

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks marvin, and I bet they are, the problem was the gels would fall of my glass lens, and it would look even more odd,lol.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JD, wow that is very interesting about the year 2012. You are right of course, wouldn't want to ruin my image,lol.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Jesse, I'm hoping it won't be much longer then a few months, love to look at Sunspots and the like.

Now about planetary eyepieces. First you have to determine what is the best range of magnification of your scope, general rule is 50x per inch of mirror on a reflector, you have I believe a 6" scope, that gives you max 300x that your scope can handle on a good seeing night.

How you determine the magnification of an eyepiece, you take the mm value of the eyepiece and divide it into the focal length of your scope to get the eyepiece magnification on your scope, I'm guessing again but if you have a 6" scope your FL will be around 750mm, so a 3mm eyepiece will give you 250x. A 15mm eyepiece gives you 50x,a good deepsky viewing eyepiece.

Now for the type, Celestron, Meade and Orion all make great eyepieces, all depends how much you want to spend, Meade Radians , and I've use all makes and brands are the best for me, another good eyepiece are Meade series 5000

http://www.khanscope.com/accessDetails.cfm?productID=852

or Celestron XL

http://www.khanscope.com/accessDetails.cfm?productID=415

If you get a 5 mm eyepiece, it will get you 150x, a good mag for planets for the seeing we average in the night sky . You can also get a 2x barlow and a 10mm eyepiece, which will give you the same mag but with better eye relief, the smaller the mm eyepiece, the higher the mag yet the smaller the eyepiece hole and the closer you have to have your eye to the eyepiece, so with a barlow, you get high mag, and a better eye relief.

Hope this made sense, if not email me. I love talking eyepieces,lol

Bob Johnson said...

Why thank you Susanne, glad you laugh and learn here.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Will, it is about 5 Earths I believe, it's a small one, the Sun isn't giving anything up lately, hopefully this will change in the coming months.\m/\m/

Roger said...

God job as always Bob! Can I borrow your cardboard glasses?\m/\m/

jzholloway said...

Great article and pictures! I enjoy reading the stuff you put on here. Hopefully soon I will be able to get a solar scope to get better pics, not just white light.

Moonshadow said...

I went nuts looking all over the house for my cardboard glasses, I knew I had seen a pair just the other day, BUT WHERE??? Then I sat back down at my desk and looked in the top drawer where I keep all my pencils and pens and voilà, there was a pair (not the pair that I spotted the other day though, I'm sure). Those are some really nice 3D pictures. That's some mighty rough landscape. Thanks for keeping me informed about all this!

Moonshadow said...

Hey Bob, does that mean we're REALLY nerdy if we own and can lay our hands on 3D cardboard glasses?

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What a glorious post and photos, Bob!!! Remember my question before about 2012? Now you are telling me there also are maximum solar flares in the same year the planets line up? Those Mayans sure knew how to predict weird events. I'm a little scared. :D

JJ :D

Sherer said...

The helps a lot, thanks Bob, I currently have a 15mm, 25mm, and a 20mm all good for deep sky, but i wanted to get something with more magnification for the planets without compromising quality of course. This helps a lot - i think I may go for the 3mm. Thank you very much sir

shirley said...

Whoa... what was that? A feedburner email subscription widget!! I was just saying to myself (yesterday, actually) I wish I had an email subscription to Black Holes and Astro Stuff !! Then I'd never miss a single post. This is a true story! So help me God!!

Anyway, I'm so looking forward to your posts in my inbox!!

Also... that sunspot info is really interesting. I work in a place with a lot of new age hippies who talk constantly about 2012 and earth changes etc... now I'm wondering if there might be SOME validity to it being as how the sunspot activity is increasing up until then...

Thanks Bob!
You made my day!!

shirley said...

PS.. I too would like to see a picture of you with those 3D glasses on!!

Maybe I'll make a pair for me!

Sean Gleeson said...

It was very ingenious of you to make your own, but you can get factory-made 3D glasses for free from various sources. And if you're willing to spend ten bucks or so, you can get stylish and comfortable glasses in real frames and everything. Fewer people may laugh at you.

Swubird said...

Bob:

Great shots of the sun even though the surface is clean from sunspots. Still good work.

The Phoenix is digging and digging. That's great but where is the H20 and VO? It can dig a tunnel all the way through the planet as far as I'm concerned, but I want to see a vast underground ocean with an abundance of life. I watched Mission to Mars last night on cable and now I'm hyped about the prospect of good news.

The 3-D images. Cool. Too bad I don't have any 3-D glasses. I was shopping on Amazon a while back for a pair and my wife came into the room. What are those for? She asked. Looking at cool stuff on the web, I said. She raised her eyebrow like (what kind of stuff?) and then left the room. I got distracted, but I'm still getting a pair. IN fact, this last weekend we went to see "Journey to the Center of The Earth" in 3-D. Not bad. A little cornie, but passable. There were certainly a lot of 3-D effects.

Well, I will write to you when I get back. in the meantime,

Happy stargazing.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Can we get photos of you in those 3d glasses? LOL

Okay, know I've said this before ... but I do think those solar flares effect people's behaviour. Like that myth of the full moon.

Love that last photo...just spectacular.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, Roger, hey no problem.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Jared, I have a Coronado PST, it works real good for viewing, so so for taking images, but once I get something to take a pic of I will post them. A few years ago I got some sweet images with it.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

That is super moonshadow, cool you get to see the images in glorious 3D.

Yes it does mean we are real nerdy, hey whatta gonna do,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

JJ, you're right I remember you telling me before about 2012, interesting when you put everything together, those Mayans, hope they're not right this time,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Woo Hoo Shirley, glad the email thing works for you, it is a pretty cool idea.

Wasn't even thinking of the 2012 year end of the world thing when I did this post, erie when I think of it now.\m/\m/.

Hey Shirley who knows maybe in 2012 I will post an image of me in those glasses,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Sean, that is cool you can actually by ones with real frames, tell me more, right now I have cardboard ones I got when I purchased a DVD, I will go and google right now, thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, hey when you went to the movie did you get 3D glasses with? regardless I am going to see it, have a great time in Vegas.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks drowsey, I told Shirley above that in 2012, if we are still around I will post a pic of me wearing the glasses,lol.

I tend to agree with you about both the Sun and Moon having effects on us.

That image is one of my all time favs, it was unbelievable in person, glad you liked it.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Jesse, I think that is a good choice, I really recommend you buy a 2x barlow, they are fairly inexpensive and then get a 6mm, give you way better eye relief, plus you can use the barlow for all your other eyepieces, effectively doubling your collection, good luck and have fun viewing the sky.\m/\m/

Sean Gleeson said...

Well these are the ones I wear. They're 82.5% less dorky-looking than any paper glasses. They give you better 3D results, too.

Plus, they are the most comfortable, with cushioning at the nose-bridge and temples. Mind you, I'm not talking about those little gummy pads many sunglasses have to cushion the nose; I mean, they actually made the nylon frame softer and squishier where it would press against the wearer. Pretty amazing, actually. It's a real concern for me, because I have a pretty wide head (a size 8 hat).

Sorry to drone on, it's just that you're discussing a subject dear to my heart, and you have open comments. I'll shut up now.

Bob Johnson said...

Sean, I went to your site, followed your link, got to amazon, did the purchase, then took a look at the sub total, $39.95, 9.95 for the glasses, 30 for shipping, so I canceled the order, what is with the 30.00 shipping?, way to much. other then that I would love them.\m/\m/

Sean Gleeson said...

Gasp. Thirty dollars? I now realize you are in Canada, and so shipping might cost a tad more, but I had no idea the difference would be so great.

I just checked the shipping rates page of that seller (3Dstereo), and it says their rates to Canada are indeed ridiculously high. I am sorry, I had no idea this was the case (or that you were in Canada) when I made that recommendation.

They really are the best glasses, though.

Try Berezin. They sell the same glasses, for $9.95, plus $4.88 shipping to Canada, if you choose "USPS First Class Mail International Package" as the method.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for the help Sean, I just ordered them.\m/\m/

self taught artist said...

it never occurred to me to anticipate something from the sun. have i missed the tutorial on sunspots and what they are exactly?
the thought of you typing with those glasses on makes my day.
i've been out of the loop a bit but glad to come back to what else is going on outside of our planet :)

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Paula, The Sun produces magnetic fields under it's surface, there is a vast network of these energy carrying pipes transporting energy from magnetic pole to magnetic pole, like pipes carrying water to your home underground, sometimes these pipes get all twisted up so much so like an elastic band that it pops through the Sun's surface interrupting the flow of energy, less energy, the cooler the temp, the darker the color, hence a sunspot. There is your own personal lesson on Sunspots, to date we have seen them as large as 50,000km across.\m/

Swubird said...

Bob:

Yes, they hand out 3-D glasses at the entrance to the theater.

Enjoy

Bob Johnson said...

Very cool, I'm there,lol.\m/

1st Lady said...

Not sure where I'd find 3D specs to buy! I did have some on at the weekend as I went to Camera Obscura in Edinburgh, quite an amazing principle. It's latin for darkened room and back in the 13th century they were used by astronomers to view the sun. The one here in Edinburgh has been around since the 1800's, not many changes other than it now has 3 lenses instead of 1.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey 1st lady, if you want to buy some see sean's comment, good deal, I bought a pair, interesting astronomers used them to view the Sun back in the 13th century.\m/

Franx said...

No one like you Bob, Your observe about this Sun make everyone knows that God is the best creator and I love it

Anna said...

Got big plans for Sun, lol Bob, I don't know but it is hard to believe that this big ball of fire is so photogenic, lol, especially when it is not recommended to stare at it. Thanks for sharing great info about the Sun. Hate to see more boiling activities, it is getting too hot. My 4 year old niece got 1st degree sun burn last weekend, it is crazy what sun can do [she is coping just fine, what a little trooper]. Hope all is well otherwise, and going over to your Aurora's, btw great photos and the gif [got addicted, lol]. Anna :)

Max said...

Hey Bob!

Magnificent Sunspot picks! It is beautiful and just by looking at it, I was hot lol (it's 33ºC here today)!

Ah, the Phoenix drilled the soil...is its texture similar to ours?
Let's see if there is ice or not!!

Whoah...you wear 3D glasses? LOL LOL LOL LOL now that must be quite a sight...I remember wearing them once, when I was a kid, and I don't even remember why I wore them; however I recall being so happy with them lol *nodding*.

Fabulous Lunar occultation picture, Bob! From today onwards you will be the Lord of Astropics (how's the sound of that?)! :D

I wish you a great week, my friend!

Cheers

Texas Travelers said...

I don't have any Martian 3-D glasses, so I dug out my Earthian 3-D glasses. They worked just fine.

About the music story: I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

I have quit checking my sunspot links. They are the same every day. At least the communications' satellites are OK.

Thanks for the visit and nice comments,
Troy

Bob Johnson said...

Hey franx, thanks a bunch!!\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Anna, thanks,lol about the Sun, oh no about the niece!!, kids don't know till it's too late, hope it turns out okay for her.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol max, "Lord Of Astropics, I love it, and btw, I ordered a new official pair of 3D glasses,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Troy I'm sure your Earthian 3D glasses will work just fine.

I guess that is the good news the Sun's low activity not creating havoc with our space stuff, afterall we do have a Space Station up there as well.\m/\m/

Max said...

Bob,

I am so glad you loved it, cause that is what I will call you from now on (it will be our code lol)! :)

An official 3D pair of glasses..."May the force be with you" lol \m/\m/

Cheers

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks again max.

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