Popular Astronomy

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Section Director

- Geoff Elston

I am always pleased to receive solar observations and welcome new members to the Section. We can can offer advice on how to safely observe the Sun, what equipment you will need, and the best way to record what you see.

One of the main aims of the Solar Section is to make as complete a record as possible of the solar activity every month, from the observations provided by our members.  At the end of the month the observations are sent to me by email or post and from these I compile a monthly report that is made available online (on this website) together with a small selection of photographs and drawings. Monthly reports are also published in the Society's magazine "Popular Astronomy", and its newsletters.

Our members observe the Sun whenever possible in various ways. The safest way particularly for those new to the Section is to project the Sun onto a white screen attached to a telescope. The more advanced members use a specially manufactured and commercially available "white-light" filters that fit securely over the aperture of their telescopes to see sunspots and faculae on the Sun.  They may use H-alpha filters to show prominencies, filaments, plages and flares as well as some sunspots. Quite a few members take images of the Sun through their telescopes using white-light filters or H-alpha filters, a number make drawings of the whole solar disk or of individual sunspots, while nearly everyone count Active Regions (often abbreviated to 'AR') and the number of individual sunspots within these Active Regions. A number of our members do all of these!

When contacting the Director for the first time please give your SPA membership number. For postal replies please enclose an A4 stamped addressed envelope with your letter.

All observations sent in to the Solar Section must show the Year, Month, Day, and Time in Universal Time (UT) and the equipment used for the observations and your name.

All drawings or images must also show the Year, Month, Day and Time in UT and the equipment used and should show the orientation (the N, S, E and W points) of the drawing or image, and ideally the seeing conditions plus the observer’s name.

If you have any questions then please contact me.

ALWAYS REMEMBER ……..

THE SUN IS THE ONLY ASTRONOMICAL OBJECT THAT CAN , IF GREAT CARE IS NOT TAKEN, CAUSE SERIOUS OR PERMANENT DAMAGE TO AN EYE.

NEVER LOOK AT IT WITH YOUR NAKED EYES.

Last Updated Sun, 13 Oct 2013 by:  Geoff Elston