Tuesday, 28 July 2009

In the Shadow of The Moon

Total solar eclipse on 22 July 2009. Images taken from Hangzhou, China. Unfortunately, the anticipated cooling of the air temperature during totality was hardly noticable in the humid 40'C early morning heat.

Composite image centred on totality, showing the slender crescent Sun before and after the diamond ring.
3rd contact and the diamond ring effect.

At 20,000 degrees the chromosphere (red lower atmosphere of the Sun) makes a brief appearance at 3rd contact, signalling the end of totality. At 2 O'clock is a solar prominence, itself the size of planet Earth.
The diamond ring at second contact.
Sunlight shining through valleys at the edge of the Moon - an effect commonly known as Bailey's Beads.
Some new friends....
At the end of totality, the thin crescent Sun creeps into view.
At 2 million degrees, the pearly light of the inner corona embraces the silhouetted Moon.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Nearest Star

Our nearest star - the Sun. Currently near the end of solar minimum, activity on the surface is unusually low. Photographed on 5th July, the visible sunspot group (#1024) heralds the start of solar cycle #24.