Its rare for one to live in a place where the heavens just decide to show you their wonder. The path of Oct 23rds eclipse wen right through Minneapolis, USA where I currently live. Not to miss this, i loaded my scope and filter in the car, and set it up at my workplace’s parking lot right after work. The sight that made the eclipse special was the massive sunspot AR2192 which is as big as Jupiter. As seen from here. the maximum of the eclipse about ~ 50% was able to obscure some part of the sunspot.
Another thing that was interesting was the ability to resolve surface limb features on the moon. Contrary to what one would imagine, the moon has a very rocky terrain, since there is no wind, water or volcanic activity to smooth out the surface. Looking carefully we can see this detail in the images above
Some EXIF info
Taken using a Canon Rebel XT at prime focus on a 5″ MCT telescope F/12
ISO100, 1/2000 s exposure
Baader Astrosolar safety filter
Click photo to download a high resolution version
Image Courtesy: Vidur Parkash
Recently Earth was enveloped in a geomagnetic storm (between Aug 03- Aug-05) when a coronal mass ejection eurupted on the sun and got hurled towerds us. The flare set off great displays of Northern lights seen as south as Michigan, North Dakota and Minnesota in the United States.
Me and my college buddies seized the opportunity to drive to the face of Lake Superior at Brockway Mtn in Michigan and we were greeted by spectacular auroral displays that I could even make out from our car window. Brockway mountain is a hill that faces Lake superior and is my favorite dark sky site in the United States. The place does not have any cellular reception and you need to go there with a full tank of gasoline in your car. From the top of the hill you can be sure of no pollution no urban lights and simply spectacular skies.
Although low in intensity, the displays spanned the whole northern horizon, overseeing the lake. This opportunity also allowed us to check out my friend Suryabh’s(who was also accompanying me) new Nikon D3000 SLR camera, with which the photo was taken.