Solar Observing

The Sun is a fascinating astronomical object to observe. However, extreme care is required if you wish to observe the Sun safely. Never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or with any optical instrument. You must be familiar with the safe observing methods before attempting to observe the Sun.


The Solar Observing part of this website gives my solar observations since 1997 and throughout the last two solar cycles and much more! Included is information on how to observe the Sun.

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The Sun is perhaps just past the peak of the current solar cycle. Below is a recent drawing of the Sun with sunspots and plots of the average sunspot number and sunspot size seen each month over recent years.




Astro Imaging

Since early 2009 I've been taking astronomical images using an Imaging Source webcam with a wide angle lens, a standard 135mm camera lens using a small telescope (ETX 105) or a small solar telescope (PST). Objects imaged include the Sun, the Moon, the planets (Jupiter and Saturn), meteors and various star fields. An example meteor image is shown below while more images can be seen via the Astro Imaging or Meteor parts of this website.



Noctilucent Clouds (NLC)

These clouds can be seen during the summer months when the Sun is between 6° and 16° below the horizon and usually between 50° and 70° latitude (north and south). For those of us in the northern hemisphere, they will be seen towards the NW horizon after sunset and the NE horizon before sunrise. They are seen by reflected sunlight from very high clouds at altitudes of about 80 km (50 miles) and appear much brigher than any normal tropospheric clouds. An example of an extensive NLC image is shown below while more images I've taken can be seen via the NLC part of the website.