20051117 - Sunspot 822 & Solar System Objects
Today went out for two sessions: first in the morning for the Sun; later to observe Venus, Mars and Moon. The morning session was atop a rocky hilltop nearby Firefly Garden but further into the park. Observed the Sun with Tak 22 x 60 binoculars and a TV Ranger with Plossl 20mm (24x) and 8mm (60x) eyepieces. The seeing was not the best and a breeze would cause some unsteady views, but when the the view was steady it was a real treat. One prominent umbra with a detached smaller umbra was surrounded entirely by penumbra. The second most prominent spot had a tone about the same as the larger spot's penumbra. At 60x I could see two umbra embedded within this elongated penumbra. 6 small spots, 2 with small tails trailing down, were observed between these two larger ones and one additional one on the following side of the second large spot. These 6 interior spots seemed to be arranged in two groups and I could see a lighter brighter surrounding area in low power but didn't get the same strong impression with the higher power.
SpaceWeather.com has a good picture of what one can see. SpaceWeather.com refers to a photo by Andreas Murner. In this photo what appears brighter between the two spots was what I consider seen between the spots today.
Later in the day went to the promenade in Carl Schurz Park (CSP) and met Charlie. Went here to observe Venus and Mars, and moonrise. Saw Venus naked eye as early as 12:45pm but it was difficult at times later at CSP. The sky is substantially bigger so nearby foreground landmarks are not as plentiful nor were there many useful clouds. Clearly a waning crescent now.
Moonrise was beautiful tonight. I've seen some great fiery sunrises from here before and the (nearly full) moonrise was a gorgeous orange ball rising behind the Triborough Bridge. I preferred the naked eye view or the handheld bins rather than the scope. The seeing is horrible down this low but one could see the cars driving over Moon.