Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunspot Update

It was another sunny, warm day today, so I took the telescope outside to look for sunspots again. This time, I used photo paper to try to get a smoother surface for the projected image. I also made a collar for the telescope out of black foamboard to make the image easier to see and photograph. Unfortunately, the telescope itself was pretty shaky today, so the only really clear photo I got was this one, which is at enough of an angle to distort the circle of the sun.

Something else I was curious to see was whether the big sunspot from yesterday had moved with the sun's rotation. I think it is, indeed, a little closer to the left edge of the sun. What do you think?

If you look closely, you can also make out two sunspots that were not visible yesterday. They are on the right side, just above and below the height of the large spot on the left, and lined up one above the other.

Considering I didn't have to leave my front porch to do this celestial viewing, I think it's pretty awesome!


Last year we tried and failed to use our Galileoscope to see sunspots. There were two problems: there were no sunspots to see that day, and we had the telescope pointed the wrong way!

With news of the massive solar flares heading towards Earth this past week, I decided to give it another try. I read over the directions on again and corrected our mistake with the setup. Success!

Go to my blog post on GeekMom to see how we did it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grains of Salt and the Formation of Planets

We've been watching the Discovery Channel series How the Universe Works. While a bit light on content and a tad repetitious, it also features amazing animations and lots of actual images we hadn't seen before.

One of the most interesting factoids involved a casual experiment on the International Space Station that solved the mystery of how planets form. Watch the clip above to find out!