Friday, March 13, 2009

3/13 - Looking at the Sun on Johnson Avenue & 235th Street

Now that the clocks have changed I was finally home from work in time to use the new solar filter. A recurring problem that I've been experiencing is that people have been interested in seeing through the scope before it has finished cooling down. Anyway, I only gave the XT8 around 20 minutes to cool down before putting the solar filter on and having a look. Not bad at all! The sun is pretty wild, even without bereft of sunspots as it was today.

I did have the fortune of seeing a solar transit - of a bird! It was surprisingly majestic, as the shadow of the birds slowly flapping wings crossed the sun. I had a great time out today, a lot more foot traffic than late at night (obviously), but with less to see. Some of the most interesting views for people were just carefully holding up the solar filter and coming to terms with the fact that the apparent size of the sun is just about the size of the moon, rather than the huge area that we imagine.

One thing that someone mentioned was that the Sun was a pretty average/small star. We spoke about it a bit, but I figured that it would be best post a correction here. The Sun is not an average star! From "It's not the biggest or brightest star in the Universe, but it's actually brighter than 85% of the other stars in the Galaxy. In fact, if you looked at the 50 closest stars in a volume around the Sun, our star would probably rank 4th." There you have it.

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