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Right now, a dragon half the radius of the Sun is creeping across its surface:


Click the image to see the NASA site.

Okay, it's not REALLY a dragon; rather, a cloud of plasma. But this "cloud" above the Sun is way different than a cloud in the Earth's skies. The long feature on the left of this photo is actually a solar filament made of charged hydrogen gas held aloft by the Sun's magnetic field. This filament was photographed on the Sun about two weeks ago near the active region on the right - see the sunspots. Filaments typically last for a few days to a week, but a long filament like this might hover over the Sun's surface for a month or more. Some filaments can trigger large Hyder flares when they collapse back onto the Sun. Boy oh boy do I wish that I had already gotten myself a proper Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope....

Bonus photo: After turning in final grades for summer, I took a short camping trip with some friends out to Clinton Lake. Here we are:


Dan, Alex, Anthony, Matt, and me.

On Friday night, the Perseids were pre-peak, but we still saw a few. Sadly, Saturday night (the peak), clouds rolled in, so we only caught a streak through the occasional break. Others had better luck:


Click the image to see the photographer's site (in German).

Fall semester has begun, so I'm off to meetings and my second class session!

Later,
Chris

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
_luaineach
Aug. 22nd, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
We had GREAT viewing on Saturday night. We easily saw an average of 50 an hour for all the hours we watched. It was nice to finally have a year with no moon!
mckitterick
Aug. 22nd, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
I'm so jealous!
carmy_w
Aug. 22nd, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
We saw quite a few at Kanopolis Lake on Friday and Saturday.

Clinton seems to be a really pretty lake, from what little I've seen of it (drive in after dark, hook up the utilties, go to bed, wake up, go buy generator, come back, hook up camper, leave)! Of course, where we were at, you couldn't even see the water for all the trees on the shoreline. :(
mckitterick
Aug. 22nd, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
We stayed in a lovely, far-back area, with no lights and deep forest around us. A long walk to the beach, but unpopulated!
tully01
Aug. 22nd, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
I went out to the western part of the Flint Hills on Sunday night, and the viewing was great. Probably not quite as many as Saturday, but Saturday was partly cloudy, so ...

Amazingly, I could still get cell reception on the top of my hill in the middle of nowhere, so I also made the chat room as well. A surreal experience, chatting on the internet in the wild. Right at sunset, a covey of thirty or more quail flushed not 25 feet away. Don't know if they'd been holding tight that whole time, or just walked up to me and said "Screw it." Left chat at my first meteor sighting and settled in for a few hours of metoer watch, drink in hand.
mckitterick
Aug. 22nd, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm not sure how I feel about being online in the Flint Hills, fer Pete's sake! But so cool to have been out there for this. How fun about the quail!
tully01
Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it was chat night, and the sun was still up and I'd already poured a drink, so ... it's not like there was much else to do while I waited for darkness to fall!
mckitterick
Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
I hear you!
siro_gravity
Aug. 24th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Wow!!! A dragon on the sun!!!
But srsly, that is a beautiful picture!

My school doesn't start til September 24, so i have a whole 'nother month! WOOT!
mckitterick
Aug. 24th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
Wow, another whole month? Jealous.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )