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  • Toner Stevenson

Regular Solar Observations

Monty Leventhal OAM regularly reports on his solar observations at Sydney City Skywatcher meetings. Every morning when the Sun is visible Monty records activity and sends his reports to agencies across the globe to contribute to research data about our closest star.

In 2009 his name was recorded in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. He received a Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. The citation reads “For service to science through volunteer roles at the Sydney Observatory.” Find out more about Monty's contribution to astronomy in this blog post written by Dr Nick Lomb.

In 2010 Monty received another award for his careful and conscientious observations of the Sun for almost two decades – the Steavensen Award from the British Astronomical Association.

The citation for the award states "This award shall consist of a book whose value shall decided by the Council; its cost shall be met from the general funds of the Association. It shall be awarded to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to observational astronomy." Find out more about this award.

Every month a summary of Monty's observations will appear on this website.

Here is Monty's story:

I have been interested in Astronomy for the past 40 years and in 1989 purchased my first telescope, a Tasco 41⁄2 inch reflector, which I might add, is still in use today. In 1991 I purchased a Meade 2120/50 10 inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope with a Thousand Oaks full aperture density filter. My main interest then was in deep sky photography. In 1992 my interest turned to solar observations and recording what I observed on the Sun. I then purchased a Daystar 7Å H-alpha T-Scanner filter, later updated to 6Å and a new world opened to me.

The late Edwin Hirsh in the U.S.A. taught me how to take filtergram images of the Sun by correspondence and I will be forever grateful to him. I also purchased from him a Solaris telescope to be able to take full images of the Sun.

I am a volunteer worker at the Sydney Observatory on Solar observations and a member of the Sydney City Skywatchers, previously known as the British Astronomical Association N.S.W. branch inc.

My main interest is making daily observations of activity occurring on the Sun and sending daily hand drawn diagrams with monthly reports of this activity to various astronomical organizations and clubs around the world. These include CV Helios in Norway, Polish Observers Society in Poland, Intersol in Paderborn in Germany, British Astronomical Association in England, Royal Astronomical Society in New Zealand, American Association of Variable Star Observers, Solar H-alpha data base in France, the Belgian Solar Observers and ALPO ( The Association of Luna & Planetary Observers) Solar section.

All my observations and data I send are made from my home in Maroubra N.S.W. Australia, a suburb of Sydney. Each sunny morning before Zero hours Universal Time I use my Tesco reflector telescope to project an image of the Sun onto a Grid and the 10” Meade to make detailed drawing of Sunspots with the Full Density aperture filter. For Prominences, Flares Filaments, Plage, Faculæ and Surges etc. the H-alpha filter is used.

For full disc filtergram images I use the Solaris telescope with the H-alpha filter.

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