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Solar Observations: March 2021

The Sun is an important area of research. The European Space Agency launched the Solar Orbiter Mission which is returning images of the Earth's closest star and in September last year this stunning video of the Missions first images was assembled. But observations from our planet by astronomers have been important in providing long baseline data over centuries using a variety of techniques.

The image right is a drawing of sunspots by Galileo Galilei: History and Demonstrations Concerning Sunspots and Their Properties, 1613.© Photos.com/Thinkstock

Every clear morning Monty Leventhal OAM observes the Sun using a H-Alpha filter on his telescope and transcribing his views onto a solar map that is sent to the British Astronomical Association, the American Association of Variable Star Observers and other organisations around the globe to add to research data about our Sun. Monty reports his observations at our society meetings which are held the first Monday of the month. Here is his March Report:

Due to bad weather my first observations for the month were made on 3rd March when two small groups of Sunspots were seen. One, previously seen in February, a Bxi group in AR12806. The other a Bxo group in AR 12807.

The following day the active group in AR 12806 had faded away. This does not mean the AR itself has disappeared as noted later. The group in AR 12807 had now reduced to a single Axx spot.

A Pyramid type Prominence on the SE limb reached a height of 74,000km.

On the 5th the Prominence seen on the SE limb had now grown active, to a height of 112,000km.

No Sunspots could be seen. As mentioned earlier AR 12806 appeared again on the 7th very close to the SW limb with a single Axx Sunspot. On the following day all that could be seen of AR 12806 was some Faculæ but no Sunspot.

Due to some very bad weather no observations were made until the 12th March with a single Axx spot seen in the NE in AR 12808. No prominences could be seen.

Bad weather set in until the 23rd when the single Axx spot in AR 12808 could still be seen out in the NW. In the NE at a Lat. of +16 & Long. of 229, 2 spots within a single penumbra was observed in AR 12812. I also observed a single Axx spot very close to the limb. On the NE limb a single arched Prominence reached a height of 56,000km. You can see this in my drawing above.

On the 27th the Sunspot in AR12812 was the only one seen and on the 28th it had reduced in size to Axx spot. By the 31st no further spots could be seen. Prominences remained very faint and small.


for the month of March Sunspot activity at the start of Cycle 25 has remained very low with only 6 groups of sunspots seen, these included single spots. Prominences were a little more active but most remained very faint. Prominence observations were very limited due to a defective H-alpha filter.

Total observing days = 13. R = 13. Q CV= 2. CV = 4.9 (CV = Classification Value)

Monty Leventhal OAM.

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