As July 2014 winds down, Charlottetown, PEI has been blessed with nice sunny days albeit with mostly intermittent cloud cover. As the weather has been typically unpredictable and perhaps a little more inconsistent than usual, one has to take advantage of the clear skies when they present. Tuesday 22 July was such a day.
With temperatures in the high twenties (Celsius) and a low wind, conditions were ideal for observing again at the Boardwalk. Arriving at noon, I set the two telescopes up and did a quick but accurate alignment to enable good solar tracking, an excellent feature of the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT mount.
It wasn’t long before some of the many pedestrians strolling the sidewalk seeking relief from the humidity stopped to enquire about my activities. For the next two hours there was a slow but steady flow of people to the solar scopes. The numbers were not significant, only 13, but most wanted to stay and enjoy the views at length.
As I explained to the observers some of the details of what they were observing, many were asking further questions, about temperatures and sunspots in particular. I was able to answer most questions and did not leave any without a response.
Due to the heat, it was obvious I was getting families who were visiting the nearby pool in the Park. The youngsters and the seniors both enjoyed the views and the safe solar viewers. I received some very nice comments about the PEI Optometrists Association for sponsoring the viewers.
I conducted a straw poll about which views people like better from the telescopes and the slight majority fell to the Lunt Ha solar scope. The prominences and filaments seem to win out, especially when I am using the dual etalon filter.
The solar disk was again unimpressive in terms of sunspots but there is some re-emergence of active regions from behind. The major attraction today again were the solar prominences, although the filaments were unexciting. Again my solar photography skills demonstrated the need for more experience and knowledge. The outstanding solar prominences were clearly visible and so was the granulation of the gasses on the photosphere.
As I look forward to doing some night-time sidewalk astronomy again, I am aware of the very few evenings where the sky conditions have been acceptable this year and it is reflecting in my activity.
I can only hope for better skies as we approach the fall viewing season. A few more images in the Solar and Sidewalk Observer Galleries.