The solar limb extruded a fantastic prominence today at PA 210 degrees. It took the shape of a calligrapher's X, or perhaps something like a Cretaceous claw reaching over from the Sun's far side. I measured it at 1.3/31.2 solar diameters in height, or 58,000 km (36,000 miles). It's pretty awesome to consider 5 earths could be stacked along its length. Several other gouts of plasma levitated over the solar limb. One in particular at about PA 220 degrees looked like it might form a loop with two bright spots beneath it; however I was only able to spot a brighter segment of the arc. The limb otherwise steadied enough at times to give the impression of sharp, faint, thorny protrusions everywhere. These can't be spicules, so I need to figure out what they actually are.
Edit - MAY 04, 2005: Alan Friedman posted images he shot of the same prominence at the same time I was making this observation. So I was able to get some photoglaphic feedback on the sketch:
Comparison of photographic and visual sketch of prominence
MAY 3, 2009 - 18:45 UT
Photo posted with permission of Alan Friedman.
I obviously didn't catch the finer detail, but the broad details seem to match up fairly well. Be sure to have a look at the excellent astrophotography at Alan's site: Averted Imagination.
|Date/Time||MAY 03, 2009 11:30 - 11:50 AM MST|
(MAY 03, 2009 18:30 - 18:50 UT
|Observing Loc.||Flagstaff, AZ - Home|
|Instrument||Coronado PST - 40 mm f/10|
|Eyepieces/Mag.||Pentax XW 10 (40X); Meade Astrometric Eyepiece (33X)|
|Conditions||Few Clouds, Breezy|