Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sun Spots

This afternoon Cuddesdon was entombed in a cloud of freezing fog, while down in Oxford city it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. As dusk approached the sun's disc became visible through the fog:
Now it's not often you get to see the actual surface of a star through a telephoto lens, at least not one as close as this without it being the very last thing you ever see. Even better, closer examination of the stellar surface (you can tell I did Astronomy O-level now can't you?) reveals two large sun spots:

These dark areas are merely around 3,000 - 4,000 degrees celsius, about half as cool as the rest of the surface, hence their dark appearance. What you may not know is that 2011 is predicted to be the peak year in an 11 year cycle of sun spot activity, hence the large numbers of Waxwings in the UK at the moment. Cuddesdon: Birdless, but not spotless.

1 comment:

  1. Finally an interesting blog entry - the almost total lack of birds really made it fascinating !