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Solar prominences

Celestial sketcher Erika Rix explains how to capture quickly evolving solar prominences using black paper and pastel pencils.
RELATED TOPICS: ASTROSKETCHING
Erika-Rix
Just like clouds on a calm day, solar prominences appear almost motionless. Attempt to draw them, however, and you’ll discover that both evolve at such a rate that you struggle to keep up. But with a few pointers and following this simple technique, you will soon capture these fascinating structures in record time.

Prominences are regions of relatively cool, high-density gas that lie above the Sun’s surface. Observing them requires a narrowband solar filter centered on the Hydrogen-alpha (Hα) spectral line, a specific color of red. If you want to spot the faintest details, you need to escape the Sun’s brightest glare. I use both a black solar cloth and a flat shield to block out any light except what’s coming through the eyepiece, causing me to look like an old-time photographer.

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