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.
Prepare the limb, the part of the Sun’s edge with the prominence, by drawing a shallow 5-inch arc on the paper with the flat edge of the pastel stick. Next, fill in the area, and then blend with your fingertips. When the limb is complete, study the prominence through your eyepiece until faint wispy details become visible.
A colored pencil has a harder lead that produces faint, slender markings. It works well for detailing, so use that next to add the gauzy wisps within the brighter pastel markings. The harsh pastel will soften as you draw new additions through them. Alternate between the two pencils until the prominence is complete. Because a prominence’s shape can change so quickly, strive to complete your sketch in 10 minutes or less.
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