From the September 2005 issue

Sunspot animation

I made the Sun go round and round, and so can you.
By | Published: September 23, 2005 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Sketching is a lot of fun. But why restrict your astronomical sketching to nighttime observing only? The Sun offers a great target each clear day. So, from July 23 to September 20, 1999, I sketched the Sun’s face once each day.
Sunspot animation
Click the link below to see the animation.
Michael E. Bakich
I used a 3-inch Unitron achromatic refractor at f/16 on an alt-azimuth mount. A variety of eyepieces were used, but a 26mm Plössl was the starter for all images, providing a magnification of 46x. Through this eyepiece, I could see the Sun’s entire disk. For comfort, I also used a star diagonal. The solar filter was a JMB Identiview, specifically made for visual solar observations. Because of the daytime brightness, I used an eyepatch to cover my non-observing eye. I made these drawings from my backyard in El Paso, Texas, longitude = 106.56° W; latitude = 31.85° N.

The original drawings were scanned at 600dpi, then reduced to 400×400 pixels. The drawings, as well as the large scans (before reduction) show more detail. I entered data into a log as soon as each observation was finished to minimize memory problems. Finally, I combined the sketches into an animated .gif file with a program called GifConverter.