First off, I would just like to say thank you for giving us the chance to look through the “Coronado” like that, because it was such an incredible and enlightening experience. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect or what the sun would look like through the filter on the telescope. While I certainly expect it to look like a blood-red disc, I also was not prepared for just how much detail is still visible through the telescope. When I first looked through the telescope, the sun was moving pretty quickly and almost disappeared from view; but, in that small portion, I was able to see the surface turbulence swirling about in constant motion, as well as several sunspots which, surprisingly, appeared slightly brighter than the rest of the surface. After the line went through and several of my other classmates returned for a second look, I joined them; the students helming the telescope kept changing eyepieces, so I wondered if that would give me a different view. When I looked through the “Coronado” for a second time, I was treated to an even larger vision of our star and that allowed me to see even more. Once again, I saw the constant turbulence upon the surface, as well as sunspots, but this time I was able to see a solar flare. It exploded out of the edge of the sun like a fountain of red wisps; my words can’t do it justice, but it was just so incredible to see. I mean, it’s one thing to see the picture in the book, but it’s another thing entirely to actually see it with my own eyes. (Madeleine Cassier; Media Arts and Design; Digital Video and Cinema; Proud member of the Marching Royal Dukes)
At 8:45 A.M. this morning, our class was treated with the privilege of interacting with sunspotters as well as one of the astronomy department's telescopes, set up by several advanced astronomy students. A sunspotter is a wooden device which reflects an image of the sun onto a sheet of paper through the use of a lens and mirrors. This tool is one way we can view the sun without damaging our eyes from the sun's damaging UV rays. Another function of a sunspotter is to allow us to track the rotation of the earth as the image of the sun moves across the paper sheet over the course of a day. A sunspotter also allows us to see sunspots on the sun's surface, the photosphere, which we could not otherwise see with our bare eyes. Through the three sunspotters available for us along the sidewalk, we could see the reflected image of our sun as a palm-sized white circle with many small speckles (the sunspots).
The view from the Coronado telescope was quite unique, at least in comparison with my amateur experiences with telescopes from childhood. With the initial positioning, the advanced astronomy students had us looking at the sun as a deep fluorescent red circle which filled the field of view on the telescope. The red color is not the color of the sun as we would recognize and label it. Rather, it is the result of the coloring of the filter on the lens. Amidst this redness, we could see sunspots. With a few minor adjustments to the telescope's position by the advanced astronomy students, we were able to see swirling movement of the gases on the photosphere, in addition to the sunspots we had seen previously.
Thank you so much for the experience of letting us see the sun in such a new way. I loved the “sun spotters” as they were simple yet an effective way of viewing the sun. I could see the tiny black spots, which I assume were sunspots, as they moved around the sun. Also with both the telescope and the sun spotters I could actually see the sun moving. I know that the sun moves across the sky, but seeing it move so quickly was amazing. The best part was seeing the sun through the solar filter telescope. At first all I could see was a red disc slowly moving up but the there was a quick burst of gas from the bottom, which was solar wind. It was so amazing I went back for a second look. During that look I noticed the visible surface of the sun was also moving. It was an amazing experience, thank you very much! (Megan Tuskey; communication studies)