Using time-lapse techniques to observe the Sun
Journal issue: 2015 February
I have been a keen solar observer since 2004 and imager since 2005 and, like the majority of solar observers, I was initially in pursuit of ever better still photographs. After about 5 years I wanted more and in 2010 I discovered that the best way to capture and present the Sun’s real beauty is through making time-lapse animated sequences of its activity. The huge diversity of solar movement is astounding and can form the basis for some spectacular movies.
The Sun presents us with a tremendous range of accessible targets from small-scale dynamic jets (spicules) and individual granulation cells right up to huge erupting prominences that can develop into coronal mass ejections. Even the rotation of the solar disk can be captured, tracking the features of a rotating spherical body over time. Solar flares can be imaged either face on or close to the limb where they demonstrate their evolving vertical profile. These flares may also trigger shock waves or spectacular post-flare loop structures.
Time-lapse techniques provide a powerful aid to three-dimensional understanding of dynamic solar events. Time-lapses can also be used to measure direction and velocity of localised activity during solar events, as well as revealing detail that was not obvious in individual still images. (continued...)
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