This morning, I browsed my usual daily visits on the internet. When I got to the webpage at SpaceWeather.com, I noticed several sunspots were visible on the “Daily Sun” feature in the left sidebar. That made me have the urge to go out and capture an image of the sun over Arizona to see if I could resolve any of the sunspots. There were three distinct spots in my image, which I labeled, as seen on the right. The solar north pole is at about the ten o’clock point in the image I made. I didn’t bother to rotate the solar image to align the pole at the top as I sometimes do. Click on the image to enlarge.
I visited the SOHO Sunspot page to get the designation numbers of the sunspots in the photo, I noticed a link to a new feature called Helioviewer which purported to allow users anywhere make their own custom images and movies. After fooling with the website a bit, I made the video below to document the spots in my image. The motion starts about 24 hours before advancing to how the sun looked today. Solar north is up and the recording was made through a hydrogen alpha (or equivalent) filter. The bright spots are the location of the spots in my image above. See this screenshot from the Helioviewer site for reference.
After seeing the brilliant rainbow colors in the clouds near the sun, I went to get my camera and get some pictures. In this image, it appears that there is an object that resembles a planet or something near the sun. It actually is a phantom image of the overexposed sun, itself, caused by the camera lens optics. It is interesting and pretty, don’t you think? Click on the image to enlarge.
Since we have a smallish house, we won’t be putting up a massive Christmas tree as we did in the old house. Instead, we have a little tabletop tree with lights and ornaments miniaturized. I always like to bring out a couple of my cute little troll dolls to add to the festive mood. Click on the image to enlarge.
Tax season is here again, at least in our household. I had been waiting for our tax software provider to notify us of the availability of the product for the 2013 tax year. Today, the offer was in the mail. Not hesitating, I downloaded the software, installed it and dove right in to start putting in our 2013 data.
In a matter of less than an hour, I had most of the updated figures plugged into the program. We have a pretty similar tax situation to that of our 2012 return, so most things were already imported from last year by the software. A few tweaks here and there gave us a pretty good idea of where we will be when we finally file in early February.
Of course, the IRS will be modifying things until the December 31 deadline and probably beyond then knowing how efficient the .gov is. Meanwhile, we can pour over the figures we know about and look for some shortcuts to maximize our refund.
This three-panel slideshow contains amateur photographs of some of the things we have seen in the sky over the last few days. The first and second panels show “sun dogs” and the last panel shows a circumhelical arc, all of which are rainbow-colored patches of refracted sunlight through ice crystals high in the Earth’s atmosphere. I used my hand to block out the direct sunlight in the last panel.
Since the rain last week, we have been having the most lovely fall weather. I took this panoramic photo of the mountains northeast of town yesterday afternoon. The clear skies and mild temperatures made for a beautiful fall day. Click on the image to enlarge.
Finally, after several days of overcast and rainy weather, we have a cloudless Arizona sky. While we were walking the dogs this morning, I took this photo of the neighbor’s flagpole with the third quarter moon above.
The forecast is for continued sunshine and cooler temperatures with highs typically mid-sixties and lows in the low forties. You can see from the flag that the winds are light and variable. Click on the image to enlarge.
The so-called “Pineapple Express,” southern segment, is thrusting a mass of saturated air from the south Pacific via the sea of Cortez right up through the state of Arizona. We’re getting up to an inch from this storm which has been with us since early last eventing. It is forecast to remain tomorrow with a chance of more showers and thunderstorms throughout the weekend.
The green and yellow blob moving through the state in a northbound flow, has us in its direct path. Not to worry, though, we’re high and dry on our little casita in the desert. Monday is forecast to be our usual mild winter conditions of sunny and not-too-cool. The rest of Thanksgiving week is forecast the same.
This is a view of the setting moon that I took yesterday morning from the driveway. I liked the way the moon floats among the sky textures of cloud formations and a contrail remnant. Click on the image to enlarge.
Why haven’t we posted anything for a week? The answer is complex, but suffice it to say that our plate has been rather full of good busy things and a bad one or two.