Sunspots and Solar Flares

On Tuesday, May 5, 2014, as part of astronomy week, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) hosted a solar observation event at the Ontario Science Centre. I was able to attend this event and observe the sun with a variety of telescopes. Most telescopes are using Baader film, which makes the sun look white, and hides the solar flare and prominences, but clearly shows the sunspots on the sun.

Another telescope called the Coronado PST uses a hydrogen-alpha filter. All the light, except the hydrogen-alpha light are filtered out and the sun glows red. The image projected shows the sun, but the sunspots are unclear. However, the solar flares and prominences are visible.

Looking at the sun using those telescopes was very intriguing. In my previous blog post, I talked about how the magnetic field of the sun works to form sunspots, prominences, and other solar activity. Going to RASC’s solar observing event gave me the opportunity to observe what I wrote about. I was able to see the sunspots. They were close enough to look like an arc was there. On the Coronado PST, there was a prominence or a flare visible from the top right of the image. It was an amazing feeling to see the sun so alive and so active.

The Sun through Hydrogen-alpha filter via Coronado PST.

I encourage anyone living in Toronto to come to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada`s events. You can go to their website at:

To learn about solar activity, go to:




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