Solar Secrets: Understanding our Star, the Sun – 25th October 2012
Solar Secrets: Understanding our Star, the Sun – 25th October 2012

Solar Secrets: Understanding our Star, the Sun – 25th October 2012

Our October meeting was addressed by Brendan Owens (Royal Observatory, Greenwich), who gave us a talk with the title Solar Secrets: Understanding our Star, the Sun. Miriam writes:

We were given a whistle-stop tour of the Sun covering sun spots, aurorae, spectra, structure, the solar wind and coronal mass ejections.

The talk included several videos of sun spot activity and coronal mass ejections and also some incredible views of the corona from SOHO.

Brendan explained how we can get involved by interacting with different websites where we can view live images of the Sun and help with investigating solar storms. He demonstrated online training which we would need to do before we get started.

Here is a list of some of the websites and what you can find there:


Here you can get involved in Solar Stormwatch or finding planets around other stars. Currently there is an Advent Calendar, with different images and information every day until Christmas. You can even write your name in galaxies.

It is worth getting involved: in 2007 a Dutch teacher, Hanny van Arkel was taking part in Galaxy Zoo (members of the public were asked to help classify galaxies) when she discovered a new astronomical object now known as Hanny?s Voorwerp. This caused a lot of new research to take place.


On this site you can view live images and movies of the Sun, and search the archives. Here you can find the LASCO images which show the Sun?s corona.

Solar Dynamics Observatory

This website also gives live images of the Sun, photographed in different wavelengths. (You need to look up the acronyms to find out what they are!)

Space Weather

Here you can find a real time space weather photo gallery which includes videos of coronal mass ejections which are always impressive! You can also find current images of aurorae and information about asteroids.