Stephen W. Ramsden
Image taken:
Jun. 21, 2011
Jacksonville, FL
My friend Chris Lambert (a medivac pilot AE-96, Brunswick, GA) currently working the raging wildfires in SE Georgia and NE FLorida sent me these incredible photographs in an email wondering if he had caught the planet Mercury in front of the Sun. I knew exactly what he was looking at though as I had been imaging it all week at various outreach events in Atlanta. The black spot that Chris and I had been studying was indeed the gigantic sunspot in AR1236 now large enough to be seen and studied with the naked eye. I explained to Chris that he was simply using the ancient Chinese method of watching the Sun through thick smoke or at Sunrise and Sunset in order to record these giant areas of magnetically induced cool spots on the Sun's surface. I sent him back a closeup photo that I had taken earlier that morning of the same feature. Good luck to Chris and all the firefighters risking their lives around the country to fight these epic blazes.
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