Letchworth astronomer captures image of sun spot shaped like a chick in time for Easter

Gordon Ewen with his solar scope.

Gordon Ewen with his solar scope. - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth astronomer captured an image of a sun spot shaped like a chick just in time for Easter.

Gordon Ewen's 'chick pic'.

Gordon Ewen's 'chick pic'. - Credit: Archant

Gordon Ewen, who is chairman of the Letchworth and District Astronomical Society, made the strange discovery through a telescope contained in the observatory at the bottom of his garden.

The 57-year-old is dedicated to taking pictures of the sun’s surface through his solar scope, which only lets light through of a particular wavelength in the red end of the spectrum.

This is where hydrogen emits light and where most detail can be seen on the telescope.

Sun spots such as Gordon’s ‘chick pic’ are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun.

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Gordon said: “I would never have seen the likeness of a chick unless someone pointed it out to me, but I can see it now!

“If it is sunny I go out first thing in the morning, before the air gets turbulent with the heat of the day, as this is when the best images are obtained.

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“The great thing about the sun is that it looks different every day, though at the moment there are few sun spots of any significance.

“What the picture shows is the intensity and flow of ionised hydrogen in the magnetic fields at the level of the photosphere visible in the image. The scale of the chick is thousands of miles across and the feature was there for a couple of days before dissipating.”

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