Worst winter ever for Slovenian forests

In the beginning of February heavy sleet covered majority of the forest. Freezing cold held almost half of the country in a tight grip for days and caused thousands of the trees to be crushed under the weight of snow and ice. About 40 % of woodlands have been damaged in natural disaster. Damage was not caused only to the woods. Fallen trees disconnected many telephone and power lines, cutting off the electrical supply for entire villages.

In my location, conditions fortunately were not catastrophic. Branches have accumulated less than 2 cm of sleet in contrast to the the worst locations where the accumulated sleet was approximately 10 cm thick. Nevertheless, walking in the woods was scary as you could hear loud sounds of breaking branches all around you.

Sleet on deciduous trees
Sleet on deciduous trees

Sleet on deciduous trees

Sunspot AR1944

A few days ago, on New Year’s Day, a sunspot appeared over the western edge of the Sun. AR1944 is huge and actually consist of more than 50 individual sunspots, the largest of them is far larger than the Earth itself. It was possible to observe it using only unaided eye and proper solar filter (e.g. eclipse glasses).

It has been classified as having a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field and these fields are prone to instability that can produce X-class solar flares. During the rotation around the visible limb of the Sun it was quiet and produced only one major X1 flare.

Object: Sunspot AR1944 and AR1946 in the upper right corner
Date: 12 January 2014 12:40 UT
Equipment: Basler acA640-100gm, GSO 200/1200
Capture and processing : FireCapture, RegiStax6

During imaging the seeing was very poor and was even more obvious while imaging at higher focal ratios.

Object: Sunspot AR1944
Date: 12 January 2014 12:55 UT
Equipment: Basler acA640-100gm, GSO 200/1200 + 2xBarlow
Capture and processing : FireCapture, AutoStakkert2, RegiStax6

This giant spot is about to rotate off the face of the Sun, this was probably my first and last shot of it. But this is not the only obvious sunspot currently visible on the Sun. I managed to capture a few other.

Object: Sunspot AR1949(left) and AR1953(right)
Date: 12 January 2014 12:45 UT
Equipment: Basler acA640-100gm, GSO 200/1200
Capture and processing : FireCapture, AutoStakkert2, RegiStax6

Object: Sunspot AR1949
Date: 12 January 2014 12:55 UT
Equipment: Basler acA640-100gm, GSO 200/1200 + 2xBarlow
Capture and processing : FireCapture, AutoStakkert2, RegiStax6