6. Counting and recording solar activity for the SPA

You will need the Solar Section Active Region Monthly Report Form which you can download for your own use.

On the day you observe, use the form to record what you see by counting up the number of Active Regions on the Sun (this means the sunspots visible are separated by 10 degrees or more) and the number of individual sunspots. If you do not observe on a particular day then leave that day blank on the form.

On the form you will see:

  • Day: This is the day of the month.
  • Time (UT): Always use UT. In Summer, during the period when British Summer Time (BST) is in force, deduct one hour from BST to get GMT or UT.
  • Seeing: Use the scale of 1) Excellent, 2) Good, 3) Fair, 4)Poor
  • Transparency: Use the scale 1) Excellent, 2) Good, 3) Fair, 4) Poor
  • AR/North: ACTIVE REGIONS north of the solar equator. Leave blank if unsure.
  • AR/South: ACTIVE REGIONS south of the solar equator. Leave blank if unsure
  • AR North + South: This the total of AR/North and AR/South
  • Total of individual sunspots: Total of all the spots you can see on the disc.
  • Relative Sunspot Number:  This is the SUNSPOT NUMBER, and is found by the formula R=10g+S, where g is the number of groups, and S is the number of spots.
  • Comments: Use this to note anything unusual or important.

At the bottom of the sheet are the totals of each column, these are added up for you. In the TOTALS box it will give you your averages for the month for AR/N, AR/S, Whole disc, and R. The Excel formulas will do this for you but if you want to type them yourself then you can.

Make sure you type in the number of days observed that month. Don’t forget to add your name and address.

Please send me (email or post) your completed form as soon as possible once it is complete.

Next: Imaging the Sun – the basics