Solar Minimum

The image above was taken with a Canon DSLR camera with 600mm lens, tripod mounted.

No sunspots!

The Sun is still seemingly entrenched in its solar minimum, as  evidenced by this image.

However, there is still solar activity and sunspots do still occur during solar minimum.

According to Space Weather at the time of writing, the sun has been spotless for the last twelve days:

Spotless Days:
Current Stretch: 12 days
2019 total: 156 days (68%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)
2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)

So solar max was about 2013 and on past practice, we might expect solar activity to begin picking up slightly by next year and head for a new solar max in approx 2024. Or maybe not.

The angular diameter of the Sun when this image was taken was 31.6 arc-min.

The setup is shown in the next image:

2019-08-19 Camera on Tripod
Canon Camera attached to Vixen Polarie tripod. It is pointing towards the Sun (but has the lens cap on). Normally for astro-imaging I would hang a counterweight under the tripod for stabilisation purposes but for a few quick short speed solar images I didn’t worry about it.

Below is the feature image at reduced size, to compare performance with the image lower down the page using the smaller lens which I have normally used previously when solar imaging without a telescope:

2019-08-19 Sun 600mm
Solar image: Canon 60D with 150mm- 600mm lens @ 600mm, 1/1250th sec, f/6.3, ISO 100, with solar filter. This is the same uncropped image as featured above, reproduced for direct comparison with the image from the smaller lens (see below).

The camera with 600mm lens:

2019-08-19 Camera with 600mm lens attached
Canon 60D DSLR camera on tripod with 150mm – 600mm lens attached.

Here is the image taken with my older and smaller lens:

2019-08-19 Sun 200mm
Solar image: Canon 60D with 70mm- 200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/500th sec, f/10, ISO 100, with solar filter. I’ve imaged the Sun with this lens before and took this uncropped image to compare it with the image above.

The camera with 200mm lens:

2019-08-19 Camera with 200mm lens attached
Canon 60D DSLR camera on tripod with 70mm – 200mm lens attached.

The solar filter in its box. I hand held it in front of the camera lens while the lens cap was removed:

2019-08-19 Solar Filter
200mm dia Orion glass solar filter, normally utilised by clamping onto a Meade LX-90 telescope. For the two solar images above it was simply handheld in front of the lens of my Canon 60D DSLR camera.

To end with, here is the current sunspot cycle progression graph as  published by NOAA/SWPC, which is predicting an extended minimum:

2019-08-19 Sunspot Cycle

Images © Roger Powell


Blindness alert: never look at the Sun directly or through a telescope, binoculars or camera viewfinder!


  1. I’ve noticed the lack of spots lately. Thanks for your timely update and photos.

    Lots of heavy rain this morning with crazy lightning. It will be better for sky views in a day or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can commiserate, Jim. We’ve got high winds blowing up from the Antarctic but hoping for some telescope time later in the week as the Moon wanes. 💥


  2. We start public viewing during the summer months while the Sun is still out. Because of no spots, we avoid showing the Sun through white light mylar filters to the public… people just look disappointed when all they see is orange.

    We’d rather show the city landmarks, the landscape, or in my case, just tell people “wait for the annoying white thing in the sky to go away, then you’ll see something!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Anthony. That’s a great idea to show city landscapes while waiting for sunset – even if the view might be inverted in some ‘scopes. I’m sure you would agree that the Sun (spotty or not) is best shown using a dedicated solar ‘scope.


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