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Thread: The sun!

  1. #1 The sun! 
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    My cousin is currently a science teacher teaching 4th-6th grade students. Her students noticed there is something in the sun and because the time during that day was in noon. The sun is directly to the surface, therefore she can't looked on it directly. She used her camera on her phone to take simultaneously shots of the sun.

    The picture she got is the sun, then there is black transparent circle that encircles the sun. In that black transparent circle there's a small circle, whose color is red that move around in the area of that black transparent circle.

    The question is, what's that small red circle?

    I tried to upload the picture here but an error occurred while I'm uploading. Hope I describe the pictures properly and imagined as I want too.


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    Sounds like lens artifacts, nothing more.

    But you'll be able to post pictures and links after making a few posts. The Forum software blocks images and links for the first few posts of new members as an anti-spam measure until the member has established themselves.


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    The black transparent circle is also a part of lens artifacts as well? Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarenahhh View Post
    The black transparent circle is also a part of lens artifacts as well? Thank you.
    I dunno.
    When you are able to post pictures, many can chime in, then...
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    Here's the link for the picture. I posted in my blog.
    Aftermath Thanks for the help.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Lens flare (and possibly saturation of the sensor).

    Note, this is a truly terrible way to take a photograph of the sun. Not only will the direct sunlight cause massive overexposure (and other artifacts) but it will quite possibly damage the camera - you are focusing the sunlight directly onto the sensor. Unlike a film camera with a shutter, the lens is always open and you will "cook" the sensor in a few minutes.

    Tips for Photographing the Sun
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    Definitely lens flares. Strange posted a good link.
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    For a teacher, I'd say the first place to start would be the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Most of the Educator resources and information are directed at high school students, but the whole site is worth checking out.
    Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) | NASA
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarenahhh View Post
    Her students noticed there is something in the sun and because the time during that day was in noon. The sun is directly to the surface, therefore she can't looked on it directly. .
    The only time you should look at the sun is when the Earth is between you and it! Looking directly at the sun can damage your eyesight. Your cousin's first action should have been to caution his/her students as to the risk. Failure to do so is, in my opinion, irresponsible.
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  11. #10  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    If the students really did see something on the sun (unlikely with the naked eye) it could be sunspots: Sunspots

    More good info on viewing the sun here: Observing the Sun for Yourself
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  12. #11  
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    Actually my cousin said that she gave precaution to her students. As her student's said that they saw that black circle so she took a picture of it (she knows nothing about photography). And now she doesn't believe that the black circle is the lens flare because there is a rainbow in it. Could you explain further about it?
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  13. #12  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarenahhh View Post
    And now she doesn't believe that the black circle is the lens flare because there is a rainbow in it. Could you explain further about it?
    A rainbow (more generally, a spectrum) can be formed when light passes through any medium. The most famous example is Isaac Newton and a prism. So, just the curvature of the lens could slit the light into different colours. Also, lenses are coated with thins layers of various materials in order to control their optical properties. If you look carefully at a lens you will see the light reflected forms a spectrum because of these layers. Finally, I have no idea what the sensor will do in response to the intense levels of light, UV and infra-red. I would not really trust anything in the image to be of much significance.

    I would suggest she use a better technique for taking some pictures to confirm there is nothing real there.

    Also, regarding what the students saw, again that can't really be trusted if they looked directly at the sun. If you do that, you will see dark spots where your retina has been temporarily (hopefully) blinded by the high level of light. They may well have projected the dark spots caused by the exposure to the sun as something they saw on the surface. (Or maybe they saw sunspots. Or a plane in front of the sun. Or ....)
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    If it's not due to the photography- Seen prior to taking the picture, there are several atmospheric effects that can cause odd sightings.
    Atmospheric Effects | PVEducation
    It could be Halo, discussed in a news link here: Ring Around The Sun Explained: What Causes Circular Halo? (PHOTOS)
    Or maybe search the various effects discussed on the links on this page: Atmospheric Optics
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Oh, good point Neverfly.

    There is a website with all sorts of different effects that can be seen around the sun.
    Sundogs, Sun Dogs, Parhelia, Mock Suns
    Some of them can be quite extraordinary.
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  16. #15  
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    Based on the pictures, it could be considered as circular halo. Thanks guys for the help!
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