CV-080 Jan Janssens, Belgium

CV-Helios Network member since 5th October 1999

I set my first steps in the world of astronomy when I was about eleven years old. That had everything to do with the Voyagers making all those exciting discoveries on Jupiter and Saturn. It was only in 1986 that I started observing the sun. My first observation was officially incorporated by the Solar Section of the Astronomical Association of Belgium (VVS) in the summer of 1987. Since that moment, I made about 1500 observations of the sun.

Till august 1995, I observed with a 6-cm-refractor and 56x magnification. I then connverted to a Celestron 8" with a 68x magnification, a glass objectif filter in combination with a blue ocular filter. This setup considerably increased the contrast of the solar image. That was necessary too, as I was gradually changing my observation targets. No longer I was concentrating on Wolf- or Becknumber: I was starting to pay attention to the McIntosh' Classification Value, and to the counting of the polar faculae. As of september 1999, aside the latter two, I only determined the groupnumber and the number of naked-eyespots.

Meanwhile, I had served three years as leader of the Belgian Solar Section. I published especially articles in Heelal, the monthly of the VVS. In 1995, I had also written a brochure on the sun for the Public Observatory of MIRA. By a fortunate coincidence at work, I was able to spend the period 1996-2000 in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. Though scorching hot, the seeing was most of the time better than during the best Belgian summer days. Hence, polar faculae could be well observed. During that period, I also observed my first (and so far only succesful) total solar eclipse on 26 february 1998 in the Caribbean. I also followed the online course of "Predicting the Spaceweather" of the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch. Together with Franky Dubois, the solar section leader, I started on the website of the solar section a webpage for tracking the number of polar faculae, and a page for the monitoring of the solar cycle. The polar faculae page is still at Franky's website, the solar cycle page was transfered to Solaemon's site.

Back in Belgium, I was awakened quite rudely: an abominable seeing, and only a few hours during the morning of observationtime. This had a significant impact on the polar faculae observations, and resulted in a study about the influence of the seeing on this kind of observations. At the end of 2001, MIRA Public Observatory asked me for an actualisation of the 1995 solar brochure. This resulted in the book "Sun and Earth: a unique relation" that was published late 2003. In 2005, I started up the Solaemon website.

Future projects will consist primarily in maintaining this website and in updating the solar cycle page. Then there are of course the predictions for the 24th solar cycle, and my continuation of the big CV-project. Finally, I would also like to keep an eye on the evolution of climate, the polar faculae, and the spaceweather.