SYNOPTIC Hα FULL-DISK OBSERVATIONS OF THE SUN FROM BIG BEAR SOLAR OBSERVATORY: I. Instrumentation, Image Processing, Data Products, and First Results

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The Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) has a long tradition of synoptic full-disk observations. Synoptic observations of contrast enhanced full-disk images in the Ca II K-line have been used with great success to reproduce the H I Lα irradiance variability observed with the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). Recent improvements in data calibration procedures and image- processing techniques enable us now to provide contrast enhanced Hα full-disk images with a spatial resolution of approximately 2″ and a temporal resolution of up to 3 frames min−1.In this first paper in a series, we describe the instruments, the data calibration procedures, and the image-processing techniques used to obtain our daily Hα full-disk observations. We also present the final data products such as low- and high-contrast images, and Carrington rotation charts. A time series of an erupting mini- filament further illustrates the quality of our Hα full-disk observations and motivate one of the future research projects. This lays a solid foundation for our subsequent studies of solar activity and chromospheric fine structures. The high quality and the sunrise- to-sunset operation of the Hα full-disk observations presented in this paper make them an ideal choice to study statistical properties of mini-filament eruptions, chromospheric differential rotation, and meridional flows within the chromosphere, as well as the evolution of active regions, filaments, flares, and prominences.

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