|Click to enlarge|
It's funny how much my inexperience came into play. Taking a sharp image of the Sun as above, about 90 minutes after sunrise while leisurely drinking a cup of coffee is relatively easy. There is hardly any breeze and the atmosphere is quite stable. Life is good. Fast forward to the Transit- While minding my real responsibilities and trying to entertain guest, capturing the Transit photos took on a life of its own. In addition to being rushed and distracted, the atmosphere at 3 PM is anything but calm as it is the hottest part of the day here in Tucson. In addition to the atmospheric instability, I was set up on the summit ridge of Mt. Lemmon and experiencing fairly continuous breezes and gusts of wind in the 10-12 mph range. I had also installed a foam shield on my telescope to keep my camera shaded and did not realize but the shield was acting like a sail keeping the telescope shaking subtly all the time. Of course, I also forgot to engage the mirror lock up function on the camera, although I suspect with the wind it would not have mattered. Finally, I had never practiced at sunset and had no idea about useful shutter speeds or ISO settings as the light from the Sun was being extinguished. All in all, given my inexperience and the atmospheric challenges I am quite happy with the few usable images I ended up with.
Click on images to enlarge them:
|First Contact (upper right)|
My favorite image, Second Contact!
The Transit continues...the images get darker as the Sun was moving toward the horizon. Click the images to enlarge:
And of course, the obligatory shot of the Venus transiting the setting Sun, terribly distorted by the atmosphere!
I think it appropriate to close this post, not with my words, but with words from the journal of Jerimiah Horrox, who first predicted and observed the Transit of Venus in 1693. In describing his colleagues experience he wrote:
"he eagerly betook himself to his observations, and happily saw the most agreeable of all sights, Venus just entered upon the Sun. He was so ravished with this most pleasing contemplation, that he stood for some time viewing it leisurely, as it were; and, from an excess of joy, could scarce prevail upon himself to trust his won senses. For we astronomers have a certain womanish disposition, distractedly delighted with the light and trifling circumstances, which hardly make the least impression upon the rest of mankind...
...For what youth, such as we are, would not fondly admire Venus in conjunction with the Sun, what youth would not dwell with rapture upon the fair and beautiful face of a lady, whose charms derive an additional grace from her fortune?"