Saturday, December 14, 2013

Venus Transit re-processed

Over Thanksgiving week I was leading a public observing program at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter and one of the guests asked me what were my most memorable observations.  It was a question that motivated me to think about all of the wonderful times I have spent with friends and colleagues enjoying time at the eyepiece.  I hope to actually write up a blog post where I attempt to answer that question, and included in the answer will be observing the 2012 Transit of Venus.

Guest observing sunset - note the sun projecting on his eye
I observed the transit from the summit of Mount Lemmon with my colleague Adam Block and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 guests that attended our special Transit of Venus program.  We had multiple telescopes set up, including some brought by visitors themselves, through which we observed the event.  I had purchased my first DSLR (ever!) the week of the Transit in the hopes that I would be able to take some pictures through my telescope.  I posted those images on the blog shortly after the transit, and to say I was lucky is an understatement.  I had very little understanding of how the camera worked, and practiced with the camera and telescope for just a couple days leading up to the Transit.  You can read about the adventure and see the original images on this post from June of 2012. About a month after the Transit I made an attempt to process my best raw image of second contact and was fairly satisfied with the results at the time. That post and image can be found here.

As I have been playing around with solar imaging a little bit this year, I have gained more experience in processing the images that I take.  While I was previously using the freeware program GIMP, I am now using using Adobe Photoshop and have been able to identify a few techniques to improve my images.  Below, is my latest attempt to bring out the best of my image of second contact-  I am quite happy with the result!  Click on it to enlarge.

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