Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Venus Transit 2012

I mentioned the Transit of Venus just before the event. That's where the planet Venus crosses in front of the Sun. Never seen at night. The lines to view the transit were continuous in every scope at the top of the Physics building at Wayne State University, in downtown Detroit. Both the primary and secondary had white light solar filters. The ten inch scope doesn't track the sky, so it has to be moved every minute or so. I used the finder to adjust the view, so that visitors would have more time to get a look through the primary.

When the Sun set on a building, I moved the scope to the top of a big metal box - part of the building. This extended viewing for maybe ten more minutes. I bring a kitchen stool so kids have something to hang onto other than the eyepiece. But with the scope raised, I'm standing on the upper step. I took the opportunity to get a picture with a cheap point and shoot camera held at the eyepiece. You can see clouds behind me, and they show up in the image.

It's pretty easy to spot a Transit of Venus once you've seen one. It's the round dot next to the word "Venus". A Transit doesn't look much like a Sun spot. Can't wait for the next Transit, in 2117.

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