Transit of Venus - June 8, 2004

Since moving near Hawkesbury, Ontario, I was slowly setting up my new observatory. For almost a year I did not have a chance to do any deep-sky imaging - however, in a meantime I got Logitech webcam and adapted it for use on the telescope. It came handy on the day of Transit...

Morning of Tuesday, June 8, 2004 did not look promising as there was a huge bank of clouds blocking NE part of the sky. It started to move away just before sunrise and once Sun cleared horizon, through a narrow gap between layers of clouds, I noticed Venus immediately as a black disk against deep red, deformed face of our Star! About one half hour later, Sun climbed high enough about treetops and clouds to allow imaging.Webcam was hooked to Celestron 8 inch f6.3 SCT with a glass solar filter. I started collecting short (15 sec., 5 fps) avi files (using Iris software) every 5 minutes and then more frequently near the 3rd and 4th contacts. At the same time I did watch the spectacle through 10x50 binoculars with Baader solar filters. With unaided eye (+ filter, of course) Venus was clearly visible as a small dot on an otherwise empty solar disk - too bad there were no sunspots to provide more interesting background.

Avi files where later converted into fits images using Registax, then AIP4WIN was used to convert them into tiff files and PhotoPaint 8 was finally used to assemble a short movie below (click on the image below to start autoplay). The sequence starts around 9:56 UT and ends around 11:40 UT. While seeng was not too good, black drop was clearly recorded on same frames just prior to third contact.

It was definitively a nice show worth waking for before sunrise. My enthusiasm was probably not completely shared by other members of my family, though Baby Magda enjoyed it the most!

(Transit movie - start 9:56 UT, end 11:40 UT, mouse-over to start - about 2MB file!)




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Jan Wisniewski