Thursday, June 7, 2012

2012 Venus Transit

On June 5, 2012, the planet Venus passed directly between the Earth and the Sun for the last time until the year 2117. The weather here was favorable for viewing the first half of the transit. It was an amazing sight, and I'm very happy that my family and I got to see it!

Mike Prokosch and I set up our scopes on the grounds on the Texas Prison Museum and invited the public to come see the event. Here are some images that I took with my setup:

Hydrogen Alpha Images:

I used the Coronado PST and Meade DSI camera to capture these images of the Sun in the Hydrogen Alpha wavelength.

Shortly after Contact I.
Right around Contact II.
My personal favorite out of all of the images. Sunspot groups 1493 and 1496 are visible  on the left.
Sunspot 1494 is on the far left.

Full-Spectrum Images:

These image were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D) attached to an Orion ShortTube 80 equipped with a solar filter.

Artsy Images:

Interesting Visitors

The following three images are single frames that captured other items besides the Sun and Venus. The first two show doubles, which gives some insight into how the Meade DSI camera works:  it scans the odd- and even-numbered rows separately, allowing fast-moving objects to show up twice as they move across the field of view. Each of these images has been processed to make the transiting objects appear more solid.

Airplane. The contrails are visible as distortions behind the aircraft.
Bird, located below the sunspot that is near the center, and again to the right and slightly down.
Bird, at center, near the bottom.