Venus Transit Pics!!!... Jun 8, 2004 11:16:33 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 8, 2004 11:16:33 GMT -6
Fellow Chicago Astronomers...What a glorious day for a transit!!
I got there at around 4:00am. As I waited by the gates to open, I did minor maintenance...checked my voicemail messages, went thru my checklist and enjoyed the anticipation of the coming event. The the police let me in quite early before the set 5:00 am time, because "I'm an astronomer" they say...(hee hee). I started to set up at my scouted spot, but my pal Matt, with a 10" Meade with binocular viewer, was there in the area already setting up.
It was a bit windy as I assembled the beast, and I thought it may be trouble...as I was going to use the projection method for the viewing, and it was not stable. It calmed down soon, and then I was happier.
Not a cloud to be seen, except for some horizon haze, but that was ok. I can't hardly wait!!
As the minutes ticked by, more and more people started to show up, many with scopes of different types and apertures. The HUGE monster scopes there were too cool...I want one! I wanted to engage in conversations with the public one by one, as they asked questions, but I was selfishly too concerned in getting all ready for the sunrise. I half listened and answered, as I put up the screen, aligned the scope, got the camera ready etc...
Three forum members made their gracious appearances early in the day, NatureDevil, Nelysalchemist and Muse to heartily greet The Chicago Astronomer and offer much needed anti-mosquito spray...with DEET! Later on, Starrysungazer came by with her smiling disposition and helped me take pics and her presence was a nice addition to the event.
Naturedevil, Chicago Astronomer Joe, Nelysalchemist and Muse
Anticipation was building, as I was scanning the horizon for the tell tale red glow of the sun peeking over. And....there it was! Bright red. I searched for it thru the scope...........and man..........what I saw blew me away!
I expected to see a small dot in front of the face of the Sun. But that's not what I saw. What appeared before me was a clearly defined disk! A shimmering disk silhouetted - going on it's jouney as she has done for millenia.
As Chicago Astronomer forum members have special privileges, I beckoned my three companions to view the sight directly thru the scope. One of the first to do so. The sun was still low enough for safe views, but it climbed quickly, and I was getting concerned about the hazards.
I free-handed place my digicam to the eyepiece and snapped away. The first shot was the best of the lot...
Others wanted to take a peek, and of course as a generous astronomer as I am, I allowed some to peek.
But by now, the light of the sun was getting a bit too intense for direct viewing, so I attempted to start projection, but it still was not bright enough for that.
I had a monster 14" scope practically in front of me with a plasma screen display, (Quite cool), and the people wanting a view, started to get in the way of my set-up, and that of others who were along side me with their scopes. I was getting backs of heads instead of my intended target. "Move!, Excuse me!, Down in front!", I bellowed. Some moved, but others ignorant of their surroundings loitered with abandon.
So I had to wait until the sun rose above the heads of the masses, and then, jackpot.....I had good contact on the projection screen. The people around me oohed and gathered to catch the sight, snapping pics and staring.
I started to snap pic after pic, while tracking the scope, and talking with the public. ( I only posted the best of the lot here).
There were hundreds of people by now, gathered behind the planetarium all straining to catch a glimpse where ever they could. I had a steady group by me, just staring and fascinated by the transit. There was a friendly guy by me who had binoculars with what I suspected were Pop-Tart wrappers for solar filters. He was surprised that I recognized what they were, as I had experimented with many types of materials prior. And besides, I like pop-tarts...a gift from the Gods.
And as Venus made it's last contact with the edge of the sun, I snapped this last one...
It seems like when one establishes a relationship with those you share with, they come back to familiar territory, as I had my "disciples" for the entire event. I have a few more sign ups for the Chicago Astronomer newsletter.
And as soon as it started...it was over.
The mass disbanded, astronomers disassembled their tools of exploration, and before you knew it... practically all hundreds that were there...were gone. Like nothing special happened there at all. I talked shop with fellow astronomers, ate breakfast, and now posting this before I lose the sentiments of the morning.
Such a great moment to have experienced. With modest equipment and preparation, we got to see indeed a rare and much sought after sight, a sight that many have never seen. No transits occured during the 1900's. I am indeed fortunate and I am lucky to be an astronomer.... The most ancient and noblest of the physical sciences.