Something you see ONCE in a Hundred years!





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Published on Aug 25, 2012

The last Venus transit till 2117 and who knows what the world will look like when that happens!

This is footage both in the visible and H-alpha wavelength of the Venus transit of 5th June 2012. I watched it from near the power substation for the Keck Observatory, about one vertical mile below the summit (although I was still at an altitude of ~ 10 000 ft, ~ 2miles).

This whole trip was put together at incredibly short notice. Indeed this was my first attempt at solar timelapse and my first attempt to use the H-Alpha telescope to do it. Knowing nothing about such things, it's usually my reckoning that it takes about 3 attempts to get good at this sort of thing. If I had know more about H-alpha telescopes, I would have certainly spent more on one. The solar scope I got cost about 1000 bux (in europe where i was at the time), but if I had really known what I was doing I should have probably spent 2-3x that amount. However even if I had known that, it was not clear I would be able to buy such a telescope in time, and even if I could, when I travelled to Hawaii, virtually ALL of my weight allowance was tied up in equipment (plus a change of underwear). Even at that, I borrowed a tracking mount from a local and very well equipped astronomer friend (MANY thanks Chris) without which this simply wouldnt have been possible. I've got to say that given the constraints that I had (inexperience, lack of proper kit, lack of transport ability lack of time etc etc) I'm actually very happy with the way this turned out. I know of people who had far more (and much better) kit than me there who came away with very disappointing results, mostly due to the dust and wind! I've had a blog mostly finished on this for some time now. Hopefully will get it finished in fairly short order after this.

Oddly enough though, for me one of the most golden moments of the transit required only a piece of baader film and a naked eye. So using the film to safely look at the sun, you could easily see Venus as a black spot on the Sun, and in that moment, it became very easy to perceive (the movement was so slow you could not directly see it) the dynamic movmement of the solar system. The rotation of the Earth as the sun dipped towards the horizon, and Venus orbiting the Sun, as it slowly drifted across the solar face.

I should also add a big thanks T and D for helping out with this trip, and particularly in taking me snorkling (first time in my life... and with good reason, Im a bad swimmer). It was there that we came across the turtles which was a moment that really stuck with me.

Also a big wave to L and A for shitz n giggles in the near equatorial sun! -Wearing a bikini has never been so much fun :-)

Programs used Celestia (Free and brilliant, if only a little fiddly to use, DL it now!)

and of course googleearth (also v. powerful and mostly free)

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