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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Venus Transit - We Saw It!

Well, the Great Venus Viewing was a success.  A limited success, but a success nonetheless! 

Himself built my “bazooka” using the PVC pipe I bought on Sunday.  I’m telling you… 10 feet of 4” pipe is HEAVY!! 

Especially when most of it is hanging in the air behind you!  It truly was a 2 person operation – Himself just took this quick photo for me then took it back.

Here’s what it looked like inside.  We did a test drive before the transit started.  When we used the 4’ tube the image was about the size of a dime.  With the 10’ tube it was about the size of a .50c piece.    Much better.  However the photos I took couldn’t capture what we were seeing when we looked.  I don’t think there was enough light for it to get a proper focus AND there was the atmospheric distortion of southern skies (there is a good reason observatories are on mountain tops).

This is the first (and best) photo I took.  Just below the V right at the very edge of the rim of the sun, you can see the perfect disk of Venus. 

This one is about an hour and a half later.  It’s really distorted but that light grey ‘blob’ is actually Venus.  You can see how much it has traveled.  (Again, it was clearer to the eye than what the camera caught.)

Someone suggested using a mirror to reflect the image of the sun back onto a screen.  So we tried that too, tho under less than optimal viewing conditions. 

And while the sun was really high in the sky it worked!  That smudge below the V is it.

Here’s another shot with it against a table so you can see it wasn’t a mark on the shed wall. 

So, while it was a faint image… we saw it!!! 

And we had a lot of fun making ‘the bazooka’ (which I will be keeping for viewing the total eclipse 5 years from now!).

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