My Venus Transit Pics From 2012

Wow, has it been that long already? I have been meaning to go through my photos and get a write up or two out of them. I visited the transit pics this morn and applied a little contrast, a little noise reduction, and a little shadow enhancement to hopefully tease out more detail.

I was able to catch the Venus transit 3 years prior to the 2012 transit visually, but was not ready for taking pics. By the time 2012 rolled around I was a little better prepared, not by a great deal, but enough to snap some pics. I used my trusty Orion ED 80mm apochromatic refractor telescope, with an Orion full aperture white light solar filter. The scope was mounted on a Celestron ASGT (Advanced Series Go To) mount, and I used a home made camera adapter that attaches to the eyepiece in the telescope, and holds the camera centered over the eyepiece. This process is known as afocal shooting. The camera is a little Sony Cybershot DSC-W200, 12.1 megapixel. Nuttin fancy, but you use what you have, especially when a good camera will cost you an arm and a leg.

I predetermined a prime location for shooting, and was there setting up in plenty of time. I thought. In addition to being rigged up for pics, I also setup a solar projection rig, so the family could watch the transit there, as I was busy getting pictures with the other telescope. The projection rig was a 90mm Orion achromat telescope, on a cheapo EQ II tripod with manual controls. I had it projecting onto a whiteboard, and it works great for this purpose. When you are setting up two telescope rigs, keeping the kids out of mischief, making sure two cameras are in working order (the wife took pics of the transit on the whiteboard too), and trying to find a few seconds to scratch your ass, time flies. By the time I was finally setup and had taken a few practice shots, the transit was beginning.

First contact. Where Venus meets the limb of the sun, roughly around 5:30. Click these pics for full size shots:

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A little further along:

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The mouse hole:

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This one is known as the Black Drop, I was eager to catch this shot:

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Clear of the limb with some passing clouds:

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As the day progressed, I took around 130 pictures. How many pics of a black orb on the sun do you want to look at? The sun was soon getting low on the horizon and my transit time was running short, but some of the best shots of the day came with evening clouds moving in plus a lot of atmospheric distortion. The first two of the next six I call the Jupiter* and Venus** shots respectively:

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Next you get first contact with the trees on the horizon. Once contact was made with the horizon, you will notice I had to invert the pics to give them proper perspective, putting Venus on the other side of the sun:

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That wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed it.

* Looking at Jupiter through binoculars or using low power in a telescope, it will show two prominent equatorial belts, similar to what you see here.

** Venus is known for its wispy cloud cover, which is what that pic inspired in me. For some Venus clouds click here: