On 9th May 2016, Mercury transited the sun as viewed from Earth for the first time since November 2006. The transit was well timed for observation from The UK and Europe, starting at 11:12UT and ending at 18:42UT. I attempted to view and to photograph the transit using both my WO FLT110 with a Herschel Wedge from Lacerta, as well as visual work through the Takahashi FC60.
To image the eclipse, I used a combination of the WO FLT110 working at native f7 using the Herschel Wedge, with ND3.0, IR/UV blocking and Wratten #57 filters. Situated behind this combination was the ASI120MM camera – the plan being to take video captures of the event, processing into images later with Auostakkert/Registax.
However, British weather being itself, I only had a very short window of clear sky at the beginning of the transit during which I could grab one decent shot showing Mercury (bottom left), AR12542 (top) and AR12543 (lower), and with AR12544 developing at the top left. This image made it onto the Meridian (West) news at 6pm that evening, and is on Simon Parkin’s Mercury Transit blog post as well.
After this 10 minute spell of clear(ish) sky, I had very little opportunity to see the transit again – there was a short period here and there where I was able to visually observe Mercury and the sunspots on the disc, but by 3pm I was completely clouded out, with rain following later in the evening….
Continuing in the migration of my old site, here’s a post with a round up of my best h-alpha solar images. For a while, I owned a Coronado Solarmax 60 with BF15 blocking filter which I used to use on my Takahashi FC60NZ – I traded this more recently for the FLT110 – I found that I really wasn’t getting to use the h-alpha equipment for most of the year (work gets in the way when the sun is up!).
The h-alpha filter works by using an etalon to restrict the wavelengths of light as viewed through the telescope down to only a small region of the spectrum around 656.3nm (typically with a bandwidth of <0.7Å), which is a principal emission wavelength of excited hydrogen atoms (for the transition n=3 to n=2 in the Balmer series). This allows features such as prominences, flares, filaments and active regions to be observed, whereas in white light these are often not as noticable or are invisible.
Continue reading Solar H-Alpha Imaging Round Up
In late March, 2006 I travelled to Turkey to watch the total solar eclipse. After flying to Antalya, we drove to Kalkan (220 km west) where we stayed for a week around the eclipse. We observed 1m57s of totality from the villa in excellent conditions.
Continue reading Total Eclipse of March 29, 2006
In 2005, we travelled to Dénia in Spain to watch the annular eclipse that took place on the 3rd Oct. After flying to Alicante, we drove to Dénia to our villa which was located in the line of annularity.
Using a Takahashi FC-60, a Coronado SolarMax 60 and BF15 and an SBIG ST-2000XM, I imaged the solar eclipse from the balcony on the villa.
Continue reading Annular Eclipse of Oct 3rd, 2005