Transit of Venus

Venus Transit on June 8, 2004. Photo: Jeffrey Miller

I had previously wrote about the events of the Venus Transit in Tupper Lake at the Adirondack Almanack. I really wanted a post about it here on my blog too, as not everyone that follows this blog also follows the Almanack.

The Transit of Venus is quickly approaching, and the window of clear weather is very slim; but that shouldn’t stop you from joining the events in Tupper Lake held by the good folks at the Adirondack Public Observatory. This is the last time Venus will cross the face of the sun – from our vantage point of Earth – until 2117, which most likely no one reading this will make it to. If you do I would like to drink from the same fountain you are drinking from!
WPTZ News Channel 5 meteorologist Gib Brown has been keeping a close eye on the weather for Tuesday, but it’s still too early to make a final decision on whether it will be an outdoor event, or an indoor event. Final decision will be made by 7:00pm on June 4th. I have also been keeping a close eye on the weather, though I’m no meteorologist, I’m still at us having a 50% chance of having clear enough skies.
If outdoors the telescopes will be setup, mine included, at Little Wolf Beach in Tupper Lake, and there will be quite a few telescopes set up with solar filters to watch Venus as it crosses the face of the sun. There will even be a couple of Personal Solar Telescopes, which are built specifically for solar viewing. These telescopes give amazing views of features on the sun you can’t see with the white light filter like I have. The APO is also going to provide Eclipse Glasses for viewing the sun with your unaided eye safely.
If we are clouded out the event will take place at The Wild Center where there are plenty of activities planned, some of which for the younger people. Also a live stream of the transit via NASA. There will also be materials supplied by the Solar Dynamic Laboratory at the Goddard Space Center. Some of the materials include posters and cards with various images of the Sun with sunspots, prominences, flares, etc. There are also DVDs about the Solar System narrated by Whoopi Goldberg that may be given out as prizes for some of the games planned. We may even have a chance to use the STARLAB planetarium at the Wild Center. Indoor plans are still in the works.
If I receive anymore information about the event before June 5th I will be sure to post an update providing you with the information. I’m really hoping we have clear enough skies for viewing the transit because there is nothing like viewing it through a telescope with your own eyes.
More info on the events on June 4th and 5th along with locations, directions, and times can be found on this link.

Setting Stars -Time-lapse

The night of March 31st to the morning of April 1st I captured many images of the stars to make a time-lapse. I haven’t put one of these together since January, so I figured I’d have another go at it.

I set my camera up in my backyard next to my fence and had to aim over it along with the neighbors roof. Started capturing images around 8:30pm, and turned it off right before I headed to bed at around 3:30am. Each shot I took was at an exposure of 15seconds, ISO 400, and F3.1 with the intervalometer set to take a picture every 15 seconds. This is a bit different on how I usually do them, and I’m very pleased with how smooth it turned out.

Although the bright moon passes in my view, the video stars with Venus and Orion setting ends with Leo taking a nose dive towards the horizon. The bright orange “star” near the end, in Leo, is not a star, but is Mars.

The quality of the video is much better than the quality of this single frame youtube selected as the video image. So click play, select 720 or 1080, make full screen and enjoy 7 hours of star movement from the comfort of your computer chair in less than 30 seconds.

Venus and the Pleiades

As April kicks off take a look up after sunset and look for bright Venus shining high above the western horizon. If you look closely enough you will see that Venus is near a group of stars known as M45, or the Pleiades.
Venus has been quite the show-off during March, and she’s not done yet. After dancing in the sky with Jupiter, and the moon, she’s onto meeting with the seven sisters for four days. Venus will be close to Pleiades from April 1stto the 4th. On April 3rd Venus will be it’s closest when the planet pairs up with the clusters brightest star, Alcyone. It may be hard to make out much of the stars with M45 since Venus will be at a magnitude of -4.4, and Alcyone, the brightest star, shines at a magnitude 3.
Created using free astronomy software Cartes du Ciel.
This event isn’t an extremely rare one like the transit of Venus across the sun coming up this June which I will discuss in another post later on. It actually happens in a cycle of 8 year cycle so if you miss it this year you’ll have another chance in 2020, and 2028 is when Venus will be within the Pleiades cluster instead of skimming the edge.
I’m interested in how many stars will be visible with the bright planet so close. Looking forward to this with the unaided eye, and through the telescope. Hope to see some pictures from others for this even.

I leave this post with this video from Newsy talking about the Venus and Pleiades conjunction:

The Venus and Jupiter Conjunction

On March 11, 2012 I went out to get some images of the Venus and Jupiter conjunction. That was the last really good clear night that I had the chance to image it. Over the past few days from March 10-15 the two planets got closer and closer in the sky reaching a distance, from our view, of 3°. They remained at that distance for a few days, but now Jupiter is slowly getting lower in the West after sunset, and Venus is at it’s greatest elongation which means it’s as far away from the sun and as high in our sky as it’s going to get. Here are a few pictures I took on the 11th of the two planets.

This bottom picture shows Venus and Jupiter after sunset with the Pleiades and the Hyades up and to the left.
Venus is also on it’s way to being within the Pleiades cluster, Messier 45, which will take place from April 1-4. Hoping for clear skies on at least one of those days for a nice view of this conjunction through the telescope.
I have created a Google Calendar displaying events worth looking for in the sky for anyone without a telescope. I know it’s a bit late for the March calendar, but I should have April added to the calendar by the end of the weekend. I may also start adding weekly objects to look for through a small telescope or a pair of binoculars.