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stolenfeather

My transit experience: One I will never forget!

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First, I would like to say,.. great new look Stargazers Lounge!

I have been wanting to write this for some time now,.. Believe me! Unfortunately, I'm finding it harder to stargaze and report my findings these days. The exam period combined with the extended hours of daylight make it hard for me to make my way unto my porch with the necessary darkness to see anything worthwhile. However, I had been waiting impatiently for this day to arrive for awhile now. It was introduced to the world weeks ago (even if I had known about it for some time) as the astronomical event of the century. This was no fancy name since it would take over a hundred years for this phenomenon to happen again. At first I didn't want to be too excited since I knew that my success in seeing anything would depend on the weather.

When the long range forecast seemed favourable, although a long shot since such predictions are rarely accurate, I extended my efforts to prepare myself. I researched the subject extensively: How could I experience the transit of Venus safely (for both myself and the equipment used). All sources pointed in the same direction: I was not, under any circumstances, to use my telescope since the aperture at 10" was too great. To point it at the sun would result in damaging my oculars and secondary mirror. I came across a project which greatly appealed to me. It involved binoculars, a tripod and the ability to project the image of the sun unto a white piece of paper. I would like to thank this forum for their many helpful suggestions during the preparation for this event.

For this to work properly, I had to add some shadow since the beam of light would not be seen in broad daylight. I therefore added a piece of cardboard paper around the lenses and covered one of the eyepieces for better viewing. It was proposed that I line an extra box with black paper to provide the extra contrast I would need for a pristine view. It was also suggested by some that I could indeed use my telescope if the aperture was reduced to 2". This could easily be done with a piece of plywood but,...

I resisted (well actually, the correct word for it was that I was insecure).

I settled that night with my binocular project and waited for the transit to begin:

IMG-4513.JPG?et=nv8xlx18ovZRbPsOPGuyyw&nmid=0IMG-4516.JPG?et=eV07lswofqg6mkezHjCTxg&nmid=0IMG-4517.JPG?et=p%2Bl9xQg5wSdLqjZA2OsTew&nmid=0

I had trouble sleeping the night before since I had important plans for school and was nervous / excited as to what the next day would bring. At 4:00am I gave up trying to sleep and made my way to the kitchen where a waning strawberry moon (the full moon was the day before) greeted me. It was at that very moment that I knew that everything would turn out fine. In the end, my responsibilities regarding the final examinations at school went extremely well, promising me a successful evening.

Well, not everything went that smoothly at first but,.. I had to believe that it would all work out.

I waited for the transit to commence by watching a countdown online and made my way outdoors. Two of my students had already made their way to my house for the show. I tried in vain to see it but all the projection revealed was a fuzzy glow. Not a speck of Venus could be found. I simply could NOT focus! Frustration set in when my students decided to leave because Venus was giving us a "no show".

It was at that moment that my eyes turned towards my telescope. Some had said on this forum that it could work and my time was running out since the sun was threatening to set over my neighbour's house. I grabbed for my telscope cover which had a hole of 2" already prepared and set up one last time. My husband helped me align the scope and take the picture since it was hard to hold the box and do all of this at the same time.

Once we saw the projection of the sun, we focused the telescope and there it was,...

It was Venus! I admit it,... I cried.

Steven and I took pictures as the sun slowly disappeared behind my neighbour's roof. It was a shadow, a dot,... but it was my dot, my capture, my experience!

transit-of-venus.JPG?et=n5ms0441ExgunmvJLeI8sA&nmid=0

It makes us wonder though:

For a handful of hours (give or take a few), the world had caught a fever that had united them with one quest: To experience the transit. In one evening and one morning (depending which area from earth you viewed it from) there was one goal. It had nothing to do with religion, politics, debatable issues, money,...

It had everything to do with experiencing a small something that was beyond our immediate grasp.

Thank you Venus for sharing your journey, vision and a certain hope for the answers / questions of tomorrow!

Isabelle

Edited by stolenfeather
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Thanks for conveying this wonderful event for us Isabelle, in your usual enthusiastic and heartfelt way. Most of us were bathed in clouds...

andrew

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Thank you for taking the time to come by Andrew and for the encouraging words. I have to say that this new page is making it hard for me to see responses to posts. I'll have to get used to it!

Isabelle

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Great read, hope your both well, I had to settle for live streams on Sloosh ,which was ok looks like you got it nailed,great images ,we have a cloud sat over my pc for 7 weeks solid

Pat

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I also watched the live stream Sloosh once the sun set behind my neighbour's roof. It was really well done! Thanks for coming by Pat! I hope all is well with you too! :)

Isabelle

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Well done for persevering in your quest Isabelle, I was fortunate enough to experience the entire event (and 2004) and to be able to share it with my Chinese and Filipino collegues, but I could never put convey so eloquently as you have.

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