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Cosmic Geoff

Venus - Oct 19

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Aided by GoTo, I observed Venus in daylight this afternoon.  It is only a few days from inferior conjunction (26th) and appears as a large thin crescent.  It's in an unfavorable position for Northern nocturnal observers and appeared almost below the Sun.  I could not see Mercury (which should have been accessible).

And before you comment, I checked carefully where the 127mm Mak was pointing before putting my eye to the eyepiece.?

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7 days before IC is very good. Do you use any sort of colour filter to enhance the contrast of the planet to the sky (I'm told a deep red filter can help)?

I too would have thought that Merky being further from the Sun would have been easier. But I guess that, even at this point, Venus is still a great deal brighter (and bigger) than Mercury.

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I did try a deep red filter at all the planet positions. It did help with Venus but I could see it quite clearly anyway.  Mercury and Jupiter were probably masked by slight haze as I saw them in daylight under similar circumstances on 9 Oct.  They should have been centred in the eyepiece today like Arcturus which I also found as a test.

A red filter helps when trying to see the Moon in daylight.

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Good stuff... daylight planetary, especially Venus and Mercury) observation is risky but obviously worth it.

 

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I bet that was a fine sight. I don't know why but I find a crescent more appealing to observe than when Venus is past half full (I don't know what you call it when the phase is past half full) and the thinner it gets the prettier it is.

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12 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

Gibbous

Now that you mention it I do know - doh!

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Today I observed Venus again at midday, without any filters. It was below the Sun (by ~8 degrees I think), and looked like a very thin crescent, facing straight up. Conjunction is tomorrow (26th Oct).

I took care to check where the 127mm Mak was pointing before looking through the eyepiece, and did not leave the gear uncovered for long.  I would have liked to have tried imaging it, but it seemed too risky without some reliable means of  putting a board in front of the Sun.  Anyway the sky was starting to cloud up.

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Very impressive.

I always prefer to use a camera when doing white light solar viewing, and think I would go that way with anything very close to the sun. An unfiltered sun might not do the camera any good, but that is replaceable, unlike the damage that would be done to my eye. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding your "too risky" comment?

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A # 47 filter works good for Venus in scopes 8" and up, I have used various shades of red in smaller apertures with ok results too. 

Seeing the cresent phase of Venus is an awesome experience when the conditions are right.

All I have tonight is cloud ?

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5 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

I always prefer to use a camera when doing white light solar viewing, and think I would go that way with anything very close to the sun. An unfiltered sun might not do the camera any good, but that is replaceable, unlike the damage that would be done to my eye. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding your "too risky" comment?

I was concerned about what might happen if I spent a quarter of an hour fiddling about with a flip mirror and camera with the telescope pointing only 8 degrees away from the Sun. Seems there could be some danger of cooking the scope or frying the camera.  Poking the wrong button could track the hot solar image across the camera chip. It would be safer to view the Venusian crescent via the camera, but I'd have to look through an eyepiece to get Venus's image aligned with the camera chip first.

With all daytime sky viewing the safety-first question before applying eye to eyepiece is "Where's it pointing?"

Dense full-aperture solar filters would be safe but would render Venus invisible.

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