University Lowbrow Astronomers

Astronomy Pictures from the University Lowbrow Astronomers: The 2004 Transit of Venus

The 2004 Transit of Venus
by Tim Gehring

On rare occasions, Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. During the twenty-first century, it will happen twice, once in the year 2004, and once in the year 2012. Such events are called Venus Transits.

I have just posted my very first attempts in astrophotography. While I have seen far superior pictures I’m very please with my results, especially considering I was using a borrowed digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 855) which was handheld over the E.P. Here are the details of my Transit of Venus Adventure.

I woke up at the crack of 5:30 AM EST (on June 8, 2004) and got ready for work. At about 6:15 AM, I woke-up my son (3yrs old) and daughter (5yrs old) and started getting them ready for their day. After changing 1 poopy diaper I went downstairs and started making breakfast (oatmeal and coffee). While the oatmeal was cooking, my wife came downstairs with the kids and I excused myself from our usual routine and grabbed my SV 85L and the digital camera and a couple of EPs and a Barlow (UO 25mm Konig MK-70, Stellarvue 32mm Plossl & Stellarvue 2X Barlow), I took one step out the front door and aligned the stablelock mount roughly North and slewed my scope with a Baader Solar filter towards the sun.

Venus Transit #1

The view through the UO EP was awesome I then snapped my first shot with the digital camera (this was actually my first shot ever taken through the scope!) and I was treated to a excellent photo clearly showing venus transiting the sun. The view through the scope was good enough to get the family and have them view something relatively few have witnessed. The family, especially my wife and daughter, thought it was “pretty cool” (the 3 year old wanted to get back to eating!) They were amazed at the size of the sun compared to our sister planet venus.

Venus Transit #2

Venus Transit #3

I enjoyed the view for a while longer and took 2 more photos (with a few misfires which were deleted) and then went inside to wolf down my breakfast and returned to the EP at about 7:15.

Venus Transit #4   Venus Transit #5

I took couple of more photos (the first one with the UO and the second one with the SV and 8) and just enjoyed the view. All in all the Transit of Venus was fantastic, much more than I had anticipated and it has spurred my interest in astrophotography (nothing like getting good photos from my first attempt). I will now have to get serious about getting my own digital camera! I hope everyone enjoys the photos I took, they will always be special to me.

Notes: The only editing I did to the photos was cropping and rotating/reversing the raw image to the correct orientation.

Related Venus Transit 2004 Links

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