Mercury Solar Transit
7th May 2003
Telescope or Lens
Vixen ED102SS with Televue 3x Barlow
Orion USA full aperture white light solar filter
Total Exposures L 0.016 sec R   G   B  
Sub exposure
Luminance 1x1
Field of view and resolution
0.67 Arcsec / Pixel
Unfortunately dogged by some problems. I cannot see the Sun from my back garden until about an hour after Sunrise. I therefore elected to travel a short distance to a local site that has an unobstructed horizon. I had been planning to do this for a while and had been getting my travel set-up sorted, finishing the preparations about a week before the event. I had very limited practice due to work commitments and bad weather so I think things went reasonably well considering.
The sky was cloudy for the start of the transit so missed taking pictures. I also had a few problems focusing and getting the exposure right, even though I had tried to practice over the previous days when the weather co-operated. I was relying on the computer to record the times of each image but later found that the clock was being corrupted during the down loading from the camera, hence there are no times for each position of Mercury. Things had not gone too well so decided to take some higher resolution shots using a Barlow lens. Unfortunately, I also missed the end of the transit as my wife needed the car and I had to pack up and go home!! It was quite an experience seeing the transit through the eyepiece but the pictures were a bit disappointing.
Still, some valuable experience was gained and I will try to be more prepared and not make the same mistakes for next year’s Venus transit.
I might also try proper colour using a digital camera.