Showing posts from June, 2012

Venus Transit Images

As documented in my Expedition Notes, I was on the summit of Haleakala for the 2012 Transit of Venus.  Here are a couple of representative images.  First, the beginning of the transit, in white light - a stack of 10 images taken with a Canon EOS 40D and aligned and processed in Photoshop.  Click on the image to see it full-size:

This is the color of light the Sun puts out.  It is not yellow or orange - people only think it is because the only time you can actually stand to see the Sun is when it is rising or setting, especially through clouds (and it is still not safe to look at it this way!).  At those times, the light is significantly reddened from the passage through very thick layers of air and dust.  Note the sunspots and other details - white light is interesting.  But what is *very* interesting is Hydrogen Alpha light.  This image of the end of the Transit is a stack of 7 images taken with a Sony NEX 5N camera and aligned and processed in Photoshop.  Again, click on the image …

Venus Transit Expedition 2012

This year, we planned a family outing to Hawaii.  Being a science geek, I said, "If we are going to Hawaii this summer, let's make sure we are there on June 5 for the Transit of Venus".  Hawaii is one of only a couple of spots in the United States where the entire transit would be visible.  And so, we chose early June for our vacation.  Our target was Maui; specifically, the summit of Haleakala, the highest peak on Maui:

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We chose Haleakala for several reasons.  First, Maui is indeed a tropical paradise, an excellent spot for a family vacation.  Second, at 10,023 feet, Haleakala is almost always above the clouds.  Finally, we anticipated that the world + dog would descend upon (ascend up to?) Mauna Kea on the Big Island, making it very difficult to find a good spot to set up telescopes - in fact, we heard later that only shuttle buses were allowed to the summit, so we were quite likely the highest-altitude amateur observers of the transit on Hawaii!  Possi…