WOW! I just got back from a day at JPL. I’ve heard from some of the volunteer’s that this year’s was the biggest event yet. I will have some pictures as soon as I get them all into one place. I had to use a variety of device (three in fact) to take all the pictures that I could. I was only able to get about half way through all the exhibits and missed some of the ones that I wanted to see due to the amount of people. It was like going to Disney or Magic Mountain. The stuff I did get to enjoy was fantastic. A big thank you to all the JPL volunteers that put this event on, you were outstanding!
I’ll have a more detailed report for you once I have rested awhile. It was 99 degrees F when I got back in my car. Note to self, next year come earlier and wear a hat.
Love, love, loved this event. If you ever get the chance I would plan on spending both days viewing all the exhibits. Some people we talked to in line were coming back for their third trip to view the exhibits. I must admit that I was tempted on a couple to get back in line and go around again.
Next year promises to be even better! I can’t wait.
Here are the results of my first (and last) Venus transit photos. I had a terrible time with equipment. None of my Canon cameras wanted to download an image. Finally, I used Images Plus and was able to capture Live View video of the event and then stack them. It seems, after some investigation, that the USB ports on my laptop do not supply power while it is one batteries. So the Canon’s could not download images without power. It would have been nice if I could control this “feature” and decide if I want the batteries to power the USB or not. Come on man! Anyway, the color isn’t the best, but I need to calibrate my monitor to get better color and I have not had a chance to do that yet. Hopefully this weekend will give me the time to work on the images more. You can view, or download the full size images here.
Well, today was the big day and I got some great pictures from the event as you can see. I spent the afternoon with K-8 kids showing them the sun and the transit. My sun gun traveled to St. Andrews Catholic School where a fellow attorney’s child attends. They asked if I would be willing to show these youngsters the event and, well, I can’t say no to any request like that. I love help kids understand about the universe outside their windows. Luckily today there were also A LOT of sunspots making the display even better. I was only able to snap a couple of photos with my smartphone during the lulls, but I must say it worked pretty well. I was also able to get some images from home (thank the weather gods for a sunny day) so I will process them and, if any of them are good, I will post the results here for you to see. So did anyone try for the contest from Southern Stars? I would love to seen any pictures that you might have taken. I am exhausted, so its off to bed for me. A couple of hundred kids and an afternoon in the hot sun has done me in. Enjoy the photos.
One more reason to view the transit…you could win an iPad! details and instructions are here. Be sure to protect your eyes. There is a lot of good information for viewing and photographing the transit with a smartphone. If you have checked out my previous posts I was actually able to capture this image with my smartphone during the eclipse. So it can be done. I think I will run a contest in my office for the event and see who can come up with the best photo.
This time I hope to capture better images with my smartphone and my solar scope! Safe viewing!
Well, I saw this article about making a Sun Gun (no, not the one envisioned by German scientists in WWII), but this one, and I just happened to see a Fry’s ad for a $129.00 Celestron 60mm goto telescope and I couldn’t resist. So, after a quick trip to the penny less than a dollar store only I manage to get all the parts for this:
She’s a beauty, ain’t she.
Using the 9mm eye piece that came with the scope I was able to actually see 6 sunspots!
Despite the wind that kept moving my planter….er…sun viewing device around I could clearly make out the sun and the sunspots. Although it is not very apparent in these shrunk down, web size pictures, the full blow images are great. Visually it is rather stunning. Next steps: I will reinforce the connection a little more, but I now have a safe, quick and easy way for children of all ages to view the sun safely!
Please remember to never look directly at the sun as it will make you go blind!
The astronomers in charge of the Hubble space telescope are going to try and use the sunlight reflected from the Moon to view the transit of Venus in June. Because the Hubble cannot look directly at the Sun, this would make sense. But what are they trying to do? Well the good folks over at Hubblesite have the explaination…extra-solar planets. What? That’s right, by looking at the atmosphere of Venus in this fashion scientists hope to be able to use this technique on extra-solar planets to determine what they are made of, their atmosphere and other important data.
I, however, am preparing myself to view this months annular eclipse and then use the techniques I learn to photograph the transit in June and the total eclipse in November. If this is the last year for planet Earth (NOT!), it will be a fun one.
P.S. the Mayan calendar is probably a perpetual calendar so everything just starts over again at the year zero.