Venus Transit observed from Herford, Germany, 2004-06-08

The following pictures were taken through the eyepiece of an eight-inch Celestron Super Polaris C8 scope, using a hand-held Nikon CoolPix 950 digital camera.

Please note: The bright pinpoint "stars" seen on some photos are most likely camera CCD defects (also known as "hot pixels")

Out in the yard | Black Drop developing? | Is this it? (the black drop venus transit effect) | Using the Gimp for image processing | Venus at 200x magnification | Sunspots | Reflections | Exit Stage left (or right) |

Out in the yard
A run of the mill C8 with some odd accessories attached ;-)

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Black Drop developing?
Is this the black drop effect developing while Venus prepares to exit from the sun's disc?

I kept these pictures at their original resolution of 1600x1200 so that the experts among you would be able to confirm or deny my observation ;-)

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Is this it? (the black drop venus transit effect)
Is this the real thing? Part of the sun's apparent limb is already cut out from view, although Venus (or its apparent image) still has some distance to go to reach it yet.

I kept these pictures at their original resolution of 1600x1200 so that the experts among you would be able to confirm or deny my observation ;-)

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Using the Gimp for image processing
This is my first attempt on post processing the raw Nikon images using the gimp, a free graphics package for Linux, MacOS and Windows.

I colored the sun to give it a more "natural" look (like in childrens pictures, although it is white ;-), and reduced the image brightness will increasing contrast a bit so bring out the Sun's surface details.

I've probably broken every rule there is in scientific image manipulation, but while it looks good 8-P

Additionally, a hot defective pixel was removed from the image, using Gimp's "select color from image" function.

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Venus at 200x magnification
Using a 10,5mm TeleVue Plössl to photograph the eyepiece image, this is Venus in front of the Sun's disk at 200x magnification. It's impossible to get the Nikon's lens close enough to the eyepiece at this mag to fill the whole picture, so only the center part is used.

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Sunspots
Venus' night side and two sunspots (actually the biggest members of a whole sunspot group) feature prominently in this image, taken shortly after transit half time.

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Reflections
Purple reflections off the eyepiece coating give this image a surreal look.

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Exit Stage left (or right)
Venus makes a lone exit from the Sun's limb on the left (in an SCT, right in real life), and we'll have to wait another eight years for our next treat of this fantastic astronomical event.

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Last update: 2004/06/10 09:17:17.136 GMT+1