Scribblings Resurrection

A bigger dot on the Sun

Tuesday, 8 June 2004

I eventually managed to get a larger image of the Sun to watch the Transit of Venus by fixing a telescope in a laboratory clamp stand. Thanks Dwen; I really should have listened to what you said in the first place instead of persisting with trying to tie the telescope onto my tripod.

This time the Sun only just fitted into the telescope’s field of view but it gave me an image which was a good 10cm across. What I hadn’t really expected was that the tiny dot I’d seen on the binocular image earlier was now a discernable disc. Yes folks, Venus is a planet not just a dimensionless dot. Didn’t manage to get any photographs, unfortunately, but it really was worth seeing. The pics on the TV and the webcams were nothing compared to seeing it with my own eyes.

I’ve now learned that the International Space Station crosses the face of the Sun quite frequently. Somewhere on the web some enterprising soul has no doubt published a list of times for it too. If I can find it, methinks I might look for that next. Who would ever have thought you could do visual astronomy in the daytime?

Posted 8 June 2004, 21:19 BST