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Transit of Mercury

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nickjames's picture
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Transit of Mercury

Best of luck today with the transit. The weather prospects for the UK look better the further north and east you go. Dominic's article here gives an excellent overview of the event. If you want very precise timings for the contacts Xavier Jubier's Mercury Transit Calculator is the place to go.

Remember that Mercury will be very small. To give some scale it will be around a third the area of the current largest spot group (AR2542).

Post pictures here if you get anything.

Nick.

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Transit of Mercury

Just watched the start of the transit under reasonable conditions here in Cheshire.

Jeremy

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Transit of Mercury

Cloudy here in Swansea,the web live streaming sites seem to me busy.

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Irritating

After a lovely clear morning cloud came across just as Mercury moved onto the disk. Here's some video I shot but the seeing is awful and the clouds were a real pain. This is a single frame from the video near the time of internal contact.

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Mercury

Majority of cloud cleared here 10 mins before start.  Managed this photo - hand held mobile phone with 14mm Radian eyepiece on 22cm dobby stopped to 10cm using ancient solar screen.  Time 11.41UT

Gary

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Mobile phone pic

I wonder what people would have thought back in 2003 when we had the last transit of Mercury if you had told them that in 2016 we'd be taking pictures like this with a mobile phone!

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mobile phones and webcams

Nick said: "I wonder what people would have thought back in 2003 when we had the last transit of Mercury if you had told them that in 2016 we'd be taking pictures like this with a mobile phone!"

Ha! Us webcammers of 2003 would have scoffed at your technology ;-)

http://www.threehillsobservatory.co.uk/astro/astro_image_40.htm

This time I was on holiday in Malta and despite various attempts, failed to make contact with any astronomers there so missed it. Thanks to everyone who posted images here !

Robin

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Hello all, Attached is an

Hello all, Attached is an image I took of the transit just after first contact. Conditions here at Tarbatness are clear with a cold easterly wind , temperature 10d C. Seeing was fair. Mecury looks a very inky black dot in the Ha view, some small prominences also on view.

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Transit

Inspired by Gary's image, I tried with my iPhone at 13.35 UT (sunspot just above centre, Mercury below). I held it to the 18 mm eyepiece of my Takahashi FS 102 (102 mm refractor, f/8) with Thousand Oaks solar filter.

Jeremy

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Transit of Mercury

Clear for the first hour here in Suffolk, but cloudy now. Managed to get a few videos with the Lunt FS60 H-alpha scope, so plenty of processing to do. Seeing was appallingly bad, even for Suffolk!! A single frame just after second contact is, hopefully, attached to this post...... 3xBarlow + Skynyx 2-0. 1/20th sec.

Martin

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It's cleared up a bit now.

It's cleared up a bit now. This image was taken a few minutes ago.

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I'm working on a time lapse,

I'm working on a time lapse, but cloud and wind are working against me :) Here is a link to a very rough and ready and low res time lapse of the first three hours of the transit:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1673286/Mercury%20transit%20the%20fi...

Skywatcher ED80, Baader solar film, Tal 2x Barlow, Canon 6D; one shot every 60 seconds for the first three hours, stacked into an AVI (on a loop) in PIPP.

James

P.S. I should add there are numerous dust bunnies which also look like they are trying to transit the sun :) I'm not sure yet how to process these out as I can't think how to take flats with solar film!

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That's a really nice

That's a really nice timelapse James. I'm doing the Sky Notes at the next BAA London meeting and would like to show the final version when you have it. I hope you get clear weather through to the end.

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Transit of Mercury

Sky quality since 1pm BST has been dire, but I've uploaded an image sequence taken in the first half hour here:

http://martinmobberley.co.uk/images/Transit_of_Mercury_20160509_mpm.jpg

Martin

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Mercury transit Ha image

Hello all, Attached is an Ha image of the transit just after mid transit.

Apologies the AR numbers should be 25 etc not 24 etc

Denis Buczynski Tarbatness

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Transit of Mercury

After days of wall to wall sunshine the cloud today was, i suppose, predictable.  Sky clear for ingress with a few bits of high cirrus but raher more expanded con-trails. Observing visually using 300mm f/5.3 Newt changed to f/14.5 by reduced aperture home made Bader filter.  Seeing very poor (Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex).  Even though knowing where Mercury would appear the limb distinction was so poor I could not be sure I was seeing Mercury until 11:15UT when it was on the disk (I had intended to time first contact).  By 11:30UT it was well on the Sun as a jet black disk looking really beautiful.  After about 45 minutes I got bored... so had lunch.  It was not visible in Bader filtered 10x50 bins.

By 14:00UT the seeing had improved slightly but there was more haze around. Sky finally clouded around 15:00UT so stopped observing and did a major spider/ cobweb clearance from the observatory - the first time it had been opened for many months following knee problems.

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Beer and wine now all gone

Had a great day. About 19 members of my local astro club descended on my garden with Ha, calcium K and white light scopes. The wine, beer and cheese and biscuits are now all consumed and I’ve just started looking at my images. I’d left my DSLR automatically taking pictures through my 100 mm refractor in my observatory. Most of the pictures are of cloud or the inside of my observatory dome but some came out OK.

Peter

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Paul A Brierley's picture
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Transit of Mercury

When I saw the transit. It was between 1305 and 1325 hrs. I was looking through haze, but I was able to see Mercury, as a small black "ink spot"

Looking at the planet, against the massive Sun. It made me realise, just how massive our G class yellow star is. And how tiny the planet was. Conditions were far from ideal with high cirrus and wind. But I saw it.

Equipment used.

Williams Optics Zenith Star 66sd, with baader white light filter, and a Vixen Lv Zoom ep. This was set at 16mm giving x24 magnification.

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Hi,

Hi,

Wall to wall sunshine and 24C, I could hardly believe it!

Here are a couple of images I took in the evening.

after so many washouts over the years nice to finally see one end to end.

cheers,

Bill.

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Another mobile phone image

Another mobile phone image taken at 16:48 UT yesterday from near Leamington Spa. Skywatcher 100ED, 25mm eyepiece, solar disc projected on to white card and brightness/contrast adjusted with software. Seeing was reasonable but intermittent cloud cover and a gusting wind led to fun and games and much cursing.

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Mercury Transit

Quite a bit of low cloud and strong winds in Haslemere (South West Surrey), but there were decent breaks in the cloud during the first couple of hours of the transit to reward patient observation.

I was interested in Stewart's comment that nothing was visible in 10x50 bins with the poor seeing at Thorpe-le-Soken. I used Lunt 11x70 bins with Orion solar filters and in the intermittent moments of good seeing, Mercury was very distinctly visible as was the sunspot group AR2542. Both were easy to pick out. The smaller sunspots near to 2542 and those near the solar equator were only very briefly visible in a single very steady moment of seeing (and, yes, I saw those before checking photos of the solar disk!). With only the binoculars and lots of cloud, first and second contact were not observed, I could only pick up Mercury once fully on the solar disk at 1116UT.

I had the Lunts mounted on the rather nifty Orion Paragon parallelogram mount which made for a comfortable and steady set up notwithstanding the tendency for it to act like a weather vane in the prevailing winds!

Thanks from me as well to all those who have posted some great pictures.

Cheers,

Tim

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Transit of Mercury

3 Images taken with Orion 140 Maksutov f14.3, Baader Solar Film and Canon 1000D DSLR from Fulwood Preston.

Excellent conditions with hardly a cloud in the sky (rare for Lancashire!) I missed the end of the transit as the Sun had dipped behind the trees.

2nd Contact - 11:15 UT, just after 2nd Contact 11:17 UT and one at 13:11 UT

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Mercury Transit

Spelndid day here in Leicetser- although intially very cloudy, the skies cleared in time.  Pete Lawrence and myself were able to view the entire transit, starting before 1st contact and finishing with 3rd and 4th contact (although these last two were observed through the trees!)  Pete got lots of images/videos and I got quite a few sketches both in white light and H-alpha.

A splendid day!

-Paul

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Transit of Mercury

Clear blue sky all day in Leeds, so one consideration was trying not to get sunburnt.

I monitored the transit (with my 102mm apo refractor and QHY mono camera) from before first contact up to shortly after 7pm when local rooftops intervened, then quickly transferred to an 80mm refractor set up near the front of the house to follow the last phases. Mercury looked like a tiny ball-bearing in silhouette against the Sun. Seeing wasn't very good and it was tricky to achieve good focus.

The resident blackbirds weren't happy that my presence was stopping them from accessing the birdbath, and some wasps took a long-term interest in my laptop computer.

The sunny weather brought back happy memories of observing the 2004 transit of Venus from Cyprus - and as I did on that occasion, had a beer at mid-event.

Cheers,

     Alex.

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Thanks for all the images. It

Thanks for all the images. It's good to see that the transit was well seen around the country. I'll be using these in my Sky Notes at the BAA meeting on the 25th.

I've made a small composite of frames I shot at ingress. These were the best single frames that I could find in a video which redefines the term "atrocious seeing!".

Nick.

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Below is a composite inage of

Below is a composite inage of the transit - with a twist.

The twist is that the images were taken with a 80mm refractor on an alt-az mount. Therefore the line of the "Mercurys" follows what an earth bound observer watching the transit saw as Mercury passed in front of the sun with the Earth rotating on it's axis. The idea for this came from the display in Xavier Joubier's page that Nick James highlighted in the first post.

The composite runs from 11:15-16:45 in 15m intervals until clouds finally intruded.

I am old enough to remember the last transit of Mercury that occured on May 9th - 1970. It was pretty clear then too. Best of all it was a Saturday and I did not have to go to school! The next May 9th transit visible from the UK is not until 2095. I doubt I'll make it!

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That's really nice David. I

That's really nice David. I had wondered about the plot on Xavier's page. Great to see that it really was like that!

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As Paul Abel said above, we

As Paul Abel said above, we were blessed in Leicester with good weather throughout most of the transit. I'm very grateful he gave up his garden to my tiny collection of scopes.

I've been cherry picking some images over the last day or so but have now gone back to the start - determining first contact for h-alpha. Here's what I've determined so far...

http://www.digitalsky.org.uk/Gallery/transit-of-mercury-2016/images/larg...

Pete L

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Here's a white light full
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Calcium-K...
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And - h-alpha full disc...
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Pete - Very nice pics as

Pete - Very nice pics as usual. Paul's garden must have been stuffed with 'scopes!

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Finally (for the moment),

Finally (for the moment), here's a close up of the ingress in h-alpha. This was my favourite part of the transit...

http://www.digitalsky.org.uk/Gallery/transit-of-mercury-2016/images/larg...

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Mercury Transit

I was very fortunate to have clear skies all day at Alness, Easter Ross. Hope to have the same weather (and still be here!) on May 7th 2049 when there is a virtual repeat of this transit. I used my old Vixen Custom 90M + EOS M3 to take images.

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James, Looks like you had a

James, Looks like you had a really good view from the north of Scotland. This 1700 UTC Eumetsat image just shows how much of a north-south divide there was.

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Composite

Finally managed to find the time (many hours) to get my head around PhotoShop (with help from David Basey) to make a composite image of my images showing the transit from Monday, as view from Nottingham. It was blowing a gale here and there was intermittant heavy cloud, but I was taking an image every 20 seconds during the transit so have managed to find a reasonable image about every 15 minutes which I've superimposed onto the first image where Mercury just starts to take a bite out of the Sun. I've had to crop the planet everso slightly as the background intensity of the Sun differed grealy between the images, so the planet too perfectly round I'm afaraid, but its position is as close I could get it using the whole face of the Sun to position each one; I suspect the slight wobble on the planets track is due to movement in my set up and camera in the gale, but I felt this was more realistic than making a false straight line which my data doesn't support. I've nearly given up with the time lapse video as the cloud after the first five hours just makes stacking the frames nearly impossible, but if I can face wasting another 6 hours on it I will try again.

James

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Timelapse video

Better late than never!  Here's my timelapse video of the first 3 hours imaged from my back yard in Kendal.

Nikon D90 on Altair Wave 115/805 on AZ-EQ6 polar aligned the previous night.

1,887 frames at 10 frames per minute, cropped in CameraRaw, aligned and cropped again in PIPP, final crop ("digital zoom") in Photoshop then rendered to video at 30 frames per second.  

https://vimeo.com/166198298

Story of the capture here https://simoninthelakes.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/mercury-transit/