Transit of Mercury 9.5.2016

  • Observed phenomena: Transit of Mercury
  • Type of observation: Positive
  • Date and time: 9.5.2016; 11:12-18:41 UT
  • Observing place: Turku, Finland
  • Observing method: Photography
  • Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, telescope: refractor 4”/f9.8 (L102/1000mm), AstroSolar-filter
  • Observing conditions: Clear sky (0/8) 100% of time

I was observing transit of Mercury in Turku, Finland where I had established a pop-up transit of Mercury observing station! This time weather was favourable and I was able to observe this celestial event from the beginning (almost) to the end, and the sky was totally clear during the whole event! The sky of Turku has let me down many times, but not this time! At least I got some compensation after the unlucky observing attempt of transit of Venus in 2012 when clouds ruined the whole event.

The transit started at 11:12 UT when a small hole appeared in the side of the Sun. Soon whole Mercury drifted to the front of the disk of the Sun. During the transit, Mercury passed a group of sunspots. I observed the whole transit as long as I could. I wasn’t though able to observe the 3rd and 4th contacts because Sun was setting behind the trees and because Mercury has disappeared within the layers of mirage -distorted Sun in the very end.

During the day, many people passed by me, and I showed the transit for all that were interested in taking a look at it. During the day, abour 20 to 30 people were able to see the transit!

This was fantastic experience, and I’m so glad and grateful that I was able to witness this rare celestial event!

Below you can have a look at some of my photos of the transit:

 

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One week to solar eclipse

Observed object: Sun and sunspot group AR 2297
Date: 22.03.2015
Time: 10:15 UT
Observing site: Kuusamo, Finland
Instrument: Canon EOS 1100D, 4” refractor

Today when I’m writing this post, it’s exactly one week to go to the solar eclipse! Now weather has been really fantastic, days and nights have been clear and now the length of the day almost equals the length of the night! I’m just a bit worried about the timing of this period of clear skies, I’m now wondering, how long it lasts? Does it last until the eclipse day? Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Yesterday (12.3.2015) I was practicing solar photography with my telescope here in Kuusamo. My telescope was f/9.8/4” refractor (102mm/1000mm). My camera is Canon EOS 1100D. I’m using solar filter made of Astrosolar -filter material. Yeasterday there was large group of sunspots, and it was so large, that it was well visible with naked eye too!

I noticed, that it is good idea to keep the exposure time as short as possible. The exposure time can be as short as 1/400 to 1/800 seconds or even shorter. Then camera “freezes” the turbulence of atmosphere better, and the sunspots become more clearly visible. ISO value can be something like 100-400. White balance should be on in daylight- or sunlight setting.

So, today I’m going to carry on the rehearsals. I just might report them here later, so keep on looking my blog! 🙂

Here you can see the results of the rehearsals of yesterday:

_MG_3919
Sun photographed 12.3. in Kuusamo, Finland with 4” refractor and Canon EOS 1100D.

Gigantic sunspot AR 2192

Observed object: Sun and sunspot group AR 2192
Date: 27.10.2014
Time: 12:00 UT
Observing site: Kuusamo, Finland
Instrument: Canon EOS 1100D, 4” refractor

During couple of last weeks, a magnificent sunspot group, named AR 2192 was growing in the surface of the Sun. This sunspot group was largest in more than 20 years, and it was largest sunspot group during this sunspot cycle! This sunspot group was so large, that Earth could have been fitted ten times in the sunspot! I was also able to observe this sunspot, and I was also able to see it with naked eye (of course with proper solar filter)! When I was doing my observation, Sun was already at low altitude, and thus it was a little bit flattened and seeing was quite poor. I took this photo with Canon EOS 1100D DSRL and with 4” refractor.

Sunspot group AR 2192
Sunspot group AR 2192

28.7.2012 – testing my new catadioptric teleobjective with the Sun

Date: 28.7.2012
Time: 16:20
Observing site: Perniö, Salo, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm (4” Refractor), camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lenses: Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS, Samyang 800 mm catadioptric-teleobjective

Seeing: –
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, warm

Objects observed: Sun (photography)

I was testing my new acquisition, a Samyang 800mm catadioptric teleobjective. I took some shots of the Sun with Canon EOS 1100D with the teleobjective and for comparison, also with L102/1000mm (4” refractor). Below you can see the results. For more in-depth post about the teleobjective, look here.

Solar statistics 2011

Hello you all, and wonderful and the most succesfull new year!

Year has changed, but the weather hasn’t changed much. It has been continuously cloudy here in Finland, and I haven’t got any observing chances this year – yet.

Nevertheless, I made some summary and statistics of last year’s Solar observations.

Briefly, it looks like this:

  • Amount of observations: 79
  • Amount of observing months: 5
  • average of R: 43.96
  • average of NAE: 0.12
Monthly averages of R and NAE in year 2011

So there has been some activity in the Sun! The most active month was July, when the monthly average of R peaked in 51.05! The highest monthly average of NAE was recorded in August, when it was 0.6.

For complete statistics, please have look at here!

Sunspots in August 2011

During the August, weather was not so favourable as it was in July, and I was able to make only 18 observations, which is still quite good amount! In August, It was possible for me and for many others to witness the growth and fading of couple of gigantic sunspt groups in early August. Actually, those sunspots groups were so large, that it was possible to see them with naked eye! Actually I was able to see them in four days in row in early August. I made NAE observations in ten days in August. The average NAE spot number in those days was 0,6. But the total amount of my observations was 18, and it is very reasonable to assume, that there wasn’t any NAE spots in the Sun after the four first days of August, which means that my NAE average would be 0,3 (2+2+1+1/18 = 0,333). Besides those gigantic spots, there was also the second spotless day of this year in August. (according to Spaceweather.com there has been one spotless day in this year before august), that happened 14.8. After that, the amount of sunspots was going up again.

My sunspot observations in August 2011 as a table:

My sunspot observations in August 2011 as a graph:

It is reasonable to assume, that this August might have been the last complete month with solar observations for me this year. The reason to this is the fact that winter is getting closer, and the altitude of the Sun is getting lower and lower and also the weather might not be so good during autumn that it was in summer. I think it is possible to do at least some solar observations in early september, but after that, I think the solar observing season is over for this year.

With sunny greetings,

Juha

Sunspots July 2011

In July the Sun was shining much, and I was able to do observations in 20 days. The Solar activity has been in high level during July, and I got the highest monthly average so far this year in July, the average Wolf’s number in July was 51,05.

Nevertheless, there was a short period with quiet activity in late July. Anyway, the activity was increasing again during the last days of July, which was also indicated by the birth of three gigantic sunspot groups, that are still visible in the Sun while I’m writing this! For example Spaceweather.com -site was reprting about those huge sunspots! And actually I when I was cheking the sunspots today, I was finally able to see two of those gigantic spots also with naked eye!

And finally the table of my sunspot observations from July:

And the graph:

With sunny greetings,

Juha