View Full Version : Cool transit stories

2004-Jun-08, 10:07 AM
I spent 5 paid hours in a kindergarden doing show and tell for the kids and their parents with a 5" telescope. :o

Though we had clouds about half the time, there was enough clear time to give everyone a good view, so I had a great time talking to a lot of exited people. :D

2004-Jun-08, 12:10 PM
The Astro department at the University of Michigan set up three 8" Celestrons and a couple four inch refractors on the roof of a building. I arrived about 6:10 AM, and there were something like 75 people there. I'm told Venus was visible to the naked eye just before I got there, but when I arrived, the sun was too bright. The transit, of course, was already nearing completion, but I had a good 75 minutes to watch it. Aside from one annoying cloud low on the horizon, the sky was perfectly clear. They also had lots of viewing filters to hand around, but for most of the time, the sun was still too dim (too low on the horizon) for the filters. By the time the sun was high enough for the filters to be useful, Venus was so close to the rim of the sun that it was hard to make it out without magnification.

A professor had the bright idea to take the filter off one of the Celestrons and hold up a piece of paper in front of the eyepiece. That way, lots of people could see the projection instead of having to take turns looking through. It was glorious. There were two little sunspots near the center of the sun, and we even saw some bright zones.

My favorite time was definitely watching the egress. The black drop effect was pretty cool, but the best part was that I *think* I saw Venus's atmosphere. It's possible I psyched myself into seeing what I was looking for, but I really thought I saw a dim ring of light extending outside the rim of the sun.

It was also fun to wander around and answer questions.

It was kind of staggering to think about all that's happened around this event the last few times it occured. Even the last time, in 1882, it was crucial to trying to determine the distance to the sun, and they were unable to do it to the accuracy they hoped for. And this time around, our technology has moved so far forward, that we know the distance to Venus to within a few centimeters, at least, and the transit of Venus has become a curiosity. Still, it was awe inspiring.



2004-Jun-08, 12:51 PM
I set up along with about 5 other people in the arboretum across from the University of Kentucky. Before we knew it 3 or 4 people were coming up at a time wanting to take a look. It was absolutely amazing.

1 of my pics (http://home.insightbb.com/~trebob/DCP_0013.JPG)
another one (http://home.insightbb.com/~trebob/DCP_0017.JPG)

I'd reduce them in size but for now I requiere sleep. I'll have them back up and redone later.

chris l.
2004-Jun-09, 05:55 PM
One of my classes for NEXT FALL met in an open field at 6:00 AM. We stayed for about an hour. We had eclipse glasses, but Venus was too 'small' for us to see it very clearly. Disappointing. About 6:45, a deer ran by, stopped to look at us, then continued on its journey.

2004-Jun-09, 06:20 PM
Off-topic I guess but how exactly do you pronounce Tycho Brahe?


Kaptain K
2004-Jun-09, 06:31 PM
Tie - ko Bra - hee

2004-Jun-09, 07:11 PM
Tie - ko Bra - hee

Technically, it's Tea (like the stewed leaves) cho (with a glottal "ch", like the scottish "loch") Bra (like the ladies' undergarment) hay (like the dried grass). At least, assuming it's pronounced according to the Dutch pronunciation rules.

A friend of mine (www.bigego.com) wrote a western ballad about Tycho Brahe, his gold nose, and how he died of a burst bladder while trying to postpone going to the bathroom.
A very funny song about a very bizzare life.


Monoxide Child
2004-Jun-09, 08:29 PM
It wasn't visible in AZ... :(