Monday, May 9, 2016

2016 Mercury Transit: Video Clips

After starting the morning watching the transit online, there were finally a few breaks in the clouds, allowing me to capture portions of the transit myself, assembled into the video below. High wind also hampered things, making it tough to get a sharp focus and steady image, but it was still an incredible thing to watch.

60mm Parks refractor on German equatorial mount
Baader film solar filter from Kendrick Astro Instruments
Orion EQ-1M drive (for solar tracking)
Nikon D7000 (attached with T-adapter)
dslrDashboard on Nexus 9 tablet for remote viewing and camera control

Music: Mercury, the Winged Messenger from The Planets by Gustav Holst

Created with iMovie on a Macbook Pro

Astronomical event of the year: Mercury Transit 2016

In spite of clouds and windy conditions, I've managed to capture a few shots of Mercury crossing the face of the sun. It's a relatively rare occurrence, though not as rare as a Venus transit which I've also watched (see here). Very cool.

It's still in progress through 1:42pm Central today so you might still have a chance to check it out.

For information on the transit:

To watch online:
How to Watch Transit (

Click on any image below to view large.

One of the better shots so far today. This is the sun with the planet Mercury (the dot at middle left) crossing it's face, an event called a transit. To the upper right of Mercury is a sunspot. Note that it's larger than the planet!

Our 60mm Parks refractor outfitted with a Baader film solar filter. My Nikon D7000 DSLR is attached to the telescope with a T-adapter. I'm remotely watching the live view from camera using an app on my tablet. The app also allows me to control the camera, taking the shot above and video (to be posted later today).

The makeshift wind screen I'm using to minimize how much wind shakes the telescope (which affects stability of images)