Friday, June 1, 2012

More Venus Transit Preps

Dress rehersal for VT Day. (Venus Transit across the Sun)
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First step is to lug the Celestron C6 refractor scope out to the astroslab and plug in the motor controller. Because there are no stars out to align the scope, I just roughly point it north at an angle to match my latitude. Switch it on. After entering my location (longs and lats), time (to the second), and date, I punch "quick alignment" which accepts that I'm pointed at polar north. I've never done this in the daylight, so we'll see how it works.
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Put the solar filter over the objective end. This is a Seymour Solar thin film solar filter, which is cheaper than their glass-type, but works just as well.
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After manually turning the scope to the sun, I find that the controller is tracking very well indeed. So my rough alignment worked. Now I hook up my Nikon D3000 DSLR to the scope.
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This is how the attachment works. One end of this adapter is just like a Nikon lens. The other end is a 2-inch tube that slides into the focuser of the scope.
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Two really nice accessories for the Nikon are the remote clicker and the 90-degree viewer. The clicker takes a picture without me touching the camera and jostling the scope. The 90-degree viewer allows me to comfortably get things centered, even when the scope is pointed straight up.
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I take a shot and then look at the result. This shot was 1/20 second, and seems OK, but I still take lots of pics at different shutter speeds. Today I took shots from 1/4 second (totally blown highlights) to 1/300 second (dim and red).
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This shot was taken at 1/125 second. A bit red, but the spots show up better with a little underexposure. I could probably "shop" this up a bit to make it yellower. Perhaps another day down the rabbit hole of learning.
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Gratuitous belaboring of the obvious: Don't forget to wear eye protection when viewing the sun.

Posted by Dave

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