Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Reports and Pictures

I've started a report and pictures page for the Transit of Venus 2012. So far I've received images from the Caribbean, Polynesia, USA, Europe, and Australia. This transit was widely observed from all corners of the Earth.

From our own vantage in Polynesia, it was interesting to also observe the reaction of various people. The kids that stopped by our observing site out of simple curiosity seemed to know very little about what was happening. They kept asking if an eclipse was taking place. I am not certain of this, but I believe that the term "transit" as applied in astronomy is not a direct translation to French. Perhaps the term eclipse is used instead making the questions they asked more reasonable. When the name Captain Cook was mentioned by the translator everyone understood what was going on and they went to get more friends to look through the scopes. Whether the connection was clearly made or not, I will never know.
Stage on the Paul Gauguin, a very nice presentation platform

Our fellow cruise passengers were a varied lot. I did a pre Transit of Venus presentation on board sharing information about the when, where, and how of the event. Some knew nothing about the upcoming event and were pleased to learn more. Some knew about it in detail and were on the cruise for the purpose of seeing the transit from French Polynesia.

What I found interesting as an eclipse chaser who has been on numerous cruises for eclipses was the lack of equipment brought along to photograph or observe the Transit of Venus. Other than Denise and myself (we brought a long focal length camera, hydrogen alpha telescope, and solar filters) no other cruise passengers were equipped. Fortunately, the telescopes on board the Paul Gauguin cruise ship were up to the task. The 10" had a full aperture solar filter producing very pleasing views of the solar disk replete with sunspots and the circular disk of Venus.

Captain Zupan inspects the telescopes during the transit

The 12" was put to task by projecting views of the transit. This turned out to be the most popular method by which most saw the event take place. We were able to watch ingress as a group and that was fun when it started exactly as predicted.

Josh Smith (Safety Officer) holds up the screen as the transit begins

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