Saturday, June 9, 2012

Twice in a Lifetime

...And as best as I can recall, I missed the first opportunity because it was too early in the morning and the weather was expected to be cloudy. But on Tuesday, we had decent weather- mostly clear skies, with some broken clouds- and a great chance to watch the last transit of Venus for 105 years. And thanks to discussions by other bloggers following the annular eclipse (partial, here) two weeks ago, I learned how to project an image with one side of my binoculars. And the quality of the projection far exceeded my wildest expectations.
Interzone people gathered around the projected image, and below, what we saw:
Our high-tech equipment...
The paper is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, so not only was the image sharp and bright, it was a good size, too.
 Below, a crop from the above photo, with labels.
And another view of folks gathered around enjoying the show:
The best part? I've since had three people come up and tell me they went home, got out their own binoculars, and gathered little crowds of their own. In the words of Douglas Adams, "Last chance to see!" There will be a transit of Mercury on May 9, 2016, and with that planet both smaller and more distant from us, it will be more challenging to view. But I'm very impressed with this projection technique- it's far superior to a pinhole viewer- and I'm guardedly optimistic we can pull it off.

Addendum: Today's APOD shows the image quality you can get with good equipment. In this case the Hinode satellite.

Saturd80's: Oingo Boingo Edition

What Danny Elfman did before his permanent installation into Tim Burton films. Grey Matter:

Only a Lad:

Ain't This the Life?: