Venus Nearing Transit

I had a few spare moments around the observatory last night. The Sun was still lurking just above the western horizon, the dome was open, cooling off, and a thought entered my mind: hey, I bet Venus is visible through those trees!  Exeter is a small town, and the observatory is crammed into a small section of Academy fields on one side, the river and town on the other two sides. Trees block the western view, but in this case a little luck dropped by.

Slewing the telescope over to the west, there was Venus, easily visible in broad daylight. I took a quick peak through the eyepiece: wow, a perfect crescent, and that made perfect sense. Venus is headed into transit on June 5th: it will become an increasingly thin crescent until that magic moment of transit.  Not wasting a minute (I was really bustling in the dome to get this to work out), I found a webcam and some extra long USB cables and took the following. Enjoy! This is through a Celestron SCT using a ToUCamII Pro. Registax was then used to stack 1000 images for the final shot.

venus 18 May 2012

And for those interested in the raw footage, here it is: If you listen carefully you can here the drone of the Paramount telescope drive system and some mumblings by yours truly as the seeing conditions got worse. 😉

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