Brace Yourself, The Venus Transit is Coming!
Yes that’s right! A little over 24 hours remain until the most spectacular astronomical event of the year! However, make sure you check the weather forecast for your area before venturing out to watch the transit. The entire east coast and much of the southeast of the USA could be blanketed by showers and overcast skies most of the day tomorrow. If you’ve been building up your excitement for the past several months like I have, start to release that excitement because there is a strong possibility that as much as 75 percent of the country won’t be able to see the transit due to bad weather. Even though the transit is over 24 hours away, as I watch the grey clouds roll in I’m beginning to get that deflating feeling like I had a Venus-sized balloon of excitement for the transit and now someone is rapidly letting all the air out of that balloon.
Rain or shine I’m going to be watching the weather minute by minute to find out what’s going on. Don’t abandon your plans quite yet. You really never know with the weather. There may be a break in the clouds long enough to watch the ingress of the planet. Regardless, I tested my homemade solar filter yesterday morning and I must say that it works to perfection! I opted to make one myself instead of buying an expensive one from a vendor. I used the visual density Baader Solar film from Astro-Physics and constructed a housing for it.
The resulting image was spectacular! Even though it was hard to get a full image of the sun on my phone’s camera I could still see it perfectly through the 25mm eyepiece. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the aperture is now offset and a lot smaller than the normal aperture. A great deal of detail could be seen on the sun such as sunspots 1497, 1496, 1493, and 1494, as well as a strange black smudge near the center of the disk which I’m not sure about. The resulting image is much dimmer than the sun funnel technique and I think provides much better contrast on the surface for defining sunspots. Regardless of whether I can view the transit, I’m very pleased with my filter and hope to get lots of use out of it. Heck, I only used a small bit of the Baader film so I can make more if I want!
My fingers are crossed for good weather and if you’re planning on viewing the transit best of luck to you as well! Clear skies!