2019-11-11: THIS OLD TRANSIT

Another November, another transit. The Mercury transit was, of course, observed in Socorro on November 11th. A hearty group of folks gathered at Etscorn Observatory at and after sun up. It was pretty cloudy in the east for the beginning, so no one was in as big of a hurry to get things going as we thought we would be. I kinda didn't want to miss this transit since it was probably going to be the last one I'll ever see. I've see quite a few of them over the years. I remember tracing a drawing of the Sun and the paths of the Mercury and Venus transits for the next 50 years or so from a library book...when I was in grade school! This was the last transit on that list. I think I still have that piece of paper somewhere.

We had (from left to right) a 150mm Esprit, 8" Dob, 80mm refractor with a Quark, Astroscan 2000, Lunt 60 Hα and C6 dual mounted, and a Coronado PST. About 20 people or so came by during the morning. We had quite a nice crowd by the end of the transit.

I'd never looked through a Quark before. It was pretty good. The 80mm helped over my 60mm Lunt, but the view was noticeably brighter. Hmmm.

The clouds never did go completely away. There was maybe about 40 minutes total of clearness right where the Sun was. The rest of the time the clouds made it hazy, but they were still thin enough to look through. Above was the best picture I got with my Canon T6i at prime focus on my C6. Mercury was getting ready to slip off the edge. I used a Celestron solar filter which gave it that sun-like-ish color. In the Hα scope there were NO spots, and just a few small prominences. None of them were near Mercury or I would have shifted the camera over to the Lunt. The small dips and peaks around the edge of the disk are from our atmosphere. The Sun's surface should stay nice and smooth for at least a few million more years.

THE END

2020-01-03