Venus Spotting

The Transit of Venus is one of those phenomena you have to get excited about, even though there’s a little voice that says, “it’s a black dot on the sun.”  You must ignore that little voice and get caught in the frenzy surrounding an astronomical event that won’t happen again for 105 years.

For me, the frenzy began when I read an article about it this morning, thanks to a post from a friend who is far better informed than I am.  I thought about trying to find a station on TV that was showing it instead of trying to see it.

Then, the frenzy ended about 10 minutes later when I promptly forgot all about.

After a long day of work, I decided to share Signal Point with my husband as a nice way to relax.  I promised him we wouldn’t hike any further than the 100 yards to the overlook from the parking lot.

I, of course, then packed up my camera, a couple of lenses, and my tripod.  Tisen packed as well.  As soon as he heard the first zipper, he started jamming toys into his mouth.  He managed to get both Tiger and Baby Beaver into his mouth at the same time.

When we arrived at the overlook, a man was already there with a pair of binoculars on a tripod and a camera sitting on the wall.  I was puzzled by his binocular setup–they were positioned about 3 feet above the ground and I couldn’t imagine how he could look through them at that height.  I asked him if he was seeing anything good, assuming he was looking for birds (what else are binoculars for?).

This is when I was reminded of the once-in-a-lifetime (well, twice) event I’d read about only a few hours before.  He used the binoculars to project an image of the sun onto a white card.  That way, we could safely view Venus passing in front of the sun.  Honestly, I was more excited to learn you could view the sun that way than by the black dot in front of the sun.  But it was pretty cool to be able to say we saw it.

I put a neutral density filter that blocks 10 stops of light (that’s a lot of light) and tried to shoot the sun.  However, I was worried about pointing my camera at the sun and, for whatever illogical reason, didn’t want to do so with my 70-200mm lens on it.  I’ve never heard of pointing the sun doing damage to a lens, just the sensor (and the photographer’s eyes), so I don’t know why I was worried about the lens, but shooting with a wide angle zoom only got me to 35mm–not exactly the best focal length for capturing  black dot on the sun.

I did get some interesting sunset shots and, even if we can’t see it, we know Venus is in there somewhere.

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4 responses to “Venus Spotting

  1. I really live for these events and hate it that it is cloudy when they come along. Even the meteor showers have been “clouded” out. I have done this setup before but with a telescope. You have some awesome shots. I love it that Tisen has been conditioned to pack up when you do! And, to get two of his pals in his mouth at one time–talent!

    • I probably should have bought a lottery ticket that day–what are the odds of forgetting about an event but running into someone setup to show it to us and to have perfect whether for it? Tisen cracks me up–sometimes he tries to take three toys and we have trouble getting out the door because he keeps dropping one. 🙂

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