In 2004 I did a bit of traveling. The first leg was to England and Scotland
for a few weeks (saw the Greenwich Observatory) and then I
continued on to Egypt and met up with the RASC group arranged by Don Haldiuk of
the Calgary Centre through Civilized Adventures.
Only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible from our viewpoint and while
there are an average of 13 transits of Mercury each century, Venus transits
happen in pairs with more than a century separating each pair.
I needed to pack light for this trip since I was backpacking and hauling clothes
for a range of temperatures (ie: the frigid nights on Orkney
Island to the mid afternoon desert of Abu Symbol) I knew that with an apparent
diameter of 1' Venus could be seen without optical
magnification but I just couldn't go all that way for a once-in-a-lifetime
experience without at least a basic pair of binoculars (appropriate solar
filters were made with Sid's help) and my beat up pocket sized digital camera, a
Cannon PowerShot S40.
By June 8, 2004 we were at the Movenpic Hotel on Crocodile Island on the Nile.
Our gracious hosts closed off an area for our group where we
could set up all our scopes and cameras and cooling blankets (the temperature in
the shade by mid morning was already 42C). The transit
lasted 6h12min and everyone cheered when finally someone with an H-alpha filter
yelled out first contact. Over the next several hours many
people ran back and forth between scopes and the swimming pool (a relatively
cool sun heated 30C), but always managed to be back at
strategic times for photographs. I captured these transit shots by holding my
camera to the eyepiece of different scopes and am surprised
at just how well they turned out.
For more images and narrative, please read our online article:
Transit of Venus 2004