It was a flurry of activity yesterday – not just the Mother’s Day celebration – but getting the tiny telescope ready for Monday’s transit of Mercury (the planet crosses the face of the Sun) visible in the AM here in Virginia.
Let’s cover the past for prologue:
1970 – clouds interrupted the Sun and Sandy could not find it in his telecsope (remember you cannot even for a second look at the Sun through a telescope)
1973 – Was in the Wurzburg military hospital with a stomach ailment (The teenage dork was in a room with seven other men having smuggled in a tiny telescope and trying to get the Sun in it all the while explaining details. I am sure all seven applied for the ICU with the same complaint – I get a room with Young Galileo! But I saw nothing!)
1986 – not visible in USA
1993 – ditto
1999 – in my front yard – could not get the Sun in my telescope – late in the day
2003 – not visible from the USA
2006 – same as 1999 except in AM.
Thankfully I finally got to see the Transit of Venus in 2012 (Praise Jesus!) after missing it in 2004.
It is cloudy again this morning! RATS! Foiled again…in 2019, the transit falls on Veteran’s Day (Transits of Mercury can only happen in early May or November) and since that is a holiday – I’ll find an astronomy club to watch it with! Lord Willing!
UPDATE: An amazing thing happened – just before I left for work, the Sun came out! And stayed out. And I had a few minutes for the event before I had to show for work.
So I got the larger six incher out – field tested the focuser and star sight on a non-solar object – and after a bit of trial and error (and prayer!) the sun emerged on my piece of white paper I was using for safe projection of the solar image. It took a minute and a bit of focusing and we got it: Finally at last – the tiny (and it is tiny – there was a sunspot in the middle of the solar image that was about twice the size as Mercury which is about 3000 miles across.) the tiny round image of our solar system’s nearest planet. (The sun is 865,000 miles across and Mercury is about 60 million miles closer to the sun than Earth!) Thank Jesus!
It took 46 years but we finally nailed it. When’s the next one? It is November 11, 2019. Lord willing, I’ll be there! (It is visible in the USA)