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EAAS Meeting report May 2004

The subject of the May meeting was changed because of the upcoming Transit of Venus on 8th June. We felt that as this was the last meeting of the current season, it was appropriate to give the members every opportunity to prepare for this once in a lifetime event.

The evening kicked off with a very informative rundown on the history of past transits by founding member Alfie Snoddy. Alfie travelled back in time to 1639 when that transit was first predicted and observed by the little known Jeremiah Horrocks, now considered by historians to be the Father of English astronomy! More information about Jeremiah and the history of the Venus transits can be found on the Venus transit webpage.

He also explained the mechanics of transits, both Mercurial and Venusian, why they occur, how often do we see them, and what to look out for during the event.

Robert Hill (Armagh Planetarium) then gave an insight as to how our Society could get involved in various projects including one set up by the European Space Agency that includes millions of school children from Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Mark and Nigel Stronge then spoke on how to capture the event for posterity. They discussed the checking of solar filters and the safety precautions that one should take while observing the transit or solar observing in general. Click here to read about safe solar observing techniques.

The photo to the right has some very important items in frame. it shows Baader solar film over the FRONT of the main objective lens, over a smaller guidescope and also covering the front of the finder scope.

They also demonstrated how to use a refractor as a projector for viewing the sun on a piece of white card as shown below.


Their main hints and tips for the transit were :-

  • Test your system well in advance of the event
  • Bring a thick towel or cloth to shield direct sunlight from the eyepiece, camera viewfiner or laptop screen
  • Charge your batteries for your camera and bring spare.
  • Take 1 image every minute to give 364 images for the entire transit.

More information can be found on the Venus transit webapge. Click Here


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