The 2004 Venus Transit

Just as last year for the Mercury transit (see here), we (some enthousiastic guys from the Planetary Missions Division of ESA/ESTEC)  have observed the Venus transit from  ESTEC. These two pages show what we did. Click on the images below to enlarge them!

Preparation            The day of the transit - Venus             People          Equipment

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I set up the 6" refractor with a video camera in partially cloudy skys on the platform which will at some point house my new telescope.... To the left you can see my 'music stand mount' for the projection of the sun. Still missing is the 102 mm Vixen refractor which goes on the Polaris mount.

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I was not alone! These visitors showed up... but actually they showed no interest whatsover in what I was doing.

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I used an Astrovid 2000 camera behind a flip-mirror assembly. The flip-mirror is extremely handy to check where you are actually looking. I also tried a Watec camera which is a much smaller camera head, but somehow there seems to be an automatic gain  that always overexposed the sun image. Also I cannot change the shutter settings on the Watec, that's why I reverted to the good old Astrovid.

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To look at the video images, I just use one of our meteor camera boxes. They contain an intensified video camera (which was not used here), a video recorder, a monitor, a Cuno time inserter which can be synchronized via a GPS receiver. Advantage:  just plug in the video signal and give it power (12 V or 220 V), the rest of the setup is ready to go.

Later it turned out that there is a culprit: The video recorder is a special security recorder which can record in a '24 h mode'. Then it will only record every 5th frame or so. Unfortunately this seems to be the default mode the recorder is in, so I recorded the first part of the Venus transit and this test in time-lapse mode without noticing.

Lesson learnt: Check your video recorder settings before you record something unique!


This page prepared by dvk, 11 Jun 2004.
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