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

During the day of the transit, we set up at 06h45m in the morning in front of the main gate of ESTEC. About 600 people looked through our telescopes... We had set up:

  • A 5" Celestron showing the complete sun in projection;
  • A 4" Vixen refractor showing the complete sun in projection (with a much nicer image than the C-5);
  • My 6" Meade refractor with a Thousand Oaks glass filter with an Astrovid 2000 video camera, showing the enlarged Venus on a video monitor, or, for special guests, via a flip mirror in real life;
  • A 10" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain and an H-alpha filter showing the prominences of the sun
  • Some smaller scopes by members of the Astronomy Club Estec (ACE)

    The following images show what happened on that day. Click on the image to enlarge. Unless otherwise noted, the images were taken by photographing the sun projected on a white paper through the 4" Vixen refractor, with an Olympus 5060W digital camera.
    click to enlarge <- The first image - almost half the way in already! Time is 07h30m CEST. Especially in the enlarged image the sunspots close to the center of the sun are clearly visible. The air was exceptionally stable in the morning, you should see a total of six spots, one with umbra and penumbra. Image contrast-enhanced by 20 % and brightness reduced by 10 % using Paint Shop Pro. click to enlarge

    Venus at 08h42m. As opposed to the left image, I did not cut out the sun but show the complete projection screen. It is fastened to a music stand with laundry clips.

    click to enlarge <- The sun and Venus at 12h02m CEST. The left side of the image is in focus, the right side not quite - sorry about that. click to enlarge

    Exit of Venus - the time is 13h14m. The small insert shows Venus in full scale.

    And here my favorite image!

    click to enlarge This image was obtained through the 6" refractor with the Astrovid 2000 camera, Thousand Oaks solar filter. Great, isn't it? The sun's limb can be seen on the left, Venus entered from the left. To the upper right there are two sunspots. And of course in the middle there is an airplane! The fuzzy large spots are dust somewhere in my optical system. Click on the image for a larger version. This really is a black-and-white image, the color comes from reading it into Paintshop and clicking 'Colors/Colorize', and setting the hue to 50.

    This page prepared by dvk, 12 Jun 2004.
    Return to Koschny's Astronomy.