A rare celestial event occurred on 6th June 2012. Astronomers around the world must have observed this event, which will be the last of our life time. Venus transit, which occurs when Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a dot gliding slowly across the surface of Sun. This is a big opportunity to make observation and we decided to observe this event through our telescopes.
For those who woke up late, or missed to witness the event, you will have to wait for only 105 more years, as the next transit is estimated in the year 2117. 😉 The transit was observed at 3:39 a.m. but could be viewed from sunrise to 10:22 a.m.
We photographed the event with our specialized setups attached to our telescopes at the College of Technology and Engineering (CTAE) premises. As the event falls in the beginning of the monsoon, there was high probability of overcast in southern and coastal parts of India. Also observation spot should not have hilly area on east side as hills will block the sun for more time in the morning. Based on our survey about different location in India, Udaipur was to be having very less probability of clouds on that particular day; hence the location was best for observation.
What exactly we did: We used 6 inch Newtonian fully automated telescope attached with AV live streaming on laptop for live monitoring of progress of the event. The telescope is fully automated with help of three DC stepper motors. Furthermore to take photographs CCD based camera was also attached. This Canon Powershot A540 camera was having modified firmware with CHDK. CHDK gives SLR functionalities to control aperture and shutter speed. Another 4 inch Newtonian telescope was using similar camera to get pictures. This was 100% manual operation. The laptop controlled Nikon D3000 with specialized solar filter was taking an automated set of photographs.
Finally, who we are: We are the special interest group of young amateur astronomers. Our team consisted of Mr. Rahul Ramtekkar (Mumbai), Mr. Anirudhha Khadakkar (Pune), Ms. Deepankshi Chittora (Udaipur) and Mr. Indrapal Singh Jhala (Udaipur). We practiced a lot to achieve perfecting in capturing the event in camera. The team took approximately 800 photographs few of them are displayed below.
Article and Photo Courtesy: Deepankshi Chittora