The Transit of
An event not seen since
1882 seemed the ideal opportunity for a holiday somewhere warm,
and interesting. Whilst traveling always makes the taking of equipment
difficult, missing the event due to fickle English weather meant
I was prepared to for go the great images I would get from the
toys at home, and settle for something a little more modest, and
be sure to see the event. I sure as hell needed a good holiday
As it happened whilst
contemplating where I would like to view the transit, I received
a note from Explorer Tours to say they were running a Transit
of Venus trip to Egypt. Well that settled it then, Egypt it was
to be, and the trip booked within 10 mins of the flyer arriving
through my letter box.
Obviously gear would
have to be minimum, so I decided on the usual video gear, JVC
KY-F55 3chip camera, ra driven mount, and the 500mm zoom lens
which would give me full disc diameter horizontally, and about
half disc vertically on my video walkman. That seemed like a not
too untidy package. Oh yes, and a cover to try and reduce the
The location for the
transit was actually our hotel in Sharm El Sheikh called Ocean
Club. More of a motel than a hotel, but it was great place to
stay with excellent staff. With some assistance from Jenny of
Explorers I managed to set up a small facility on top of the hotel
roof, and run power from Helen & Davids room. With the heat
expected to be high 30's C, I arranged some brollys, and tables
etc to help in keeping us going through the almost 6 hour marathon.
Plenty of water, and reasonable access for a beer.
As it was temperatures
were recorded at between 43 - 45 C in the shade at the height
of the Transit, and about 52C in the sun. That roof reflecting
the heat upwards was almost unbearable.
The day of the transit
was crisp and clear, they don't have clouds here often, and despite
problems with camera over heating the day before so meaning not
an accurately aligned mount we waited for the moment. Transit
time duly came and the disc duly appeared at approximately 0813
local time. What I wasn't expecting was that it would take a complete
20 mins for the full disc to get on the surface. I left the video
to run for the first 40 mins, and the last 40 mins, and also a
few mins every 30 mins just to be able to get representative frames
from the video.
My timing device launched
itself onto the ground, so times were only going to be approximate
from my mobile, so I didn't really bother too much, and just enjoyed
Here are a few stills
taken from the video tape showing typical positions etc. The main
shots are approximately 30 mins apart.
Here is a montage showing
the passage of Venus over the suns disc over the 6 hrs
Here are a couple of
animations Ingress and Egress. They take a while to load, but
are interesting none the less.
The location was quite
good, and we were joined on the roof by the BBC who had flown
in the day before to run a live satellite link here. They had
a touch more gear, and spent time imaging using a SKY 90, and
a 90mm H alpha setup.
Here is the Beeb's
set up, and below is the live feed around the facility generated
by Nick James so we could watch inside if needed.
Here are a few general
shots of the folks having view of the transit with various instruments
Well I hope that gives
you an idea of the event. Guess just need to start thinking about
the next one in 2012. Best get a bit better planned for that one.
Seem to recall South East Asia may be my best move then.
1999 . ...............
Transit of Mercury May 7th 2003 .......Transit
of Mercury November 15th 1999......
Annular Eclipse May 31st 2003
the Sun ...