JeffPo's Solar Page

Last update:  08/22/17


Total Solar Eclipse:  08/21/17, Spring City, Tennessee

Prime focus of Vixen 80mm refractor, digital SLR camera.

Prime focus of Vixen 80mm refractor, digital SLR camera.

For more images and a write-up of the trip and observing session, visit my Great American Eclipse  webpage.


Mercury Transit of the Sun: 05/09/16

Taken via eyepiece projection method, Vixen 80mm refractor, Televue 20mm eyepiece, Canon Xsi digital SLR camera.

Mercury transit across the face of the sun, May 9, 2016.  Mercury transits occur roughly 13 times per century.  The last one was in 2006.  The next one will be Nov. 11, 2019.  After that you'll have to wait until 2032.

In the image, Mercury is the little black dot in the upper right area of the sun.  The “blemish” at the bottom, just to the right of the middle of the image, is a sunspot.  The silhouette of Mercury is much smaller than that of Venus.  Take a look at the Venus transit images further down the page.  Not only is Venus closer to us, it's much bigger than Mercury, thus it's a much bigger silhouette. 


Partial Solar Eclipse: 10/23/14

Partial solar eclipse, Oct. 23, 2014, 6:15pm or so.   From Fuquay-Varina, NC.  Orion ST-80, 25mm eyepiece, on an ultra flimsy cheap tripod, using the afocal technique of just holding the camera up to the eyepiece.  Shutter speed was 1/100sec.  The eclipse occurred right at sunset so I only had a few minutes of observing before it slipped behind my local trees.  Didn't have time to drive out to the lake for better horizons.  Nice large sunspot group in the middle of the sun's disk.  This solar eclipse was preceded by a total lunar eclipse during the last full moon, which occurred just before sunrise as the moon was setting.  I observed that one, but didn't snap any pictures.

Here's another view as the sun slipped behind some pine trees.


Partial Solar Eclipse: 11/03/13

Partial solar eclipse, Nov. 3, 2013, 7:00am.   From Fuquay-Varina, NC.  Orion ST-80, 15mm eyepiece, on an ultra flimsy cheap tripod, out the window of my closet. Didn't raise the window, or remove the screen. Too lazy to even attach the camera (Canon Xsi), just held it to the eyepiece, and snapped a 1/60sec shot.  This was a hybrid annular-total eclipse. That means for part of its path, it was an annular eclipse -- where a thin ring of sunlight is visible around the moon's shadow -- and for another part, it was a total eclipse.


Venus Transit, June 5, 2012

The transit of Venus across the face of the sun is a rare but predictable astronomical phenomena.  They repeat every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years.  The last Venus transit was on June 8, 2004.  Before that, the last transit was in December 1882.  The next transit will be in December of 2117.

The Venus transit of 2004 was not visible from my location because of heavy cloud cover.  Luckily, the skies cleared for me to get a great view of the June 5, 2012 transit.  For some reason, the mere view of Venus crossing the sun made it seem more "planet like".  I've observed all the planets in the solar system.  And despite the incredible detail you can see on planets like Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars (at times), seeing Venus slowly trek it's way across the sun gave me a sense of a three dimensional, active solar system.  Venus is basically Earth's sister planet in size, so it helped to give some scale to the size of our local star, and reaffirm that we circle it in an everlasting astronomical dance.

Venus is just beginning it's trek across the face of the sun.  Taken at the prime focus of my Vixen 80mm refractor with my Canon Xsi digital SLR camera.  From Fuquay Varina, NC.

Venus is now fully on the sun's disk.  The sun also had quite a few sunspots scattered here and there.  Taken via positive projection on my Vixen 80mm refractor with my Canon Xsi digital SLR camera, using a 20mm eyepiece.  From Fuquay Varina, NC.

Venus continues its transit across the sun.  June 5, 2012.  Taken at the prime focus of my Vixen 80mm refractor with my Canon Xsi digital SLR camera.  From Fuquay Varina, NC.


Sunspots, MASP 2003

Here's an image of the sun on 10/24/03 (at MASP 2003), showing a couple of massive sunspots.  Image is an afocal shot using my Nikon 995 camera, a 40mm lens, on my 8" SCT with a full aperture Orion solar filter (borrowed from a club member).  The sunspots were so huge that you could just hold up the filter and easily see the sunspots without any magnification at all.

Sunspot

Here's a sunspot I captured using my Nikon 995 digital camera afocally on my 80mm refractor (11/23/02).

Sunspot

Here's another, slightly smaller sunspot I captured using my Nikon 995 digital camera afocally on my 80mm refractor (11/23/02).

Partial Solar eclipse October 1986

This is a partial solar eclipse from October 3, 1986.  It was taken with a 200mm zoom lens from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Partial Solar Eclipse, May 1994

This is a partial solar eclipse from May 10, 1994.  It was taken with a 200mm zoom lens from Redmond, Washington.  From some parts of the country, like El Paso, Texas, it was an annular eclipse.

Partial solar eclipse, February 26, 1998, Raleigh, NC

This is a partial solar eclipse from February 26, 1998.  It was taken with a 200mm zoom lens from Cary, North Carolina.  It was a total eclipse for those down in the Caribbean.  A friend held a piece of #14 welder's glass in front of my lens while I snapped the picture.


Mercury Transit of the Sun: 11/15/99

Mercury transit

Here you can just barely make out the disk of Mercury, as it was making a transit on Nov. 15, 1999.  Image taken via afocal method on my 80mm refractor.

Sunspot grouping

Sunspot groupings on Nov. 15, 1999.  Image taken via afocal method on my 80mm refractor.


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