The Transit of Mercury

2006 November 8

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These photographs were made with a Canon 20D and a 3.5-inch Questar. I drove around near Rutherford College, NC, looking for chances to view the Sun low in the western sky through assorted sucker holes as they blew through on November 8, 2006.

I saw the Sun for all of two or three minutes between the time the transit began and sunset some hours later. I mounted the Questar OTA in a set of Losmandy 125mm rings and attached them to a Giro DX alt az mount on a Linhof tripod. The outfit could be plucked out of the car and made ready to use in thirty seconds as I tried to get lined up wtih openings in the clouds and gaps in tall pines. I set the telescope up in half a dozen locations but only got two chances to make photos.

Shades of the transit of Venus in 2004! Then the Sun rose into haze and fog which quickly changed to rain. This time the Sun was setting with the transit of Mercury in progress just as several layers of clouds broke up after a two-day deluge. (The orange images borrow color from the 2004 photos for dramatic effect; the sky was actually blindingly bright and without color during the Mercury transit.)

2004 June 8
Transit of Venus


All photos ©2006, David Cortner, all rights reserved.

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