Mercury crossing sun - May 2016

Today was a very special day for star-gazers and astronomers. For about 7 hours planet Mercury crossed the sun which is a quite seldom event. At 11:12 UTC Mercury started to show up in front of the sun and left again at 18:42 UTC. The little planet will not transit again until 2019 and then again 2032. More information can of course be found on wikipedia.

One of the images made it into "My Top Astro-Pics Gallery" and is also available in full resolution.

For me it was great to see this with my own eyes and again getting an idea of how huge the sun is compared to all the planets. On the pictures untrained eyes have to look twice to recognize little Mercury. Simply fantastic!

Partial solar eclipse in Germany 2015

warning

Never look into the sun without appropriate sun filters!

For 20th March 2015 a partial solar eclipse was predicted for central Europe. For me currently situated close to Stuttgart a maximum coverage of about 68% was calculated. This should have been my first solar eclipse under clear sky since I own my telescope! When the weather forecast predicted clear sky for Friday morning I almost couldn't believe it. It felt a little like being a kid right before Christmas 🙂

Two hours before the party was about to start I already set up all the equipment on our terrace. I think it was a good idea to not drink a coffee this morning since I was already pretty nervous 😀 beside seeing the moon moving in front of the sun with my own eyes I also wanted to take some pictures with my Fujifilm X-T1 camera. For this reason I ordered a telescope adapter for my camera some time ago (see this post).

After doing several tests with the equipment I was satisfied and just waiting for the big moment 🙂

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Plane crosses sun seen through telescope!

After a long winter, today the sun came out and a little bit of spring seemed to arrive. I did not let this chance pass and dug out my telescope to do some sun observations. At this point I want to put a reminder:

warningNever look into the sun without an appropriate solar filter!

Beside some visual observations I also had the plan to record some videos with my Fujifilm X-T1 camera (+adapter) to give others an impression of how the sun looks like through an 8" Newton telescope with a solar filter. Since I am living close to an entry lane I had the luck to capture a plane flying right through my field of view! Luckily the camera was set to recording at this moment 🙂