With uncertain weather for the Transit of Venus, I decided to stay home rather than chase holes in the clouds in the hope of being able to observe the transit. Predictions for my home location were for clearing at least a little bit in the late afternoon, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
I did a quick and dirty dry run last week to make sure everything was working in the observatory, but today it turned out to have been a little too quick. Everything worked, but few things worked properly. The pier has shifted over the winter, and required levelling. The mount tracks and slews properly, but the alignment is off (due to the shifting pier), and once the mount was levelled, the alignment was off even further. Consequently, though the mount tracks something, it doesn’t track the sun very well at all. I wanted to try the Lumix camera mounted a focally on the 110 mm refractor, but I had trouble locating the correct cable for the focuser, and when I tried to focus through the screen, it turned out to be just a touch too small. There’s no way of controlling the Lumix from a laptop, so I had to trigger the shutter manually – with all that implies for image sharpness.
Still, I was able to muddle through, and I’m fairly happy with the images I did manage to get before the clouds rolled over me. I will post at least one of the images (pre-second contact) and, I hope, a brief movie (second contact showing black drop effect). Right now everything is on the iPad though, and it may take a while – watch for a link!