|EXIF: 1/500s f/11 at 300mm iso1600.|
Every once in a while I still enjoy a little astronomy... no where near as much as I once did, but when something like today's transit of Venus across the sun happens I need to find a way to be a part of it. No one will get to see this happen again for another 105 years!
Years ago I bought a small Questar telescope. Its mirror was only 3.5" diameter but it was perfect for planetary astronomy. What I used it for most however was for watching and tracking the movement of sunspots because of the handy little built in solar filter it had. It was the perfect rig to set up in the backyard on weekend and just observe. I used it more for sunspots than anything else.
One of my early observations with it included at night watching Io transit the face of Jupiter. I didn't even know it was going to happen but as I noticed Io getting closer to one edge it began casting a shadow on the face of the planet. Over the course of the evening I watched the tiny speck of Io's light go out, the shadow transit, then disappear, and then Io pop out the other side. It made an impression.
Watching Venus move over the face of the sun today was no less impressive. I made this image in the middle of my workday hand held with a Nikon D3 DLSR and a home made solar filter taped (draped is a better word) over the lens. Nothing fancy... just good old backyard astronomy. Something must have gotten a little wonky on the second image. I'm just happy they all came out as sharp as they did.
You'll surely see better images on television or in the magazines, but there's nothing like seeing something like this with your own eyeballs. That quality simply can't be beat whether you record it somehow or not.