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11-12-2019, 08:46 AM - 8 Likes   #1
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November 11, 2019 Mercury Transit - Orange County, California

I used a Sky-Watcher Maksutov-Newtonian 190mm with an Astrozap Baader Film Solar Filter on my Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G mount. For imaging I used a Pentax K5II with remote at ISO100 and 1/1000s exposures. I stacked 5 to 7 images in ImagesPlus.
Enjoy!!

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11-12-2019, 08:57 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eric Seavey Quote
November 11, 2019 Mercury Transit - Orange County, California
Amazing!

Just curious -- I would have expected to see sun spots or other features on the surface (I don't know much about astronomy). Would you mind explaining briefly the absence in these images? Thanks.


- Craig
11-12-2019, 09:13 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Amazing!

Just curious -- I would have expected to see sun spots or other features on the surface (I don't know much about astronomy). Would you mind explaining briefly the absence in these images? Thanks.


- Craig
The number of sunspots varies on a 11-year cycle. We're near the minimum right now so there are no spots.

See Solar cycle - Wikipedia for more.
11-12-2019, 10:09 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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This image does a great job of showing the difference in scale between these two heavenly bodies. Well done Eric.

I've collected some basic info about the planets from the NASA website. Here's a few facts about Mercury:

Distance from Sun of about 36 million miles (0.39 AU)*
Light time from the Sun - 2.8 minutes
Length of day - 59 Earth days
Length of year - 88 Earth days
Smallest planet - only slightly larger than Earth's Moon.
Surface gravity - 12.1 ft/s2 (0.378g)
Equatorial circumference - 9,525.1 miles
Equatorial Inclination - 0 degrees

*Mercury's highly eccentric, egg-shaped orbit takes the planet as close as 29 million miles and as far as 43 million miles from the Sun.

With a radius of 1,516 miles, Mercury is a little more than 1/3 the width of Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Mercury would be about as big as a pea. (The Sun would be as big as a 7 foot diameter weather balloon.) Standing on Mercury's surface, the Sun would appear more than three times larger than it does on Earth, and the sunlight would be as much as 11 times brighter. Despite its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet; that title belongs to nearby Venus.


Last edited by Apet-Sure; 11-12-2019 at 10:13 AM. Reason: copy and paste between apps caused errors
11-12-2019, 10:14 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Just curious -- I would have expected to see sun spots or other features on the surface (I don't know much about astronomy). Would you mind explaining briefly the absence in these images? Thanks.
Adding to what photoptimist said about solar cycles, 75% of the days in 2019 have not had any sunspots. For comparison purposes, at solar maximum in 2012-13 every day had sunspots.

There's a new sunspot just rotating around to face Earth today.
11-12-2019, 10:29 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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For a good look at the sun, go to SDO/HMI Continuum Image (click to enlarge image)

For alternate wavelengths, look here: The very latest SOHO images

For more, try BBSO - Latest Images

QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
There's a new sunspot just rotating around to face Earth today.
DeadJohn's "spot" (I'd call it a disturbance at the moment) is right at the edge at about the 8 o'clock position in the NASA SDO/HMI Continuum Image. It's somewhat more prominent in the EIT 304, 195, and 171 images in the second NASA URL above.

And, yes, the sun spot activity has been very low for quite a while.

But, you can see other stuff in front of the sun! https://www.facebook.com/pg/APOD.Sky/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2217550268349180

Last edited by AstroDave; 11-12-2019 at 10:37 AM. Reason: add facebook ref
11-12-2019, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eric Seavey Quote
I used a Sky-Watcher Maksutov-Newtonian 190mm with an Astrozap Baader Film Solar Filter on my Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G mount. For imaging I used a Pentax K5II with remote at ISO100 and 1/1000s exposures. I stacked 5 to 7 images in ImagesPlus.
Enjoy!!
Oh, that's a stunner!


Nice work.
11-12-2019, 12:13 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Amazing!

Just curious -- I would have expected to see sun spots or other features on the surface (I don't know much about astronomy). Would you mind explaining briefly the absence in these images? Thanks.


- Craig
Yes, as others have said, we're at solar minimum now. Also, we are coming off the lowest activity solar cycle in over 100 years, so the Sun has indeed been relatively lethargic for some time. The biggest peak in (some of) our lifetimes was around 1960.

11-12-2019, 12:50 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Wow - great capture!
11-12-2019, 01:19 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Awesome, humbling and underwhelming, all in the same image. It's so easy to miss Mercury in the image, or to even assume it's just a spot on the sensor.

Beautiful shot, well done!
11-12-2019, 03:34 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Well done!
11-12-2019, 07:11 PM - 1 Like   #12
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You've done a great job here. Thanks for sharing.
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