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05 January 2013

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Maureen Lang

John Minnerath,

As I've said in our email exchanges of these past few weeks, your astrophotographs are truly wondrous. It sounds as if succeeding in filming that image of the transit of Venus alone required Job's patience.

Beautiful detail on all your images!

John Minnerath

I had planned for the Venus transit for months.
It was a once in a lifetime event. :)
The day of the transit dawned crystal clear without a breath of wind. I thought I had it made.
The transit was to begin here in the early afternoon, it was a beautiful summer like day.
I'd checked and rechecked gear, the mount was running, tracking the Sun, the camera was showing fine results.

I forgot I live in the mountains! About 20 minutes before it was to begin ugly black clouds came roaring in from the west!
I stomped around the yard railing and cursing the Cloud Gods.

Evidently they heard me because suddenly the sky cleared and gave me enough time to end up with 10 captures.
I even had time to do some white light and then switch over to capture in Hydrogen alpha light.

All was well in my little domain.

The Twisted Genius

John Minnerath,

I've also enjoyed your space photography over the years. Would you tell us something about your telescope(s) and equipment? I bought a low end refractor telescope for my boys when they were young. We spent a lot of nights gazing at the moon. We all had a lot of fun.

Mike C

John Minnerath,

I notice the variation in tone of the Venusian disk. Are those cloud bands I'm seeing? Very good work, please post more.

John Minnerath

Mike,
Good observation.
No, that's the shadow of the planet as it is passing in front of the Sun.
There actually was some discussion about similar observations in images by others in WL. It was finally decided anything other than a black disk had to be artifacts caused by shooting a dark shadow against such a bright surface.

John Minnerath

TTG,
My main telescope for years has been a JMI NGT12.5 housed in my observatory near the house.
A malfunction destroyed the RA motors and since they're no longer made JMI is having a hard time trying to find replacements, so it's been out of commission for a while.
I used to mount a lot of other equipment on it since the mount has about a 250# weight capacity.
Now I have a Vixen GP set up in there that carries a Celestron 6" f8 achromatic refractor with a much modified double stacked 60mm Ha PST riding on top of that.

The Twisted Genius

John, all I can say is wow. I enjoyed just looking up all your equipment. Hope your RA motor problem gets resolved soon. I envy your home observatory. I'm limited to gawking at the moon and stars when I bring the garbage to the curb at night. Even that's immensely satisfying. At least my southern and eastern skies are still pretty dark.

Mike C

John,

Agreed, pretty good optical illusion though.

We had poor viewing of the transit where I'm located, but I had some fun that day scratch-building a double-reflecting pinhole viewer. It even worked, sort of.

mongo

TG,

There's still plenty of satisfying gawking to be done with just a Miller planisphere,a good pair of binoculars and a tripod. :-)

mongo

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