Mercury Transit

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Tim Parsons

Quite a bit of low cloud and strong winds in Haslemere (South West Surrey), but there were decent breaks in the cloud during the first couple of hours of the transit to reward patient observation.

I was interested in Stewart’s comment that nothing was visible in 10×50 bins with the poor seeing at Thorpe-le-Soken. I used Lunt 11×70 bins with Orion solar filters and in the intermittent moments of good seeing, Mercury was very distinctly visible as was the sunspot group AR2542. Both were easy to pick out. The smaller sunspots near to 2542 and those near the solar equator were only very briefly visible in a single very steady moment of seeing (and, yes, I saw those before checking photos of the solar disk!). With only the binoculars and lots of cloud, first and second contact were not observed, I could only pick up Mercury once fully on the solar disk at 1116UT.

I had the Lunts mounted on the rather nifty Orion Paragon parallelogram mount which made for a comfortable and steady set up notwithstanding the tendency for it to act like a weather vane in the prevailing winds!

Thanks from me as well to all those who have posted some great pictures.