Transit of Mercury

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Stewart Moore

After days of wall to wall sunshine the cloud today was, i suppose, predictable.  Sky clear for ingress with a few bits of high cirrus but raher more expanded con-trails. Observing visually using 300mm f/5.3 Newt changed to f/14.5 by reduced aperture home made Bader filter.  Seeing very poor (Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex).  Even though knowing where Mercury would appear the limb distinction was so poor I could not be sure I was seeing Mercury until 11:15UT when it was on the disk (I had intended to time first contact).  By 11:30UT it was well on the Sun as a jet black disk looking really beautiful.  After about 45 minutes I got bored… so had lunch.  It was not visible in Bader filtered 10×50 bins.

By 14:00UT the seeing had improved slightly but there was more haze around. Sky finally clouded around 15:00UT so stopped observing and did a major spider/ cobweb clearance from the observatory – the first time it had been opened for many months following knee problems.