Monday, May 09, 2016

'cast the ToM event

Katrina used Periscope, associated with her Twitter account, to periodically webcast our observations and imaging of the transit of Mercury from the Carr Astronomical Observatory on the Blue Mountains. We put out five broadcasts in total.

We started from just before first contact, approximately 7:00 AM, and ran for about 30 minutes. We used hydrogen-alpha filters, specifically the Solar Max by Coronado. For the third video, we switched our configuration to "white light" or full spectrum. Tony jumped in at various points with some commentary and explanation. Ian W helped with some fact checking. I did some technical support.

Mercury transiting the Sun, white light, screen capture from iPad


We used a Tele Vue 101mm refractor telescope that was piggybacked on a Celestron 14" SCT. The TV101 is a classic telescope, a long thin white tube. Both of these 'scopes ride on a Paramount ME robotic mount. The mount in turn is controlled using TheSky6 software. It features different tracking rates. When we remembered, we implemented solar tracking.

The image capture was accomplished with an old MallinCam colour astronomy camera. This was configured and controlled with the MallinCam Camera Control software. Image input was handled with an AverMedia PCMCIA card and associated AverMedia TV software via the composite feed. Image output was made to an external LCD monitor.

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