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The Transit Set Up

At the turn of the year, I was fully expecting to be set up on the patio for the transit. However, the dry weather of February/March had allowed me to build the observatory a few months ahead of the planned build date. A month before the transit, I still hadn't got my Solar Scope back from repairs, and didn't know what scopes I'd be using. Thankfully, I got it back in mid April, and so at least one of the transit scopes would be in Hydrogen Alpha.

I did a test balance of the 200PDS, Evo 80ED and Lunt several days before the transit, but even with the extension bar, couldn't balance the weight of the three scopes and cameras. I settled for using the Lunt and Evo 80ED scopes. Cameras was another issue. I needed one ASI120MM on the Lunt scope, and wanted some white light close ups on the Evo. Unfortunately Firecapture can't run two identical cameras, and with only one laptop capable of running the ASI cameras, I was going to have to do losts of shutting down, cable swapping, re-starting Firecapture and shooting flats again with each change. In the end, I decided this was going to be too much work for my time table, and settled for the Nikon D3200 and x2 teleconverter on the Evo 80ED for full disc white light images. 

All that was needed was good weather! Good weather in Northern England in early May? A tall order, but amazingly, as the South was lost under a blanket of cloud, the North had a perfect clear sky all day. Seeing was variable, but I could live with that, but after the Venus transit of 2012 being completely clouded out, I was very relieved at blue sky in every direction.

I was out and set up by 09:30hrs BST, and spent the morning shooting white light and hydrogen alpha full disc mosaics with the ASI120MM camera on the Lunt and then the Evo 80ED. This gave me a nice disc onto which other captures could be overlaid if desired. The Nikon was then set up on the Evo and I waited for the start time. Both scopes were aligned so that the full disc was centred on the white light scope, the the Lunt with x2 barlow was pointing where I expected the transit to start.