Your 2019 Mercury Transit Images!

Mercury Transit 2019-11-11 Time 10-03-50-0631 by flickr user Photon_chaser. Copyright Frank Tornyai. Mercury is about to leave the face of our Sun. Hα image through Wollensak 153/1200 achromat using Quark Chromo with Tele Vue 4x Powermate™ using Lunt double stacked etalons, and ASI174 mono camera. Software used was Genika Astro capture, PIPP, AS!3 , Images Plus and Photoshop.

Images from the 2019 Mercury Transit made with Tele Vue gear have now been posted to social media. We present here the best (with permission) and note that Tele Vue Powermate™ amplifiers “shone” in the creation of most.  Not only does Powermate™ help fast, modern scopes achieve a focal length suitable for imaging the tiny planet, but some high-end, drawtube-side, narrow-band filters requires a Powermate’s telecentric operation to create parallel rays for best image contrast. (See Daystar application of Rear-Mounted Filter page).

We feature Frank Tornyai’s Hydrogen-alpha (Hα) image on the top of this blog and below. He tells us why he employed a 4x Powermate™ amplifier in his image train for the Transit:

I am using TeleVue 4x Powermate™ as the modified telecentric for the Quark Chromo to achieve the required focal length for the Hα etalon. The original telecentric from Daystar isn’t working well for me and your product gives the optimal performance. I can also use a larger diameter filter from Andover on the front of it.

The 4x Powermate™ is the essential part of my Hα setup. Great product!

Mercury transit on 2019-11-11_T_08-45-53-0574 by flickr user Photon_chaser. Copyright Frank Tornyai. Hα image through Wollensak 153/1200 achromat using Quark Chromo with Tele Vue 4x Powermate™ using Lunt double stacked etalons, and ASI174 mono camera. Software used was Genika Astro capture, PIPP, AS!3 , Images Plus and Photoshop.
Some people even took photos of their setup to post on social media. From central Florida, Richard S. Wright Jr. took a photo of his Tele Vue 4x Powermate™ and Tele Vue 55mm Plössl visual setup when the clouds obscured the view.
 
Solar Setup by Instagram user accidentalastro. Copyright Richard S. Wright Jr. From Seminole State College of Florida, this setup provided a “killer view” when the clouds allowed. Daystar Quantum solar filter, Tele Vue 4x Powermate™, Tele Vue 55mm Plössl, on Skywatcher Esprit 120 scope.
Twitter user @Tiltonstar1 was in “sunny Leicestershire” in the UK with his Tele Vue-NP101is on a beautiful, rock-solid Gibraltar HD4 mount. He was setup for visual observation through a Daystar Quark (Hα) and Tele Vue 40mm Plössl. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate this time around.
 
2019 Mercury Transit from “sunny Leicestershire” by Twitter user @Tiltonstar1. All rights reserved. Tele Vue-NP101is with Daystar Quark filter, 40mm Plössl, on Gibraltar HD4 mount.
Noted London amateur astrophotographer Roger Hutchinson often uses a Powermate™ to capture details on the Sun, Moon, and planets. We featured him in the past on our blog (see: Roger Hutchinson: Powermate User Profile) and he continues to use his trusty 2.5x Powermate™ as shown by his Mercury Transit images below taken with a Hα solar scope .
 
0191111 12-37 Mercury Transit by flickr user Roger Hutchinson. All rights reserved. The dark shadow of the planet Mercury a few minutes after it started transiting the face of the Sun. Shot from London on the 11th November 2019. Lunt LS60THα Hα solar scope with Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™ and ASI174MM camera.
20191111 13-11UT – 13-24UT Mercury Transit composite by flickr user Roger Hutchinson. All rights reserved. A composite of 4 images shot from London during the transit of Mercury on the 11th November 2019. The position of Mercury (L-R) is shown at 13:11UT, 13:16UT, 13:19UT & 13:24UT Lunt LS60THa Hα solar scope with ASI174MM camera and Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™. False Colour image.

At Tele Vue Optics, in New York, we setup Hα and white light filtered scopes with Powermates™ on our patio and were able to get views throughout most of the event — only getting totally blocked out by the clouds in the final hours.

On Tele Vue’s patio, Company President David Nagler did visual observations of the Mercury Transit. Equipment: Tele Vue-85 with 4x Powermate™, Daystar Quark (Hα), and our 32mm Plössl riding on a wood Panoramic mount. Staff Photo copyright Tele Vue Optics, Inc.
Full solar disk and inset close up image using Tele Vue-85 Hα above. Image by Satesh Mahadeo with Samsung S7 edge. All rights reserved.
 
Animated time lapse GIF after the midpoint of the transit. The frames here represent 74-minutes of time. Tele Vue-NP101is with 2x Powermate™ and Canon 6D DSLR. From Tele Vue’s patio. Staff Photos copyright Tele Vue Optics, Inc.
“White light” filters, that block the intensity of the Sun at all wavelengths, are much less expensive than H-alpha setups and work with all focal length scopes.
 
On the Tele Vue patio we setup such a filter on the  Tele Vue-NP101is with 2x Powermate™ to take full-disk images during the Transit. Using software and a connection to a laptop, our Canon 6D DSLR snapped images every two minutes through this setup. But clouds passed in front of the face of the Sun and would occasionally obscure it. You can see the impact of the clouds on imaging in this animated GIF above that shows 74-minutes of Mercury zooming toward the edge of the Sun. In the end, the clouds “eclipsed” the Sun and we were not able to see the egress of the planet from the solar disk. 
 
North of us, John Kocijanski of the Catskills Astronomy Club was also imaging Mercury through scattered clouds. Instead of a Powermate, to get the magnification required to capture the planet on the disk of the Sun, he used a Tele Vue 32mm Plössl eyepiece. He imaged with a compact digital zoom camera aimed into this eyepiece. Note in the image below how the form of the clouds draws interest toward the limb that the planet is near.
 
Mercury Meets the Sun and Clouds by flickr user John Kocijanski of the Catskills Astronomy Club. All rights reserved. A picture of the Mercury transit as seen from Monticello, NY. Despite the mostly cloudy forecast the sky was clear enough to view most of the transit through high clouds except for the very end. Image taken afocally using a Canon G15 camera through a 32mm Tele Vue Plössl eyepiece in an Orion 127mm Apex Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. A type A glass solar filter was used.

About as far from frigid New York as you can get and still be in the States, Alex Dzierba, was using a white light filter and 2.5x Powermate™ on a small scope to image Mercury as it rose over an extinct volcanic crater.  

Transit at Sunrise by Instagram user adzierba. Copyright Alex Dzierba. Mercury Transit in progress as the Sun rose over Koko Crater on the east side of Honolulu. Taken with a Canon T3i on an Astrotech AT65EDQ refractor with a Baader Astrozap non-selective “white” solar filter and a 2x Powermate™. Colorized in Photoshop.

On the other side of the world, flickr user Fran Cisco, in sunny Spain, imaged the Mercury Transit with help from the Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™ and a contrast enhancing filter that isolated the light around 540nm wavelength.

2019-11-11 – 13:13 T.U. Tránsito de Mercurio by flickr user Fran Cisco. Copyright F. Delgado. Mercury Transit from Bembibre, Spain. Best frames from 30-secs of video at 1920 x 1080. Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120ED APO refractor (120/900 f/7.5) with Baader Neutral Density Filter 1¼” (ND 0.9, T=12.5%), Baader Solar Continuum Filter 1¼” (540nm), Baader 2″ Cool-Ceramic Safety Herschel Prism, Tele Vue 2.5x Powermate™, and ZWO ASI178MM camera on iOptron CEM40 mount. Software used was SharpCap, AutoStakkert, Registax and Photoshop.
Don’t put away your Powermate™ yet! They’re useful daily through filtered scopes for solar viewing and imaging. Your solar setup can also come in handy near year’s-end for the annular solar eclipse on December 26th that will be visible at least in part from areas of Russia, Mongolia, China, the Horn of Africa, out to Indonesia, Australia and Japan. We can also look forward to a total and an annular eclipse in 2020.
 
About Tele Vue Powermate™ Amplifiers
Powermate™ come in 1¼” (2.5x & 5x) and 2″ (2x, & 4x).

Our 4-element Powermate™ photo / visual amplifiers increase the focal length of your scope with reduced aberrations, greater magnification potential, and compact size size compared to typical Barlow lenses. Also, Powermate™ amplifiers can be stacked with no adverse impact. Tele Vue Powermates™ are available in 2″ barrels (2x & 4x) with 1¼” adapters and 1¼” barrels (2.5x & 5x). Can be used with diagonal or without using a short extension.

Imaging with Powermate™ is easy: the visual tops all unscrew to accept a specific Tele Vue Powermate™ T-Ring Adapter for use with standard camera T-rings. Otherwise a cameras just needs a slip-in 1¼” or 2” nosepiece to slide into the visual top.

 

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