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06/05/2012 17:23 CDT

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06/05/2012 17:26 CDT

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06/05/2012 17:33 CDT

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06/05/2012 18:00 CDT

The time approached for the beginning of the last Venus transit during our lifetime, and both branches of the VSC stood ready to capture the event. Unfortunately, the anticipated wait at the VSC-2 here in Riverview, FL was all for naught. A mass of the clouds moving east northeast from the Gulf of Mexico engulfed nearly the entire state except for the extreme western tip of the Florida panhandle.

Despite our ill fated weather here at the VSC-2, Gary Barabino at the VSC-1 had slightly better conditions and was able to snag these great images. To his dismay though, Gary had to contend with a huge oak tree and incoming clouds in order to get these great shots; as illustrated in the last image above. Nevertheless, he did a fine job! Gary's notes on the transit are shown below.




Business end image of Gary Barabino's Venus Transit imaging setup. Click to see blowup!

Here is a business end photo of Gary's imaging setup in preparation to capture the last Venus Transit to be observed within our lifetime. The telescope used is a homebuilt 110mm f/10 Jaegers refractor equipped with a Baader solar filter and prime-focus set up of a Olympus E-500 DSLR. Click to see blowup!

Side view image of Gary Barabino's Venus Transit imaging setup. Click to see blowup!

This is a side view of the same setup in Gary's backyard in Slidell, LA. The setup performed quit well in capturing the only images the Vega Sky Center were able to get of this event. Click to see blowup!


I began to make preparations for this historic event a few days ago, and decided that I would use one of two instruments for the purpose of observation and photography of the transit- the 4-inch CO-100 Vixen-built Celestron f/10 Newtonian reflector outfitted with the 4-inch Thousand Oaks glass solar filter riding an eq-2 head and tripod, or the 4.5 inch f/10 Jaegers built refractor mounted atop the Versa-Ped I settled on the Jaegers, and got it ready. The scope would be set up with the Olympus Evolt 500 DSLR attached, and the scope to be used with a 2 inch diameter Baader Solar filter. I had to work the day of the event but would get off at 3:00 pm. According to reports it was to begin at 5:04 LMT (New Orleans) time so I had plenty of time to get home.

I arrived back in Slidell at 4:05 pm CDT and loaded my vehicle with the 4.5 inch Jaegers and placed the Versa-Ped in the back of my pick-up truck. I left home and headed east  on hwy 190 out of Slidell to find a spot  with low west southwest  horizon so that I could  image the event to sunset.

I also was keeping a wary eye on the 58 percent partly cloudy skies, and noticed that a shower was moving in over the area where I wanted to set up. Over my home site my skies were pretty decent with scattered summer cumulus clouds, and I noticed that it was getting close to the start of the transit. I had to hurry back home, set up the jaegers on the Versa-Ped, attached the Baader Solar Filter and Olympus Camera. The skies in the vicinity of the sun were mostly clear and some patches of cumulus were nearby. When I got set up and looked through the camera's viewfinder, I saw that the event had already begun. It was one of the most surreal sights I had seen in quite some time; the ink black disc of Venus making its way across the disc of the sun. From my vantage point at home I got quite a few images.

Toward the end of the session, I ended up moving the scope assembly slightly farther east of the trees to my west and continued to image .As a matter of fact, the last image was shot in a gap between oak limbs!   Also, cloud cover began to increase and became more problematic toward the end of my session and by this time   the sun dropped behind some oak trees and that put an end to the event for me. Mel had informed me that cloud cover had hindered his efforts to image this transit, and was disappointed that he had missed both this one and the June 8, 2004 event. I did notice some anomaly between that transit and this one. Though it was cloudy during the time the 2004 transit occurred, the sun rose as it was in progress and from my location had it been clear in the vicinity of the sun, only the last few minutes might have been witnessed just after sunrise. This time the transit was still in progress at sunset from both the VSC 1 and VSC 2 locales.


Gary Barabino Sr., VSC-1