Thursday, 7 June 2012

Venus Transit as viewed by Mr & Mrs Pembs...

June the 5th 11.00 pm  First Contact via Hawaii.........

Both Helen and I were looking forward to seeing the transit, but due to cloud cover, Pembrokeshire was wrapped in a thick blanket of the grey stuff...  

Also our part of the planet was badly placed for the beginning of the event, so we watched First Contact via the webcam at the Mauna Loa Observatory Exploratorium

Fascinating imagery and the background music and narration were almost hypnotic...  

Thank you to all at the Mauna Loa Observatory for putting on the Live show....


Up at 04:15am - Off to find the Transit Show.....

Looking Southward...
The alarm went off at 04:15. Outside the grey clouds were still smothering the Pembrokeshire skies.
Helen and I got on the motorbike and went out looking for some hopeful gaps in the early morning sky.

We drove maybe two miles, and yes the clouds were beginning to thin...but still no clearing in the East.....however there was a lovely early morning blue sky towards the South...  so frustrating!

We could easily see the beautiful gibbous waning Moon, but from the South West right round to the South East nothing but cloud...   

We drove on.....  passing through the ghost town of Haverfordwest; no cars passed us, no people on the streets. only the occasional cat and a lone fox to greet us on this most glorious morning.....

We reached the local golf course some two miles out of town, only to notice that there was now cloud cover for a full 360 degrees..... 

It looked as if we had little chance of viewing the transit....

We decided to make our way slowly back and watch the Third/Fourth Contact via the internet....

05:27am We were about three miles from home, and noticed a possible break in the clouds... 

Quickly the bike was parked..... then we set up the camera and homemade solar filter ready for some Transit pictures....  
05:27am  Looking North - East

We waited a couple of minutes, but soon realised we were being teased by the Pembrokeshire clouds.....  !!

Interestingly, where we parked was close to a pub called "The Rising Sun". Pity it wasn't called the "The Clear Skies Rising Sun"  ...  :0)

Back on the bike to head off home.....

05:36am That's when we had a bit of good luck. About a mile into our homeward journey the Sun winked at us from behind the darkened clouds.....  

05:36am
Again I quickly parked the bike, brought out the camera and solar filter, climbed up onto a hedge, and we were greeted with the Sun's happy disc, shining brightly.....and waited...... 


05:48am After some anxious cloud watching, and the odd look by the occasional motorist, the Pembrokeshire Hedge Dwelling Astronomers Society were finally awarded a ONE MINUTE window of Transit viewing.....

Just enough time to capture Venus before Fourth Contact...

05:48am 
Goodbye Venus...

05.50am Helen and I were dancing on the hedge and shouting Yahoo!!!!!.... 

We literally had ONE MINUTE of viewing,  BUT....that one minute was TOTALLY worth it......

05:50am
Back in 2004 I had an uninterrupted view of the Transit. At the moment of Fourth Contact that day, I remember saying to Venus "Thank You Venus...hope to see you at the next one in 2012"  

Thankfully I was able to do that, albeit briefly ......

Yesterday, once again, I said goodbye to Venus, but this time there was no "see you at the next one".

The Venus Transits of 2004/12 truly have been a once in a lifetime event......

In the words of  Jeremiah_Horrocks

Thy return posterity shall witness;
Years must roll away,
But then at length the splendid sight
Again shall greet our distant children’s eyes

4 comments:

Paulie said...

I'm so glad you got that minute at least. The Rising Sun pub. Aptly named indeed!

Horrocks saw it first, and I think some of his descriptions are the best.Many of his papers were lost to history, so we are so lucky to have what he has written about that glorious thirty minutes of transit.

Pembrokeshire Astronomer said...

Hi Paulie,

what an amazing transit... I really enjoyed that live feed from Hawaii as well.....though that "Pembrokeshire Minute" was the icing on the cake... :0)

Jeremiah Horrocks was really lucky to witness any of those "glorious thirty minutes" the British weather in November can be an astronomers nightmare to say the least.... !!!

It's so sad that he died so young...
I wonder what discoveries he would have made had he lived as long as say Isaac Newton....?

I've been looking quickly through your photos on FaceBook, looks like you had a good turnout...and some brilliant weather... :0)

An unforgettable event... :0)

Catch you on FaceBook soon..

Mark
Pembs Astronomer

Drive-by Astronomy said...

Reads like a Jack Kerouac novel - "On the Road to the Venus Transit" by Mr. and Mrs. Pembs. Love it. I too saw the scarves blowing in the breeze as you scooted around the Welsh countryside in pursuit of this celestial cavalcade.

Mark Lee aka Pembrokeshire Astronomer said...

Diolch yn Fawr Mike... :0) Thank You Mike... :0)

It was great to be on the motorbike that time in the morning, no one else but Helen and I, the road was ours... :0)

The bike ride was as memorable as the Transit......

BTW I really liked your FB pictures, looks like you had a good family turnout... :0) Thank you for sharing....

I don't think any of us will be forgetting this transit in a hurry...

Mark

Nearby.. a lone dog howls..

The Full Mackerel Moon will be upon us on Monday,  nearby I can hear a dog practicing its lunar howling! Up above, the slow moving clouds...