Mercury transit of 2016

Hey all!

Yes. I am now getting the feel. Third consecutive post! Now, I am gonna update on the Mercury transit session we had on 10th of May, 2016.

We were almost at the end of our end semester exams, when we received notification from the astronomy association about the Mercury transiting across the sun. We were plunged in deep thought: can we conduct the session, given we have exams to study? There was some scattered enthusiasm, which made me think, and I decided to hold the session. Mind you, I had become the club head then, and wanted to start off soon, given our success of the Yelagiri trip. So, I just thought- exams come and go, but not a transit. The next one would be in 2021 or so, and hence, I gathered around people who were enthu. 

Sunil and Anup were initially not enthu, but seeing others working hard, and seniors also urging us to hold a session, their enthu sparked up (yeah, exams depress everyone, and I was among them, till my exams started to end!), and they started putting fight.

On 10th after the exams, we headed to rooftop to make a dustbin sun projector with an X-ray filter on the primary(we don’t have a solar filter 😥  ). We made one, and used a Barlow on the eyepiece, but couldn’t get the image well. 4:30 p.m, and we start panicking. We don’t know what to do, and to make things good/worse, we find Prof. Suresh Govindarajan and Prof. Pranawa Deshmukh coming for the session. We get blasted by them for not sending the mail to campus residents, but taken with a pinch of salt, we had more pressing problems. By some stroke of genius, we decide to use a DSLR, rather than a screen for projection! We ask a guy who has been working on sunspots, and has a DSLR, to help us project the planet to public. And what’s the result?

Great success! Everyone spotted Mercury, and a sunspot came along for the ride. With many images captured, I processed them, and sent them to the professors who attended/not attended session. We felt good, as the professors and our seniors were very happy on pulling out a session during the exams!

This was the most recent session we conducted, as after the exams, we planned to have a Summer school for the students, so that they can be trained for the Messier Marathons! So more about the summer school will have to wait till the month of June!

I have posted some pics below. Please note that they belong to Astronomy club, IIT Madras, and are not available for free distribution. Thanks!

Sunspot and Mercury marked on the Sun’s disk

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