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TOPIC: FAQ for Mercury transit.

FAQ for Mercury transit. 1 year 8 months ago #58

  • Lorena Aristizabal
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1. What do I need to take the photograph?

You will need one of the next two options: A camera with a zoom lens or a telescope that magnify the image of the Sun with a camera adapted in order to take the picture. In any case the usage of a solar filter will be necessary not to damage the delicated sensors of the camera.


2. How do I take the photograph?

You should aim to the solar disc while the event is happening, you must take pictures of the Sun and as Mercury is passing across the sun, you will also be taking pictures of the planet in front of the star.


3. What should I do before I take the picture?

You will need a cellphone which has gps to give your precise location on Earth so we can do the calculus: latitude, longitude and exact height from where you will be taking the picture. Also with the same camera that you will be using for this event you will need to take a photograph of the screen of your computer visualizing the web page horalegal.inm.gov.co/ this is because we need to synchronize all the pictures sent for the same time.


4. How many pictures do I need to take? How often?

You will need at least 3 pictures of the event, although they could be more than 3 in order to assure you have a good register of the transit. It will be very important to leave time intervals of minimum 10 minutes between each picture so we can register some movement of the planet.


5. What precautions must I take when taking the picture?

It is very important NOT TO LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROTECTION, since when you look at the Sun directly it will cause serious and permanent damage to the retina. The risk is higher if the Sun is magnified by using an object like a telescope of binocular without a solar filter. It is essential to have and use the solar filter in this activity.


6. How do I know I am taking the picture correctly?

It is possible being Mercury so small that you will not see it clearly in the picture, it will be necessary to try to magnify the Sun as much as possible but yet photographing the border of the Sun, ergo, that the solar disk is completely visible.


7. How do I know I am really photographing mercury?

Because of the brightness of the Sun and Mercury being so small you may be confused at the beginning. You should adjust the parameters of lightning in the photograph (ISO) so you will visualize it better, the filter should also help in this case. Is possible that that day the Sun shows some sun spot, this shouldn’t be a problem, the most important is not to stop taking the pictures since when you see the pictures in a computer you will have a better perspective of it.


8. What is the best place to photograph this event?

The ideal is that you have a clear view of the sun, without buildings, houses, mountains and other obstacles that can interfere in the final result of the photography. We recommend you to look for high ground in order to take the photography.


9. When is the event?

The event will take place on May 9th, 2016, according to the place you will be the time could change. Next you will find a time table so you can know precisely the exact time you can take the picture from your location.


10. Where is it going to be visible from?

It will be visible from almost all around the world; although depending on the geographical location of the observer will be visible at dawn, at dusk or during the daytime. We are sharing a picture of the globe in which you will be able to look for your country and realize if you can participate in the campaign.


11. What will be visible in those moments?

You will see a very small dot (150 times smaller than the Sun) travelling in front of the solar disk, this event is known as a “planetary transit”. This small dot is the planet Mercury passing by between the Sun and us.


12. What should I do with my pictures once I have them?

When you have the pictures you will have several choices to send them to the Aristarchus campaign team: if they are considerably heavy you may upload them to Dropbox, Google Drive, We Transfer or similar, you also may send them by E-mail. It is not necessary for you to share them using social networks.


13. What will they do with my pictures?

A group of expert professional astronomers will study the data to do real science: analyzing pictures of that you shared with us, they will be able to do calculus about the orbital eccentricity of Mercury, its velocity around the Sun and even to measure the mass of the Sun.


14. What will I get in return from my contribution?

You will be mentioned and recognized publicly because of your contribution to science, besides of receiving a certificate in which the involved institutions will stand out your participation in this campaign. Besides if you actively participate you may be chosen to appear in a real scientific paper with worldwide recognized astronomers.
Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by Lorena Aristizabal.
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