I was very lucky during the transit because an early morning haar burned off just before the transit and we had mostly clear blue skies above Inverness, Scotland for the rest of the day. This let me capture most of the transit until the Sun sunk below my roofline. Here is the animation I produced from the results (some jerkiness is caused by occasional clouds).
Equipment and Software Used
- Coronado PST solar scope
- HEQ5 Pro mount
- PowerMate 2.5x barlow
- TIS DMK21 camera
- EQMOD for mount control
- DSSR for autoguiding and video capture
- AviStack for video stacking
- DVS for animation
- Pipo X7 PC for mount control, video stacking and animation
I had intended to use my PST at prime focus to capture the transit but I changed my mind just after the start and zoomed in with my barlow. Mercury made a perfect autoguide target for DSSR and I only had to guide manually when a telephone cable went in front of the Sun. DSSR automatically recorded 669 consecutive videos, each 30 seconds long which were batch stacked and processed in AviStack.
I used DVS to stabilise and animate the AviStack images and add the clock, text and scale Earth. The scale Earth threw me for a while because Mercury is only 38% the size of the Earth and it looked far too big when I added my standard scale Earth. It took me a while to realise that Mercury and the Sun are at different distances from Inverness so I added 2 scale Earths.
I love pushing the limits of low cost astro equipment so I am delighted that my £70 Pipo X7 PC was able to act as my observatory workhorse.