Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Transit of Venus - FAS Picture Gallery 3

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Coronado sessions—

March 11-20, 2005 and April 2-3, 2005

Composite of two pictures taken through the Coronado

Shows sunspots, prominences, and filaments

Pictures by Tony Sizer on March 17, 2005 © NMM

Eddie providing an explanation

— excellent weather:  Friday March 18th

Ian and Stan kick-off Science Week

— weather iffy:  Saturday March 12th

Stan supervises a really big queue

— outstanding weather:  Sunday April 3rd

National Science Week (March 11-20) saw a magnificent turnout by the ‘Coronado Corps’ of volunteers from the Society.   The weather for mid-March was kind to us and we were able to offer viewing sessions  on 6 of the 10 days of Science ’week’.   Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th brought magnificent shirt-sleeve weather when over 850 out of a total of almost 1100 visitors came to see if they could spot sunspots at Greenwich.

The Sun also behaved itself for Science Week, putting on a pretty-good show with a couple of good spots and some excellent prominences.  At the start of the week Eddie and Mike D. watched a complete loop develop and break-up over just two hours.  Certainly no problem to explain to visitors what they were looking at.  

Pat Wainwright and Dave Waugh worked the Thursday.  Pat writes: “Lots of nationalities: American (or maybe Canadian), Australian, Japanese, French, German, Bulgarian, Spanish,... and that's just the ones I recognised.  Some who took one rapid glance and marched straight on towards the shop, some (mostly children) who had to be dragged away from the eyepiece to give others a look in. Two Bulgarian ladies initially declined the invitation but sat on the bench for about twenty minutes watching what was happening. Having seen other people's reactions and that nobody was being blinded they eventually plucked up courage for a peek. There was the one who wouldn't believe it was live and seemed to think we'd just stuck a picture on the end of the scope... and the chap who asked: ‘If we sent a shuttle to land on the Sun, what would the surface be like?’  Fairly routine really”

Two weeks on, our regular monthly session on April 2nd and 3rd was also blessed with excellent weather.  Mike I. & Julie ran the Saturday session and saw over 350 visitors.  Stan and Mike D. worked the Sunday and saw almost 400.   On Sunday we nearly cancelled at 1100 when there was still 9/10ths cloud, but by 1230 the sky had cleared completely and we ran a brisk session until 1600 hrs. and just got packed-up before being unceremoniously ejected by a fire-alarm evacuation!

The Sun wasn’t quite so cooperative for the April sessions.  No spots were really visible through the Coronado and visitors had to be content with a few clear but fairly average prominences — a situation we must get used to as the Sun approaches minimum in the sunspot cycle in 2006.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time — Julie Palmer, Pat Wainwright, Dave Waugh, Dave Woodford, Peter Kitcherside, Eddie Yeadon, Stan Payne, Ian McDowell, and Mike Iveson, plus Jane Bendall, Lesley Bound and Martin Male who were all set but got clouded-out.

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