Sketching the transit of Venus 8th June 2004

My account of Sketching the transit of Venus on 8th June 2004 at the 3rd and 4th contact.

To begin with I thanks to Dr Mansour Vaisali for giving me this wonderful opportunity to observe the transit of Venus On June 8, 2004 that I could not have thought of. He had invited me to attend couple of meetings in Tehran.  Had an opportunity to meet old friends and I also made few new ones.

During the 3rd contact I made a few sketches.  These then I misplaced after coming back to India and discovered these only recently when I was shifting to Mumbai to take up the position of Director of Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Centre, Mumbai, on Dec 22, 2011.

Initially it was not my intention to make these sketches public but for two reasons a) I did observe some interesting phenomenon - the advancing limb of Venus after it left the solar limb was seen - seen by me quite clearly, and I hoped to check this again during the transit of 2012 but and b) in my present position I might not get this chance and also the clouds might just play the trick cover the sun. It would therefore be nice if others to may try sketch the event.   

It is not such a nice thing to say but had been at my parent institute, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune India, I would have been running around and giving press talks and helping other astronomers in giving their 'bites'.  This was superbly carried out by my colleague Vinaya Kulkarni.

For me I had a telescope completely at my disposal and not a single sole to bother me. I had most peaceful time all by myself to observe the event.  All that press talk and interviews were handled completely by by Dr Vaisali.

What follows is a page from my journal, sketches which I made and my comments.  I made some quick sketches on a small note book with pen and made notes. Then after the event made the refined sketches.I have no specialize training in sketching  but have been trying my hand.  I had used 2H pencil to make the sketches.

Year (200) 4 Month 6 Date 8

"Its a transit day. Manosur called me at 7:30 a.m. or so and asked me to be at the Sharif University (the place where he had put me in)  gate by about 9:15 a..m. He arrived at 9:20. We first went to Nojum office and collected a telescope and some Nojum magazines and went to a Pardisan Park (Park-e'-Jangali-ye-Pardisan) where they have a bio-diversity museum.  We quickly set up the telescope and magazine/Nojum stall and were ready for the transit to begin 09:48 (Iran time).  After the second contact life was relaxed - not too many people came - the total may have been close to about 300 not more. Met some very nice people who visited us.  There was a TV crew - spoke to the camera.

Since the crowd was less and just about 20 odd people at the 3rd contact I decided to observe the trasit and sketch the progress between 3rd and 4th contact. 

After the contact we went back to Nojum Office - A meeting was arranged with some official. But I had enough time to make my first sketches.

In some sense it was a busy day for me but one of the relaxed one too - no dinner tonight. We picked up some food and Mansour dropped me at the University by about 9:30 p.m. and then I took about an hour completing my sketches."

Transit of Venus
Predictions for Tehran, Iran
Contact time (Iran) Alt
First 09:48 46
Second 10:07 50
Mid 12:15 77
Third 15:32 55
Forth 15:51 51

While making the sketches I had concentrated only that area where Venus was touching the solar limb. Though I 'looked around' I did not bother to sketch any other features such as sunspots nor do I remember if I saw any.

The time recorded was Tehran time but again was not very important  It took me about 10 to 12 seconds to make a quick rough drawing and write time.
 Drawings and notes
 The telescope : Refactor 80 mm / f 900, 

Eye piece 34 mm

Sketch  0        
           15:28:30 Can't say seeing black drop

Sketch 1
15:29 Solar limb appears to be pushed up

Sketch 2
15:31:03 Noted it again

 Sketch 3
15:31:30 may be black drop

Sketch 4
Now this is interesting -
on the limb the Venus is dark the,
sky is dark too but distinct white
curve seen about the bright solar limb.

Sketch 5
It looked very much like the sun
setting over the sea. The points
 where the Venus' disk was
touching the solar limb
appeared to be curve outwards.

Sketch 6
15:35:00 - It is like sunset
and the shimmering upper
portion (as in Sketch 4) is gone now

Sketch 7
I now see the sharp touch but it merged

Sketch 8
15:38:30 A little curved here unlike sketch 7

Strong wind is shaking the telescope
Changed the eye piece to 12.5 mm
15:43:00 Venus is half gone

Sketch 9
Saw the advancing limb of
Venus outside the solar limb -
first I thought that it was a
trick played by my eyes
but then there were two
very clear instances
of this observations
so I sketched this.

Sketch 10
15:44:30 -
 It is not a half circle any
more but kind of two white
curves from either sides

Sketch 11
15:45:15 and 15:45:47 
One more clear upper (half)
 ring and one shimmering
for just for half a second or so

Sketch 12
one more instance of
the upper shimmering

Sketch 13
A very clear notch was seen -
the instances 12 and 13
were almost like mirror images
but in negative.

Its gone now

Two pages from my note book on which I made my quick sketches
Pages form my small note book


Aparna Joshi said...

Very nice description. I hope similar for the upcoming Venus Transit this June. Aparna Joshi.

Vishwa said...

Great. This technique is really effective to 'observe' the Astronomical event carefully. Even we are using camera or high tech instrument, sketching will be more effective for understanding moments during the event.

Harshal Raje said...

Hi Arvind

Very nice and beautiful sletches and an equally interesting description too. These sketches will surely help me plan my observation of the transit this year.

I hope I am able to capture something usefull.


Sagar Gokhale said...

good one. Beautiful sketches.

Abhra Pratip Ray said...

Hi Arvind, memories recalled back. This was the transit during which I was working with IUCAA telescope and had my interviews for the first time live on AAJ Tak, Zee News and other media. I can never forget that particular day. It haS BEEN A HISTORY FOR ME.

Your sketches brought those memories back to me, Thanks