Monthly Archives: June 2012

Venus Transit 2012

There’s a little black spot on the sun today…

On June 5th, Venus passed directly between the Sun and the Earth. This happens in pairs eight years apart, twice every 120 years or so. The last transit, in 2004, wasn’t visible from Colorado, so I missed it. I did see a transit of Mercury some years ago. That’s not all that rare.

I took this rather cool event as an opportunity take some pictures through my 12.5″ scope. Yes, I have an observatory in my back yard. It doesn’t see too much use these days. I got into astronomy while working at Symantec, and, well, being rather bored. I’m not nearly so bored at Apple (usually!), so astronomy has taken a back seat.

Anyhow, I practiced taking photos a few days ahead of time so that I’d know what I was doing. The best results came from just holding my camera up to the eyepiece. (I put it into manual mode to get the focus right and adjust the shutter speed based on how cloudy the views were.)

Here’s a shot as Venus moves onto the face of the Sun. There were plenty of clouds at that point, but still enough light coming through to get nice shots.

This next one shows Venus fully on the face of the Sun. The clouds were a bit thicker, but some sunspots are easily visible too.

I took this shot directly with my camera, zoomed in at 20x, through a Thousand Oaks filter. The filter lets though more yellow light than the one on my large scope. Kinda pleasing. My large scope has a homemade filter that uses Baader Solar Film.

This is one of the best shots I managed. You can see more sunspots, and the large ones have a clear penumbrae around them. The view through the eyepiece was spectacular at times. Lots of small sunspots were visible, as well as a good bit of granulation across the face.

This last picture as things were getting more cloudy towards the western horizon.

I’d been hoping to get some shots as the Sun set behind the Rockies. Unfortunately, there’s a tree very close to the observatory that obscured the view.

Also on that night, Teresa was entertaining about 40 kids and parents from the robotics team she mentors. A large percentage of them came out to take a peak through the scope. It was very busy at times, and certainly more folks looked through the beast than any other time since I’ve owned it.

Bolder Boulder 2012

Since I was still feeling fine after the marathon, I figured I’d do the Bolder Boulder again this year and see how much I’ve improved. It was a fun run, but very different than last year.

Last year I felt like a ran along with most of the crowd, but with plenty of people passing me. I passed very few people along the way. This year it was the opposite. I found myself passing people constantly. It was a rather nice feeling. 🙂

I’m not saying I’m fast. Far from it. But I beat my time from last year by almost 11 minutes (almost 2 minutes/mile!). And I finished in the top 1/4, instead of almost exactly half way back. I stopped at pretty much every water station and had a gulp or two of Gatorade, and dumped water on my head. It wasn’t incredibly hot, but still hotter than last year.

Here’s my GPS data on Strava. I think links to the official results become stale, so here they are in line:

bib number: GK198
overall place: 12375
location: Longmont, CO
division: M47
division place: 135 out of 395 click
gender place: 8227 out of 21460 click
mile 1: 8:58.82
mile 2: 9:25.73
mile 3: 9:48.75
mile 4: 9:37.00
mile 5: 9:07.31
mile 6: 9:45.74
net time: 58:36.38
pace: 09:25

The view of the start of one of the many, many waves.

There are lots of crazy costumes.

The woman who started in front of me. The Vibram Five Finger shoes aren’t so weird, but the jeans are!

We finish up in Folsom Field. What a beautiful day!

And because I’m a nerd, here are my results from last year in line (it’s still possible to get to the official results, but it seems difficult to get a direct link that will stand the test of time, though I did just try):

bib number: G095
overall place: 24559/49211
location: Longmont, CO
division: M46
division place: 262/411
gender place: 13833/22358
mile 1: 10:37
mile 2: 10:32
mile 3: 11:23
mile 4: 11:27
mile 5: 11:20
mile 6: 11:40
net time: 1:09:22
pace: 11:09

Colorado Marathon Pics

It occurs to me that I didn’t put any pictures up for the marathon. How silly. Poudre Canyon is really pretty, and made for a great downhill run.

This is the view near the start. The sun’s just coming up.

As I said, it’s a pretty canyon. Margaret’s just in front of me. This is just before she took off on me.

The woman in bright green was a slave to the alarm on her watch. She’d run for a few minutes and pass me. Then her alarm would go off and she’d start walking, and I’d pass her. There were quite a few people doing the run/walk thing.

Margaret’s the black spot just in the sun ahead of me. That’s about the last I saw of her for an hour or so.

Coming out of the canyon.

And I caught her! Actually, I think I passed her at a rest stop, and she caught me.

Margaret getting a high five from Evonne at the finish. 26.2 miles!

Stuffing ourselves with burgers and fries.

And one picture together in the lobby of the Armstrong Hotel before they headed home. (I truly didn’t realize how short they are until I saw this picture. 🙂 )