Venus Transit - Diary

Times are in local time, year is 2004. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the image.

24 January

Finally a decision has been taken, Luxor (Egypt) will be the observation point for the 2004 Venus Transit. A hotel and flight are booked from the summer brochure of our favorite tour operator.

21 May

It becomes clear I have no telescope for the Venus Transit. On the VVS mailing list Christophe Behaegel puts his Celestron NexStar 4GT on sale. Possibly not the ideal instrument for all kinds of observations, but certainly a compact telescope for an observer on the move.

Th 3 June

View from the room looking over the garden and the Nile04:30 rendez-vous on the airport. To my surprise there are no problems checking the telescope and laptop in as hand luggage, this must be Belgium. Departure for Luxor at 06:00 and arrival at 12:00 (crossing one time zone to GMT+3).

13:30 Just arrived at the hotel. From the "Internet Corner" a connection to the internet is possible. Albeit a slow connection at 30.6 Kbps it is easily up and running. In the room there is no direct outside line, you need to call an operator who will connect you through. Not a change of connecting a modem directly from the room.

Fr 4 June

Testing the setup on the terrasse in the morningBefore breakfast the instrument, webcam and computer link are tested from the room's balcony. The rooms is facing North with the Sun just looks straight with the Sun just rising above East wing of the hotel. This is definitely NOT the right spot for observing the transit. After to the hotel manager a better spot in the garden of the hotel is arranged. Electricity, telephone line and a parasol will be provided for.

Also did an excursion to the Luxor Temple.

Su 6 June A tourist's day on the West Bank of Luxor. To beat the hot summer sun we had an early breakfast at 06:00 and early departure. After some negotiation with a Taxi driver we arrange transport to and from the Valley of the Kings. An ailing Peugot 504 with only the horn in good working order takes us in 45 minutes to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings. On the way we stopped for a photo opportunity at the Colossi of Memnon. Under a burning morning Sun the tombs KV14, KV16 and KV6 were visited (Check the list open tombs before entering the valley). If you are not at home in the KV style of numbering of tomes they are also known as the Tombs of Tausat, Ramses I and Ramses IX. Reunited with our Taxi and Taxi driver we drove to Deir Al-Bahri for a visit to the Temple of Hatshepsut. The pharaoh queen ruled from 1350 to 1334 BC over Egypt. The temple is a complete contradiction to the burial ideas of her predecessors and successors that choose to be buried in a unsuspicious tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Dating 3350 years ago this monument is still a strong statement by a long dead queen !!

Upper PorticoTemple of Hatshepsut

Su 6 June Excursion to the Luxor mummification Museum. This small but modern style museum is situated on the Corniche in front of the Luxor Temple. Today was clearly a warmer day then the previous days. Visibility has been reduced.
Mo 7 June Test day. Today the complete equipment will be tried on the observation site. Dress rehearsal for tomorrow.
Tu 8 June

Transit Day !!

03:00 UT The Sun just rose above the horizon. All equipment has been moved to the swimming pool. Let's GO.

04:00 UT Used the Moon as test subject for the webcast.

05:19 UT First Contact. Had to search for the correct piece of the solar image. The AVI Generator is already running for 5 minutes.

07:30 UT The Venus disk is now so deep inside the Sun that I have problems keeping the solar edge and Venus in the same image. Perhaps I should pause the webcast until the end of the transit. This would be a fine moment to upload the images of the ingress on static part of the website. The temperature  is currently 34°C, the seeing is detoriating.

08:00 UT The edge of the solar disk is still in view. The webcast continues.

10:00 UT It is simply to warm and having a telescope pointing towards the Zenith is not best of situations. Applies ice cooling for the telescope and webcam. I must pauze the webcast here and let the equiment cool down for 45 minutes. Will continue shortly before third contact.

11:00 UT Resumed the webcast until the finish. Temperature is now 42°C in the shade, hardly any wind.

11:24 UT The transit is over. Closing down the AVI generator en moving the equipment into the shade.

12:00 UT Over a snack and a bottle of Cru des Ptolémées documenting the events of today on the website.

De opstelling voor vandaag    Vanuit de andere hoek    Ook voor afkoeling is er gezorgd

Onze buren van Hotel Le Meridien storten hun bijdrage tot de seeing    During transit....

We 9 June

There must have been a wind last night over Luxor. The seeing is much better. Before the temperature make the air "dancing" I would like to go hunting for Temple of Hatchepshut from the room's balcony. It works out easily and nicely. Proof that the room is looking out on the Nile and the west bank. I made an image with the same equipment as used for the Venus transit. The gradual heating of the air made the image already "dancing". 

Visited the museum of Luxor. This recently opened museum gives a "modern" look of the finds at Thebes. A whole new way of presenting archeological treasures than at the Egyptian museum at Cairo.

To end the visit to Luxor attended the Light en Sound show at Karnak Temple. Some imagery should be added to the show. Walking the large hypostyle rooms under the stars is magnificent.

Tempel Hatshepsut vanuit het hotel aan de andere oever van de Nijl    The wind blows a ballon nearly on the roof of the hotel

We 9 June Possibly a visit to the Karnak temple complex.
Th 10 June Return flight home.

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