Hinode’s iconic transit image

Well, unless you spent all of yesterday with your head in the same clouds that blocked my view (and it is half-term for many, so I don’t criticise a little R&R time), then you’ll almost certainly have seen the stunning image that my old colleague Joten Okamoto put together from the some of the Venus transit we got back from Hinode.

For those of you that hadn’t seen it, here you go!

Image

(Credit: Joten Takenori Okamoto (Hinode SOT Team), NAOJ/JAXA)

Full disclosure: I’m the Project Scientist of another of Hinode’s three telescopes, the EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS). So I’m biased in liking this a lot.

Now, I can describe the bits of the image here in professional terms: you can see a wispy prominence  poking out from the Sun’s edge, behind the upper-left part of Venus’ disc; there are slightly fuzzy spicules all along the edge of the Sun; you can see the refraction of the Sun’s light along the edge of Venus where it’s not on the Sun; and you can even see some stray light from optical imperfections on Venus’ disc showing up as faint bright light where the planet should show up as just black…

But I defy anyone not to find it beautiful.

I also have a hunch that – as well as being the most iconic image of the Venus transit – this may end up being one of the most iconic images of the whole Hinode mission!

Well done, universe and humans alike. Another win.

Hinode’s iconic transit image

Reminds me of how the UCL rocket programme got started: when the government said “‘Ere, we’ve got all these rockets we’ve been knocking out. Want some?”

(I think that’s a verbatim quote)

The e-Astronomer

Not often I write two posts in one day, but here is an unexpected piece of news. It seems that the US National Reconnaisance Office have given two free telescopes to NASA. Its all explained at this NY Times article. They are as big as HST but have a wider field of view. They were designed for looking down of course.  Apparently there has been a secret study team and their conclusion is that one of these beasts would be perfect WFIRST, which had seemed to be kicked into the long grass.

They don’t exactly have the rest of the money yet or an actual approval … but the WFIRST fans are talking about shooting for 2020 … a year behind Euclid.

Ooooo what fun. Spot of healthy competition.

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Here’s the thing…

… I’m not going to write anything as good as this. Think of that as an upper limit to how good this blog could ever be, on an early morning where I’ve had loads of sleep and have made fresh coffee from beans hand-delivered by a good friend, after a week on the Med.

No well-intentioned promises are going to blight this blog. No, sir (or madam) (or gurrrll)!

But I’ll do my best to only post things I think are interesting, at least to me.

Hello : )

Here’s the thing…