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Bursa Analemma & Mercury Transit (photo composite)

By: Tunc Tezel

 

Region: Middle East

Site: Bursa - Turkey

Date: May-August 2016

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An analemma is that figure-8 curve that you get when you mark the position of the Sun at the same time each day throughout a year. In this case, a composite of 13 individual images taken during 3.5 months. The scene looks west toward the setting sun from the city of Bursa, Turkey. The northern summer Solstice on June 20 corresponds to the top of the figure, when the Sun stood at its northernmost declination. But there is something more than the seasonal change here. Click the constellation icon above the image to see little dot on the sun that represent the transit of Mercury.

From the photographer: "Since shooting the sunrise analemma from Baku in 2012 which included Venus transiting the Sun, I had wondered if something similar could be done with Mercury in transit. And the first opportunity was the transit on 2016 May 9 at sunset. The rough idea was to shoot the sunset with transit with a telephoto lens at 20:00 summer local time and then see if it would be worth continuing the anelamma.

The weather here in early May is not too cooperative. Thankfully the sky was okay for most of the day of transit. About 2 hours before sunset, some high clouds and haze started to form but luckily the Sun reappeared just before sunset. I used 400mm telephoto lens and the last clear shot of the disk with Mercury easily visible was at 19:55.

The rest of the photography was much easier and straightforward, shoot the Sun every 7 to 10 days. As the Sun got higher toward the summer solstice I started using a hand-held solar filter to cover the top of the image, leaving the foreground in view. For these, I used the 100-400 mm lens at 300 or 250 mm. The last image of the Sun was on August 17th. I had a nice and clear sky and was able to shoot not only the Sun disappearing behind Bursaspor stadium, but also cover the needed amount of the horizon for the telephoto panorama.

In the full size panorama, the Solar disk is 349 pixels wide while little Mercury is just 2~3 pixels. So, it does show up nicely in full resolution. And a few large sunspots were also caught on some days as well. But when I scale it down for web release, Mercury and sunspots are lost." Tunc Tezel

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