Orion WorldView 10x50 binoculars Solar Observation Rig
Orion WorldView 10x50 binoculars were rigged with foam sheet pieces on the objective (for aiming hole), and the eyepiece (for the target where sun's image from the aiming hole is to be projected). The projection screen was cut-out from a 3-hole file folder that had smooth white surface on the inside. The objective lens was covered with two circular discs cut out from a foam sheet, with holes in the middle. The projection screen was supported with a channel made out of an open manila folder, with the sides folded up to give it some rigidity. Some blue painter's tape was used for later easy dis-assembly with no tape residue. Scotch tape was used to fix up the projection screen.
The smaller hole can be uncovered as shown, to increase the light going into the lens, thus brightening the image. I was not sure how big a hole (aperture) I need, so I made it configurable.
Here is the first-light image of the sun captured with my cellphone camera. Later pictures with my digital Rebel XT show sun-spots too (coming soon)!
The Transit Day
On June 5, 2012 at about 3PM local California time, I setup my fancy wancy solar projection system inside my minivan, with the sliding side-door open. Placing it inside the minivan minimized the wind-induced shaking of the precious delicate equipment (the manila folder channel supporting the projection screen). Unfortunately, unlike my trial run at home a couple of days ago, I had trouble finding the proper camera position to take snaps of the image on the projection screen. I ended up craned with my neck bent against the top of the door frame, pressing hard against it, to get the image into the minimum focus range of my Tamron 55-200mm lens.
I managed to get several pictures of the ingress, and post-ingress states. But I could not capture the Venus ring of fire.
After the ingress had ended, I moved the setup to outside the main entrance to my office building. All the office folks came out and we had a small outreach event. My boss had his family come over from home to witness the transit, and upon his invitation, a neighbor in the office building also came to see the transit.
All the folks were amazed to hear that the little dot (planet Venus) is about the same size as our Earth. And since the Sun is twice as far as the planet, if the Sun were right next to Venus, it would be several times bigger (I held my hands about two feet apart to show them approximately how big it would be). Then I asked to consider how small the earth is in comparison. They all said that it puts things into perspective, and shows how insignificant we really are.