Transit of Mercury

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

I ended my previous blog post with “Looks like wind and/or rain (mostly “and”) till Friday now. We'll see.” We saw; it was. Though it dried up as the week went on it was windy until Friday, but things have been a bit better for the last few days - particularly today (Monday) for the transit of Mercury.

Thursday was dry but windy so I just cut and bevelled the ends of the tie beams for the west gable of the house and the two porch/greenhouse frames. While I was there the timber yard delivered the six replacement posts for the ones I'd messed up in various ways - they'll be the ones on the ends of those tie beams.

On Friday I got two more purlins up: the ones on the south side of the living room and study but they didn't fit together very well - I only got one of the two bolts into the one over the study and there was a 10 mm gap between them which didn't look good.

On Saturday I went to the site with the intention of just working out what had gone wrong with those purlins. My starting hypothesis was that I'd put one of them up the wrong way round; the ends were labelled once but that'd faded. Actually, it was sufficiently windy that I didn't feel confident getting the scaffold tower out so I just slotted the bases of two of the new posts.

Sunday was a lovely day but I wasn't feeling well after a poor night's sleep so, rather than try to tackle what might turn out to be a very annoying problem, I stayed at home and read.

Feeling better today and with a perfectly sunny day, though a bit hazy as a result of the quite noticeable sea breeze, it was time to sort those purlins out.

Actually, with some careful measurement I concluded the purlins were in the right way round. Pulling the posts together using rope, chain and clamps sorted the problem.

I then got the purlin for the south side of the main bedroom up by which time it was 17:00 and the breeze was picking up so definitely not sensible to try to do another.

I had my telescope with solar filter (found since last year's eclipse) set up in what'll be the south-east quarter of the greenhouse:

allowing me to watch most of the transit of Mercury between steps in the house work.

I tried a few photos with my phone camera but they didn't work even as poorly as the sunspot photos I took the day before the clouded-out 2012 transit of Venus. Never mind, I expect somebody else will have taken a picture or two.

It would have been nice to join in with the Caithness Astronomy Group observation of this at Castlehill but it's difficult to imagine weather which would be good for transit viewing but not for house building.

So, that's my second transit of Mercury observation, the first being in 2003 and my third transit after the 2004 transit of Venus.