Heads UP! See Stars in the Daytime

With the help of the SOHO solar observatory, we can see stars (and planets) normally overwhelmed by the blinding sun.
Update 8/17/2011:
Today the C3 camera has both Venus (blazing bright above the sun)and Mercury ( faint dot below the sun). If you watch the movie, look for a tiny dot moving out from under the support for the bar that blocks out the sun. It’s about halfway down from the center. You can tell it’s Mercury because it moves differently (faster) than the other tiny dots.

SOHO C3 camera venus and mercury

The SOHO satellite, way out in space, blocks out the sun, so it can monitor solar flares. But we can also see star patterns behind the sun. I like to watch as planets and star clusters pass behind the sun, as in this example, below.

The stars behind the blocked out sun in the center. Look for the Pleiades star cluster like a little dipper to the upper left.

Watch as the Pleiades cluster moves above the sun by the 20th. The ‘V’-shaped Hyades cluster moves by on the 30th. The planet Mercury passes though in the second week of June and Venus and Mercury will waltz by in the month of August.
Watch for it at
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime-images.html
Go to the web site and click on the blue photo with the tiny sun (the large blue sun is different) and check out the other great photos SOHO gets of our star!

all the best, bob

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