June 8th -- Rare Solar Transit of Venus!

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
On the 8th of June, just a little over a week from today, a rare event will occur: the Planet Venus crossing in front of the face of the Sun.



1882 was the last time that this occurred. There's another transit of Venus in 2012, making this a "twice in a lifetime" event for many of us, but after 2012, there won't be another Venus transit until 2117. This page has more information on how to go about viewing the Venus transit, including safety precautions.



I've added a new feature to my Sky View Café web site -- a sun-centered viewing mode -- that can help you check your local viewing circumstances for this transit. Just select the "Sky" tab of the Sky View Café applet, and then select "Sun - 4° Span" from the top pop-up menu in the Options panel (lower right portion of the applet display). Make sure your local latitude, longitude, and time zone info are set correctly, then just play around adjusting the applet's clock (upper left hand corner) with the date set to 2004-06-08.



If you try to view this event out in the real world, PLEASE VIEW IT SAFELY. Take the SAME PRECAUTIONS that you would use to view a A SOLAR ECLIPSE.



Local weather permitting, some people will be able to see the whole transit from beginning to end, others like myself will be able to see the transit already in progress when the Sun rises locally, other will be able to see the start of the transit, but the Sun will set before the transit finishes. In a few areas like the west coast of the US, there will be, unfortunately, no chance to view this transit



This map shows you from where you'll be able to see what:









Here's an example of what Sky View Café can show you. This is what I'll see from my area in New Hampshire, at 5:10 EDT, a few minutes after sunrise:



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    sometimes it just sucks to be in the UK!
  • Reply 2 of 21
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,122member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MarcUK

    sometimes it just sucks to be in the UK!



    Why, you will be able to see the full transit ? except if the weather is cloudy ...
  • Reply 3 of 21
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    Why, you will be able to see the full transit ? except if the weather is cloudy ...



    I looked again!. I thought it was just the grey bits! Doh!



    Ah its all Bushes fault!
  • Reply 4 of 21
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    sometimes it just sucks to be in California!
  • Reply 5 of 21
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Is it bad to aim a digital camera at the sun for a while to watch it in the viewfinder or would that work? Also how can you look directly at it, I mean what kind of lens would be safe to use? Welder's glasses?
  • Reply 6 of 21
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Cool stuff Shetline, thanks for sharing the info / link to your site (which is very cool in its own right... didn't know you were a code monkey).



  • Reply 7 of 21
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aquatic

    Is it bad to aim a digital camera at the sun for a while to watch it in the viewfinder or would that work? Also how can you look directly at it, I mean what kind of lens would be safe to use? Welder's glasses?



    You shouldn't aim your camera directly at the Sun unless you've got a heavy-duty filter for it. The innards of your camera can get fried just like your retinas can get fried.



    You can use the same #14 welder's glass (not just any glass -- number #14 or darker only!) to protect your camera that you use to protect your eyes. For more money there are photographic filters for this job that are much more color neutral than the typically greenish welder's glass.



    The second link I placed in the first post goes into more detail if you're interested.



    When I took a trip to Zambia in 2001 to view a total solar eclipse, I used a piece of #14 welder's glass for my camera, taped to a cardboard tube that loosely slipped over the barrel of my camera lens. While there is no safe moment to look directly at the Venus transit, a total solar eclipse is safe for both eyes and cameras during (and only during) totality. Having a loose-fitting filter allowed me to quickly switch to taking unfiltered images the moment totality began.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    stoostoo Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    Why, you will be able to see the full transit ? except if the weather is cloudy ...



    Exactly
  • Reply 9 of 21
    I'm deficient on the physics of this, but I read a book where it talked about exactly how significant this event was. Somehow it allows you to calculate the weight of the earth and the distance betweent he planets. I'd love to see a link on how to do this.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Don't forget the transit of Venus tomorrow! People on the east coast of the US like me will have to get up early to see the event, so remember to set your alarm clocks for some time before local sunrise. (For me, that means getting up early enough to be at my chosen viewing location at 5:10 AM EDT.



    Think about how hard it can be to get a clear view of the horizon sometimes, with hills and trees and buildings often in the way, when you think about how much time it might take to get to where you want to be to view the transit.



    I've tried out a small pair of binoculars with the INCOMING lenses (NOT the eyepieces!) covered with a piece of #14 welders glass, and this works great for getting a safe magnified view of the Sun.



    I've updated the home page of my web site, at www.skyviewcafe.com, with info about the Venus transit. (This is pretty much just a summary of the same stuff I put in my first post on this thread.)
  • Reply 11 of 21
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    should be the hottest clearest day of the year in the UK, I just dont know what time to look. And my Welding glass only goes to 13, and is a LCD screen, is this OK?
  • Reply 12 of 21
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MarcUK

    should be the hottest clearest day of the year in the UK, I just dont know what time to look. And my Welding glass only goes to 13, and is a LCD screen, is this OK?



    If you're talking about risking a camera and not your eyes, perhaps #13 good enough. As for your eyes, I wouldn't want to be responsible recommending something that might not be safe.



    Besides, I'm not sure what you mean by the welding glass being an LCD screen.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by shetline

    If you're talking about risking a camera and not your eyes, perhaps #13 good enough. As for your eyes, I wouldn't want to be responsible recommending something that might not be safe.



    Besides, I'm not sure what you mean by the welding glass being an LCD screen.




    I have one of those fancy welding hats that lets you adjust the darkness of the screen, goes from 9-13, it does this by electronically darkening a huge LCD screen, instead of the traditional dark glass.



    I usually use 9 or 10 for welding, I set it to 13 and looked at a 500W spotlight at about 1metre, and I could hardly see a thing.



    look here http://www.weldingsupply.com/101_speedvar_3.html
  • Reply 14 of 21
    mattjohndrowmattjohndrow Posts: 1,618member
    can someone, i dunno, take pictures, make a movie of it for me, i won't be up, thanks
  • Reply 15 of 21
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Some pictures of the Venus transit, taken this morning at the top of Pack Monadnock Mountain in Temple, NH.



    5:11 AM EDT





    5:24 AM EDT





    5:31 AM EDT

  • Reply 16 of 21
    There's a little black spot on the sun today.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    I don't have any pictures, but my father and I went at 5:00 am to a nearby hill with a telescope and adaptor to project the image onto a white screen, and filters and so forth. It was amazing. For the first 5 min of the sunrise over Boston there was enough haze and clouds that we could look at the sun and see Venus with the naked eye, no filters needed to protect our eyes, after that it got too bright. It was also interesting because various people would come by with various bits of equipment, pinholes, filters, binoculars + screen, telescopes with mylar filters, mylar filters without telescopes etc. We stayed out until it was over (?2 hrs) but clouds had moved in so we missed seeing the end of the transit.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Not everything that only happens once every 100 years is interesting. The sun gets a freckle...Wow.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    HAve you all seen Google today!



    Fellows!
  • Reply 20 of 21
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Eugene

    Not everything that only happens once every 100 years is interesting. The sun gets a freckle...Wow.



    Whatsamatta, no temporal lobe?
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