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 Forum index » Discussion » Schmooze
The 5/6JUN2012 Venus Transit of the Sun
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varice



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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:51 pm    Post subject: The 5/6JUN2012 Venus Transit of the Sun
Subject description: an extremely rare astronomical event
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Be ready for this *extremely* rare astronomical event. This will be the last chance to witness a Venus transit of the Sun this century! The next transit will not happen until December 2117.

A transit event is when an object moves in front of a more distant object. In this case, the planet Venus is moving across the face of the Sun as seen from Earth (as Venus moves directly between the Sun and Earth).

There are basically two ways to view this event; directly or indirectly.

If you want to directly view this transit event, you will have to use some type of safe solar filter, as you will be looking directly into the Sun to see the small spot of Venus there. For the unaided eye, you can use “eclipse glasses” or even a welder’s glass filter plate shade number 14 or other solar filters normally used for direct visual observation of the Sun. Of course, solar telescopes designed for direct observation of the Sun are a great way to view this event.

Indirect ways to view this event are to use binoculars or a telescope to project an image of the Sun (along with the shadow of Venus) onto a surface, or just view it online at websites covering this transit event.

Here in the USA, this Venus transit begins at my location about 5:05PM CDT on Tuesday, 5JUN. By 5:30PM, the planet Venus will be inside the disc of the Sun. Venus will continue to transit further across the face of the Sun until sunset. Check the links that I have posted below to determine the transit times in your location.

I’m planning on using both direct and indirect observation. I will use a shade number 14 welder’s filter plate for direct viewing and as a filter in front the objective lens of one side of my binoculars. And I will also use my binoculars to project the solar image. I’m looking forward to having this very unusual occurence of the Shadow of Venus to be falling directly upon my eyes Cool Exclamation

Here are some links to more information about this transit event and safe ways to view it:

http://www.astronomy.com/en/News-Observing/News/2012/05/Dont%20miss%20Junes%20rare%20transit%20of%20Venus.aspx

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/134332798.html

Wishing you clear skies!

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the reminder Exclamation

Will set my alarm for early tuesday morning.

edit : or was it wednesday .. it was .. good thing I checked Laughing

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varice



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That’s right Jan! Much of Asia and most of Europe will not see the transit until Wednesday morning, June 6th.

Well with just 24 hours to go, my local weather forecast for the time during the Venus transit is bad. 50% cloud coverage with a 40% chance rain from isolated thunderstorms. That will not do! Mad I may have to hit the road toward clearer skies. Looking at the US NWS water vapor and visible cloud satellite image loops, the best chance of very clear skies will be about 300 to 500 miles north of here, up towards Arkansas and Oklahoma. So tonight, I’m going to pack up for a road trip and plan to get up early tomorrow for another check of the weather forecast. If there is not much improvement, I’ll head out on down the road to find a better place to witness this rare event.

What a difference 24 hours makes. Too bad the transit didn’t happen here today! It is mostly sunny this evening with only some high thin clouds that the Sun can punch through easily. Oh well…. Rolling Eyes

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Not looking very promising here either. Tonight and tomorrow morning: rain; tomorrow afternoon rain showers Rolling Eyes
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

But I guess the clouds are all there just to honor Venus Laughing
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Banjo



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

We had some cloud cover, but the sun managed to poke through from several seconds to a minute or so every once in a while. I used a pair of binoculars to project the image on a sheet of paper, while my wife took pictures of the image. The shots came out ok, and we did not look at all of them yet. We did manage to get the sunspots in some, of the more clear shots. Over all we were thrilled to get that small glimpse of it. I got a better look at the transit than Haley's Comet back in the eighties.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I drove all the way to Damascus to see this event Exclamation Damascus, Arkansas that is Smile About 325 miles up the road from my home. But it sure was worth it. By 5:00PM CDT, the sky was almost perfectly clear except for a few small clouds low on the western horizon. I spent about an hour and a half off and on witnessing this event until I had my fill, all without any clouds getting in the way. On the drive back home I ran into some rain. Here at home it is overcast. You can’t even see the full Moon. There is thunder and lightning as I type this.

wow! What a sight. I think it is so cool to witness something like this rare event with your own eyes. The Goddess of Love love love love love silhouetted by the Sun sunny xxsun sunny cool

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
But I guess the clouds are all there just to honor Venus Laughing

Ha! Laughing Yep, on Venus every day is a cloudy day Exclamation

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Banjo wrote:
We had some cloud cover, but the sun managed to poke through from several seconds to a minute or so every once in a while. I used a pair of binoculars to project the image on a sheet of paper, while my wife took pictures of the image. The shots came out ok, and we did not look at all of them yet. We did manage to get the sunspots in some, of the more clear shots. Over all we were thrilled to get that small glimpse of it. I got a better look at the transit than Haley's Comet back in the eighties.

That’s great that you got to witness this event. I also could see a couple of small sunspots through my binoculars. The larger one was just left of center.

Yeah, Halley’s comet sure was a dud. I got to see the Hale-Bopp comet under the dark skies of Big Bend National Park in Texas though. Now that was a spectacular sight Exclamation

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did manage to get up this morning ... but it rained ... oh well, I can wait another odd 115 years Wink

Anyway, great you guys were able to see it!

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varice



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jan, that really is a shame that the weather messed up your view. Many others also suffered the same fait, as I would have if I hadn’t driven toward clear skies.

For all the unfortunate people, there is at least this: The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has many superb high resolution still images and movies of the Venus transit at different wavelengths (courtesy of the US taxpayers, you are very welcome!). Be sure to check out the site’s image gallery for other excellent stills and movies of special solar events. The SDO home page has the most recent high resolution solar images with zoom and pan.

[EDIT]: Well, the original link I posted was broken by NASA and/or the Goddard Space Flight Center. At the time of this edit, the SDO Venus Transit link is here:

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010900/a010996/index.html

The SDO home page is here:

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

A side note, here is an edited image that is a very accurate reproduction of what I saw through my 7x50 binoculars with a welder filter plate in front of one objective lens:


Venus Transit 5JUN2012.jpg
 Description:
An edited image that is a very accurate reproduction of what I saw through my 7x50 binoculars with a welder filter plate in front of the objective.
 Filesize:  3.67 KB
 Viewed:  3198 Time(s)

Venus Transit 5JUN2012.jpg



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Last edited by varice on Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

RF posted a nice picture of it he made here.

Saw some of that SDO material earlier today, amazing stuff!

BBC has some nice images too, was just looking at those.

And that picture by RF:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Last edited by Blue Hell on Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I saw RF's excellent photo, it's the best projected transit image photo that I have seen posted so far! Even better than what I could see directly through my binoculars...
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Varice -
Thanks - I'm glad you appreciated it Smile

I was just going to project it using binoculars, but had second thoughts - I mean - jeeze - once in a lifetime (Except for the one a few years back - which I totally missed. Smile

I used a very simple projector - an hour or so before the transit started I went and bought a 2 dollar funnel and cobbled it together. I used the mylar screen from an old dead LCD monitor for the projection screen - cut a bit of masonite to hold it flat on top of the funnel. I just trimmed the bottom of the funnel to fit the eye piece of the telescope - for this pic I was using a 14 mm. The scope is a Meade ETX-90. That last minute project worked really great.
bruce

FWIW - I took almost 50 pics during the transit - and this was the best of the bunch.


Transit setup.JPG
 Description:
I tried the binocular projection too - not so much joy....
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This image has been reduced to fit the page. Click on it to enlarge.

Transit setup.JPG



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey Bruce, thanks a million for your photo and the explanation of how you produced it. I first saw your pic in the other e-m thread. I don’t think I have ever heard of the term “funnel projector” before, but obviously you made it work very well. Please also tell us about the specs of the camera that you used.

I also missed the 2004 transit, but for the life of me, I can’t recall why…

I also tried projecting an image with my binoculars, but that didn’t work very well for me either…

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The camera is nothing - $120 Cannon (A3100 , I think.) I just focused on the projected image on the top of the funnel.
I heard about a Funnel Projector a day or two before the transit as I was browsing the Web. The best link is probably this;
http://www.transitofvenus.org/docs/Build_a_Sun_Funnel.pdf
but I had seen some info on another site about using the mylar from inside a dead LCD monitor for the screen - and I just happened to have a dead monitor in the closet Smile

I 'stopped' down the scope with "Post-it" notes Smile cause it was way too bright initially... This was a very low end project Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A “very low end project” that still produced excellent results. Bravo Exclamation

I toyed around with the idea of getting a solar telescope like a Coronado or Lunt for this rare event and future solar viewing, but they are so damn expensive! I then decided to get glass solar filters for my binoculars, but by the time I finally decided to pull the trigger for a purchase, Orion had already run out of stock (they must have lost several thousand dollars by not having enough solar filters for this Venus transit event). So in the end I just relied on my trusty old welder filter plate that I also used to view the total eclipse of the Sun in Hawaii back in the 90’s Exclamation That worked well enough for me... Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well Bravo to you for making the effort and seeing it. I've looked at those solar telescopes too. I agree - wayyy too much $$.

Best part of the day was dragging a half dozen people who were walking by and a few neighbors to take a look. I love sharing this stuff.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That’s really cool that you shared this experience with other people near your home. It sure would have been nice if I could have stayed at home or even traveled southeast to help my family view this event, but I had to drive about 325 miles north just to make sure I would have the best chance to have a clear view. I wound up viewing the event at a SWE CNG fueling station just north of Damascus, Arkansas. A few people pulled in to refill their clean energy natural gas powered vehicles, but none of them were curious enough to come over and see why I was there with my gasoline powered Ford Ranger pickup while I was constantly looking up at the Sun… Confused I would have shared, of course… Smile
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