02 June 2012

Transit of Venus on June 5

It's showtime! 8 years ago, the planet Venus passed in front of the Sun, and now it's time for the second of the pair of transits before a 105-year break. The view from San Francisco and the west coast of the US will be very fine, with the event visible in the western sky starting around 3:00 pm until sunset.

Much is being written about this transit. It fits into the category of 'unique and rare astronomical events' that are special and worthwhile to see if only for the rarity of the event. Venus makes two transits of the Sun every 100+ years, and the last one of this pair (8 years ago) was not visible in San Francisco, so Tuesday June 5th is a special opportunity to see this event. The website transitofvenus.org is an outstanding resource, as is Sky & Telescope with their historical writeup of past transits. Safe viewing tips can be found here on EarthSky.

I am going to take part at an event co-sponsored by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers and NASA Ames in Mountain View. And there are many more places to see the transit with amateur and professional astronomers around the San Francisco Bay Area - thanks to this list from the AANC. However, if you don't get out to an event, no need to worry. You won't need a telescope to see this, just eye protection as you would use during any solar viewing, and you will easily spot the disk of Venus moving slowly across the Sun's surface. Make the effort; the next chance will be in 2117.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Clifton said...

Hi Paul:

I'm sorry I missed the event at NASA/AMES. However, I did a solo viewing in my neighborhood in Bernal Heights and got really lucky with an image. It even made it to the online edition of Sky and Telescope. This would not of been possible with the support and mentoring of the SFAA. Here are a few links:



The Urban Astronomer said...

hi Clifton- your picture is great - nice work! I am glad that SFAA was able to have been a support and mentor for you. And I am glad that your photo was picked up on Sky & Telescope. What an honor! Keep up the good work.

-- Paul