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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Venus Transit, 2012 June 5

I watched the Venus transit from the UofA mall in front of the Lunar and Planetary Lab where quite a few folks were set up to watch the event.  Here, some grad students set up a "Sunspotter" which worked really well, allowing a small group to watch the event simultaneously (while through telescopes, only one person could view the sun at a time).

Zooming in on the image of the sun, you can see Venus on the right side of this image (which is roughly correct N-S, but flipped E-W so Venus is actually on the NE part of the sun), just about to finish transiting onto the face of the sun about 20 minutes after the start of the transit.

A bit later, I had the opportunity to look through a telescope with an H-alpha filter which showed some prominences, sunspots and lots of other phenomena along with the silhouetted Venus.

KGUN-9 weatherperson Erin Christiansen was on site as well. Here, she talks to my friend Dean Ketelsen who had set up a couple of telescopes for visitors to look through.

Here a young girl looks through one of the small telescopes.

Venus was big enough to see as a small speck on the sun even with just a pair of solar viewing glasses as this young lady demonstrates:

I borrowed a larger solar viewing filter that fit over my 75-300 zoom lens and took this shot just holding the filter over the lens.  Focusing and setting the exposure were both challenging.  For reference, this was heavily cropped from the original frame shot at 300mm focal length with an exposure of 1/500 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 400.