Reminder – Venus Transit

If you’ve been living on Mars, you may not have heard about the transit of Venus across the path of the sun on June 5th/June 6th 2012. Here’s a reminder of what to look out for.

If you are in India (or the Middle East or Europe), the transit of Venus will begin on June 6th at Sunrise, around 5:30am India time and continue till 9:45am. If you are in the U.S/Americas the transit will begin at sunset, June 5th 2012. Most of South America and Western Africa will miss the transit. Please see the map below for other countries.

Path of Venus Transit

Witnessed only  7 times since the time of Galileo, this is truly a once in a life time opportunity as the next transit will occur only in 105 years (2117). To safely view the sun:

– Never view the sun with the naked eye as it can burn your retina.

– Always view with a solar filter or welding glass or special eclipse/solar glasses, even on your camera/telescope/binoculars.

– Do not look at the sun using just sunglasses. This will not protect your eyes.

– If you have a pair of binoculars, cut two holes in a card for binocular eye-pieces. Push card onto binoculars and fix with tape. Block one lens (with lens cap, for example). Holding binoculars at waist height, angle towards Sun – do not look through them. Move binoculars around until card shadow is minimised on to a viewing surface, a piece of white paper is best. During six-hour transit, move set-up to follow path of Sun across sky, for example by mounting it on tripod or chair

– Or you can cut a hole through a piece of white paper, allowing the sun’s light to pass through the pinhole and be projected on to another piece of white paper below it.

Safely viewing the sun

– If you have none of the above, turn on your computer and watch live web streaming of the event from any of these websites, such as http://www.livescience.com/20747-venus-transit-webcasts-watch-live.html    Or for the feed from India http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/webcasts/india/ for the telecast from Hanle, Ladakh

Or you can just wait till we post our pictures on this website.

For those of you photographing the event, the trick is to try and record the so-called “black-drop” effect. In this elusive phenomenon, first reported by astronomers during the transit in 1761, as Venus’s silhouette makes contact with the solar disk’s edge, Venus’s outline seems to get distorted into a teardrop shape. The picture below, from the venus transit in 2004 shows this:

Black drop effect from http://www.old.transitofvenus.org

If the weather holds up and the skies are clear we will be photographing the transit of venus from Vishakapatnam using an Olympus E500 and from the air, 35,000 feet up between Chennai and Vishakapatnam. The DH will be flying above the clouds to try to get some aerial photos using a Nikon D40 with variable ND filter (neutral density polarizer) and a circular polarizer to minimize the glare/reflection from the airplane window.

We have tied up with Efrain Morales in Puerto Rico, who we met through facebook, who will be photographing the transit at 67 degrees West Longitude as we photograph it from 83 degrees East Longitude. The idea is to get someone on two (exact) opposite sides of the planet to photograph the transit at the same time (i.e sunset and sunrise), which can then mathematically unlock the distance between the sun and the earth and therefore the size of the solar system. Hopefully Mr.Morales has some success although he says the desert winds have been reducing visability.

Our program Getafix, while still not launched do some technical refinements, but with planets programmed in, has predicted the transit of Venus. Show in the the screen grab below. As you can see, the Sun (large white circle) and Venus are aligned.

Getafix predicts Venus transit

Happy Transit Viewing everyone! Be safe and please try not to miss it.

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About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden. www.nonsensegirl.wordpress.com
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2 Responses to Reminder – Venus Transit

  1. gkorula says:

    Touched and honoured! You made my day.

  2. StuPC says:

    This site is becoming my “Go-To” site for astronomical information! 🙂

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