Transit of Venus on 6th June
Early next Wednesday (6th June 2012) you will get the chance of a lifetime – the chance to see Venus transit the Sun. Of course for those of us who saw it in 2004 this isn’t so much a chance of a lifetime but the last time we will. If you didn’t see it back in 2004 I’d urge you to get up early, find a place that has a clear view of the Sun rising (i.e. look North-East) and setup a little projection system or if you have some eclipse glases use those. Remember, safety first. Never look directly at the Sun. There are some [notes on safety here].
In the UK we will only get to see the last hour or so of the transit, as the transit is already underway at sunrise at ~4.45am. In Cambridge this means that the transit starts at 23:03, mid-transit at 02:29 and the interior exgress starts at 05:37. If you wish to know about the timings at your location take a look at [transitofvenus.nl].
If the clouds hold off I’m aiming to go to a bit of farmland behind my flat and use my telescope to project the image of the Sun onto a piece of paper, simple but effective and safe. You can do this with binocoluars too – just ensure you cover up the other objective. Much more info can be found on transitofvenus.org.
As I said earlier in this post in 2004 we managed to see this. I expect that my day next Wednesday will be a lot less hectic than in was 8 years ago. I even have a couple of old blog posts on that, for example [Venus has left the surface of the Sun].
On June 8, 2004, Venus past between the Earth and the Sun – causing a shadow to appear on the surface of the Sun, as can be seen in the image below:
The above image was taken using a simple camera connected to a 3.5″ Newtonian Reflector at the [University of Birmingham Astronomical Society].
I did a couple of press interviews that day – and wow do I look different (and young!):
and here is the newsclip, I remember putting this online being rather difficult then – how times have changed!