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Venus Transit 5-June-2012

On June 5, 2012, Venus made a transit of the sun. These are rare events since the earth's and Venus's orbits are slightly inclined in relation to each other.

Venus put on quite a show this year. She was as bright as she ever gets in April and May; and she treated us to a spectacular conjunction with Jupiter the middle of March. Since peaking in brightness the second week of May, Venus has been fading as she edged closer and closer to the sun, culminating in today's transit. A transit is sort of like an eclipse, except for the vast size difference between the sun and the eclipsing object. As a planet, Venus is roughly the size of Earth. Since the next transit of Venus won't occur until the year 2117, I thought it important to capture this event.

To do so I employed a telescope I built about 20 years ago. It's a 6" f8 Newtonian reflector with an equatorial mount and synchronous clock drive. For viewing the sun I added an eyepiece projection screen. This eliminates the risk of eye injury from looking at the sun through the eyepiece. For anyone who says you can't use a projection eyepiece on a reflector ... well, here's the proof that you can.

In this image you can see Venus beginning her transit. It's the nick out of the solar disk at about 11:00 o'clock.

The white disk in the 'scope's objective is an aperature stop to reduce the image intensity to a comfortable level.

Here are some images taken during the transit. Click on the image for a full-size rendition.

40 minutes into the transit, low power.

42 minutes, high power. Note the sunspots.

1:40, low power.

2:20, high power

2:30, low power
This is my favorite image

2:40, low power. This is the last image before the sun dipped below the trees.

Images are Copyright (C) 2012 DM Arnold, all rights reserved.