This post is a work in progress. Expect updates and expansions up until the event starts!
What’s this? If you haven’t already heard, the planet Venus is going to pass in front of the Sun from Earth’s point of view on June 5th and 6th. This is the last time you will be able to see this in your lifetime! Want viewing details? We have them all…
- Our Google Hangout on Air will start at ~2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern (view all timezones)
- The Transit starts at ~3pm Pacific / 6pm Eastern (get specific time for your location)
- The best way to view and share the event in real life is by projecting the sun using a sun funnel, pinhole, mirror, or straight-through projection.
- The Venus Transit App (includes links for Android and iPhone)
Do not look directly at the Sun without solar viewing glasses!
Do not point a telescope with plastic optics at the Sun!
Do not look directly at the Sun through binoculars / telescopes / anything else unless you have a full aperture solar filter!
Seriously. We will not be held responsible if you burn your retina out. We warned you!
The Astronomy Cast / Bad Astronomer / CosmoQuest Google Hangout on Air Coverage
Good things are meant to be shared, and on Tuesday we’re going to be sharing the Venus Transit with the world. The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, and Astronomy Cast co-hosts Fraser Cain and Pamela Gay will host end-to-end coverage of the transit, complete with live telescope views from around the world, demonstrations on how to view the event safely, and information on why this event is such a big deal to so many people from both a scientific and historic perspective.
Other live streams of the Transit
- From Tromso, Norway: Astro Viten
- From Mt Wilson Observatory, Arizona, USA: Astronomers Without Borders
- SLOOH Space Camera
- Webcast from Hawaii by the University of North Dakota
- Sky Watchers Association of North Bengal (SWAN) webcast from India
- and a whole bunch more listed by the Bad Astronomer
Ways to get involved
- Share your transit pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #CQX or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll try and include them all in the Hangout.
- GLORIA project photo collection: The GLORIA project would like people to document this ‘once in a lifetime’ event by turning their cameras back to Earth to capture photos of special places, everyday life, memorable events, themselves and their loved ones, on the days of June 5th and 6th 2012 and submitting them to the ‘Transit of Venus – Message to the Future’ group on Flickr.com.
- Team Hetu’u (Spanish-language site) will be observing the transit from Easter Island and need your help for marking exact times of transit start and stop. You can participate with a school group to help measure the distance to the Sun.
- Find transit viewing party near you! A listing of Venus Transit specific events can be found at NASA’s website. Many observatories, universities, museums, and astronomy clubs are hosting local events where skilled astronomers will share their own solar viewing equipment with you. Sky & Telescope has a partial listing of such organizations.
Teeny, Tiny Dot
Some methods used for safely viewing a solar eclipse may not work as well for the transit. Although everyone loves those nifty solar-viewing glasses, Venus will make a very small spot on the Sun’s surface, just barely resolved to the properly protected but otherwise unaided eye. (The sun is 30 arcminutes across and Venus is only an arcminute or so in size.)
You can do a quick test to see if you will be able to make out this small spot, as suggested by Debasis from SWAN. Draw a circle 66 mm (2.6 inches) in width. That represents the disc of the sun. Now, draw a spot just 2 mm (0.08 inches) wide somewhere inside that circle. Put the piece of paper 700 cm (23 feet) away. Can you see the spot? That is about what it will look like without the aide of some kind of magnification.
Most of all, enjoy the spectacle, but do it safely!
P.S. Nicole made a sun funnel. There was much duct tape. You can watch the Google+ broadcast to see if it holds up!