Geof using a netbook while in the background a telescope projects an image of the sun on a piece of white posterboard.

Transit of Venus

We had planned on attending a local viewing of the transit at one of the local colleges but they were socked in with clouds and were only going to show the nasa video feed. I can do that at home, what I wanted to see was the actual transit from my location, or at least as much of it as possible since the final hours would occur after sunset for our side of earth.

Geof using a netbook while in the background a telescope projects an image of the sun on a piece of white posterboard.
Geof streaming the NASA Edge broadcast and using twitter on the netbook while the telescope projects an image of the sun on a piece of white posterboard.

So I whipped together a quick observation post using a telescope (with no magnification and a sun filter) to project the image of the sun on a piece of posterboard. Admittedly I was waiting for the paper to burst into flames at any moment, but it didn’t.

Geof points out sunspots on the projected image of the sun.
Look sunspots!

While we were waiting on Venus to transit the disk we noticed some sunspots on our image. It was really a neat moment, matching the shapes we were seeing here with SOHO’s full disk image, great teaching moment.

The projected image of the sun on white posterboard. A finger points at the shadow of Venus as it first touches the sun.
It’s Venus!

The moment of first capture was more than exhilarating. It’s hard to describe the feeling I had, witnessing this moment. Think about it, the last time this second stage of the Venus transit was seen humans were first able to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Simply breathtaking, humbling, inspiring, overwhelming and delightful.

Venus' shadow clearly showing on the sun's disk.
Venus’s shadow clearly showing on the sun’s disk.
Researching ways to improve scientist’s access to data. Programming software to solve humanity’s problems. Disseminating emergency preparedness knowledge. Sharing knowledge about science. Practicing amateur radio. Serving humanity through volunteer efforts. Drives a robot to work.
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