June 5/6 – Transit of Venus

Next week we get to see one of the rarest of solar system events, a transit of Venus across the disk of the Sun.
As seen from Earth, Venus will appear to cross the face of the Sun. The eye will see Venus as a tiny black dot moving across the Sun. Historically, the transit of Venus was used to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Transits of Venus occur in pairs about 8 years apart, and each pair occurs about once every 100 years. The last transit was on June 4, 2004. The next one is June 5-6, 2012. The next one after that is in 2117!

Helioviewer.org will be providing near-real time images of the transit from AIA, SWAP and EIT. Please note that we expect a very high level of interest in this event and consequently a high level of demand on our resources.

The transit across the disk of Sun starts (first ingress) at June 5 22:09:38 UT and ends (last egress) at June 6 04:49:35 UT. However, Venus may be visible in AIA, EIT or SWAP maybe one or two hours earlier depending on the physical extent of the coronal emission over the limb of Sun.

Here’s what you need to know to enjoy this rare solar-system event.

Essential Information

(1) Will I be able to see it?

Some places will be able to see it, others won’t. Check out the map below to find out if you will be able to see it from your location.
Visibility map for the transit of Venus

This map also shows where the transit is visible from. If you live somewhere where you can’t see the transit, or if the Sun is obscured, there are many places online where you can see it as it happens. Helioviewer.org will be providing near-real time images of the transit from AIA, SWAP and EIT.

(2) When is it happening?

Use the following link to find out when the transit will be visible at your location: http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/

(3) How can I watch it safely?

The Sun is EXTREMELY BRIGHT and PRECAUTIONS MUST BE TAKEN to VIEW THE TRANSIT SAFELY. Without proper precautions, you can severely and permanently damage your eyesight. Please follow proper procedures as detailed here.

We hope to see some fabulous images and movies from this event. Good observing!

Written on May 31, 2012 by jack