Transit of Venus Story
A transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes directly between the sun and earth. This alignment is rare, coming in pairs that are eight years apart but separated by over a century. The most recent transits of Venus were a thrilling sight in June 2004 and 2012, with the next transit of Venus pair occurring in December 2117 and 2125.
Observers from two locations on earth see two distinct paths (red and blue) of Venus across the sun. The slight difference in times Venus takes, moving from edge to edge, can mathematically unlock the distance from earth to the sun, and thus the size of our solar system. For 17th & 18th century transits, intrepid explorers set out to answer a leading question of mankind. Not all of them made the voyage back home.
Mystery of "Black Drop"Just before or after the circular black dot of Venus seems to touch the edge of the sun, a peculiar "black drop effect" sometimes occurs between the contact points. A ligament of darkness smears the juncture of Venus and the sun. You can see a similar anomaly if you almost pinch your thumb and forefinger together. Just before you sense contact, a black feature spans your two digits.
Transits Lead the Hunt
Once again, transits are on the leading edge of new discoveries. The NASA Kepler mission and others are using the transit method to find habitable planets around distant stars. The Kepler spacecraft monitors over 150,000 stars, looking for periodic dips in their light curves which reveal the presence of companion planets. You, too, can join this quest for new worlds.
Midwest Treasure: TROVE
Art exhibits, family activities, a bus tour, historic artifacts, lectures, webcasts, telescope viewing, and more complemented the visual spectacle near the Michigan-Indiana border. This hub of 2012 transit of Venus activity in Michiana celebrated the math, science, history, and art of the celestial phenomenon.
- Poster: Transit of Venus Time Keg
- Community Celebrates
- Closure for Transit of Venus
- Vision For Future
- Video Follows Michiana Experience
- Transit of Venus Time Keg
- Viewing Great, Timing Difficult
- Time to Set Sail
- What if it's cloudy?
- You Can Learn a Lot From a Dot
- Can I Use Welding Glass to View the Sun?
First, you may purchase an inexpensive solar filter that fits over the large end of the tube. The large end of the Galileoscope is just under 70mm in diameter, so you want a filter with an outer cell I.D. of 70mm\2.75". A suitable choice is the Solar Filter 70mm Black Polymer from Rainbow Symphony, which can be ordered from http://www.rainbowsymphonystore.com/solar-filter-70mmblack.html. As of this writing in mid-March, the $15.00 filter is on sale for $10.00. It comes with felt tape to give a snug, custom fit.
The transit of Venus is a rare planetary alignment that will be visible for the last time in our lives the evening of Tuesday, June 5, 2012. That evening, Venus appears in silhouette as it passes in front of the sun. Transits help us to establish our place in space, from measuring the size of the solar system to discovering planets in the habitable zone around distant stars. When a transit of Venus last happened, Google deemed it the most popular event in the world for the entire month of June 2004! Come see what all the fuss is about, and learn how to view this solar spectacle safely.
The TROVES Adventure is a fun treasure hunt with regional businesses through the month of May to prepare the community for the transit of Venus. Find clues in storefront windows and win free solar shades to witness safely the celestial apparition on June 5. Michiana is a hub for transit of Venus attractions, with unique opportunities for residents and visitors at www.transitofvenus.org/trove.
The Visions of the Universe exhibit is on loan from the Space Telescope Science Institute. The majesty of Hubble images is supported with descriptive text and local astronomers who can answer your questions about these profound images. The exhibit includes twelve panels that feature key astronomical discoveries from the past 400 years since the invention of the telescope. The exhibit also highlights the technological advancements that made these discoveries possible. Topics range from celestial objects within our own “cosmic backyard” — the Sun, the Moon, Mars, and Saturn — to those beyond the realm of our solar system — including comets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies.
Come prepared to be active
Space is big, and it demands a big space to convey it. Union Station, located immediately south of Coveleski Stadium on South Street, has been greatly renovated and welcomes the public to AstroFest.
You may park on the street for free and enter through the front doors of Union Station.
We look forward to engaging you and your family at AstroFest on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at Union Station in South Bend, IN.
A $25.00 prize will be awarded for the top entry from each level--grades 1-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. Homeschoolers may enter under their equivalent grade level. Artists whose work is selected for exhibition will receive certificates acknowledging their contribution to the 2012 transit of Venus experience.
Call for ArtArt may be of any medium, preferably matted, with a size limit of 18 x 24 images. Please drop off your art on Monday, April 30, at the Penn Kingsmen Art Gallery between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Enter through Door A of Penn High School. The work that does not get selected should be picked up 2:00- 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, in the gallery. Artists whose work is exhibited may pick up their art on Friday, June 1, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. While it tries to care for all art, the Penn Kingsmen Art Gallery is not responsible for loss or damage, or for artwork not picked up on schedule.
Each piece should have a title. Include on back your name, school, grade, teacher, and contact info (home address, home phone). Limit of five 2-dimensional pieces per teacher and one 3-dimensional piece per teacher due to space limitations.
The show opens Thursday, May 3, and will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all school days through May 2012. Visitors may enter Door A at Penn High School, 56100 Bittersweet Road, Mishawaka, IN.
Other Transit of Venus Art OpportunitiesMultiple venues are celebrating the transit of Venus in art, including:
Destined to be a highlight of 2012 is the TROVE Art Exhibit, which celebrates the transit of Venus experience, past and future. Artists working in any two-dimensional media are invited to create works that have relevance to the transit of Venus, a celestial phenomenon both with a rich history in the quest to understand our place in the solar system and with a modern role in the hunt for new worlds around distant stars. The 2012 alignment of earth, Venus, and the sun on June 5 is the last transit of Venus in our lifetimes, not occurring again until December 2117.
TROVE (for TRansit Of VEnus) is a collection of regional attractions that complement this historic astronomical event. The venue for the TROVE Art Exhibit is the mezzanine gallery at The Livery, a microbrewery in the Arts District of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Enjoy this unique art space while quaffing a hand-crafted Venusian ale. The exhibit will be open seven days a week from May 6 until June 30, with a special party after sunset on June 5, 2012. Please join the multiple TROVE celebrations, whether by sharing your vision through the creation of art, or by embracing science and math in action as a supporter of the arts.
Call for Art
Artists are invited to create works related to Venus, the sun, astronomy, exoplanets, transit math, historical expeditions, gods and goddesses, the black drop effect, and other notions with a connection to the solar spectacle. Please state your intent to participate by April 15, and deliver your artwork to the site on May 5. Art must be ready to hang and may be sold with no commission. Insurance is the artist's responsibility. There is a $5.00 entry fee. Please fill out one entry form for each submission (limit two):
Coming Soon: Beer ArtThe history, mystique, and promise of the transit of Venus has a parallel storyline with beer. The brewmaster at The Livery is crafting a special golden ale to commemorate the 2012 transit of Venus.
The inaugural issue from January 2012 sets the stage for everyone who notices the bright object in the western sky after sunset. For Ryan, a goal is to get people to watch the celestial dynamics unfold over time. The 2012 transit of Venus experience begins well before June 5 or 6.
"I’m concerned that most people never even bother to notice Venus, even when it’s blazing bright as the evening star," Ryan said. I’m trying to get people to notice Venus beforehand, and learn a bit about its synodic cycle. This way, they can spot Venus in evening sky through the winter and spring and then watch it disappear into the sunset. Then when they see the actual transit in June, they have some context and hopefully more appreciation for the big picture of Venus’ motions."
High quality illustrations are evident in the free preview of the Celestial Almanack, and when you download and see the complete version you will find much that satisfies for $3.00. Stellar activities...
- Sousa on March 8
- Call for Art: Transit of Venus in Pastel
- Events: APS Museum in Philadelphia
- RASC 2012 Transit of Venus
- Activity: Pixel Count
- Plan a Community Celebration
- Harris Branch Library Hosts Art and Artifacts
- Transits of Venus: Looking Forward, Looking Back
- All-Aboard the Transit of Venus
- Spanish Version of Sun Funnel: El Embudo Solar
- TROVE: Celebrating the TRansit Of VEnus