What is a transit of Venus?

When Venus passes directly between earth and women cialis the sun, we see the www.asian-americans.com distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun.  Historically, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system.  The view is like a front row seat to the transit method, by which we find planets around distant stars.

When is it?

The last transit of Venus occurred June 5-6, 2012.  The next pair of Sun-Venus-Earth alignments will be December 2117 and 2125.  Look for a transit of Mercury in 2016.

What happened in 2012?

People across the globe witnessed and celebrated science in action. Observing parties, public outreach, live webcasts, art exhibits, historic displays, music , and more set the 2012 transit of Venus apart as a collective science experience. 

Transit of Venus at sunset

See A Community Celebrates for a summary of take cialis the 2012 Transit of Venus from Michiana.

Transit of Venus Story

Rare Alignment

Sun, Venus, and earth align for transit of Venus
A transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes directly between the purchase viagra online 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. 

Global Expeditions

Parallax angle from two locations
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"

Simulated black drop smearJust 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 generic levitra for sale juncture of brand viagra without prescription buy Venus and the generic levitra next day delivery 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

Kepler mission's field of view near Summer Triangle
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. 

4-Minute Summary

Video: the Transit of Venus
Animation and best canadian pharmacy visual effects by Patrick McPike.

Get Your Gear

Three t-shirt designs

Three designs of T-shirts at reduced price from supporters of Transit of Venus outreach efforts.

Midwest Treasure: TROVE

Midwest Treasure: TROVE
Art exhibits, family activities, a bus tour, historic artifacts, lectures, Logo for TROVE Adventurewebcasts, 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.

Safely See the Sun

Rear projection screen with transiting Venus
Protect your eyes.  There are several safe ways to observe the sun. 
  • Solar filtered telescope
  • Disposable "eclipse shades"
  • Rear projection screen
    (Build a Sun Funnel, above)
  • Live webcast
  • More

Recommended Links

Logo for Transit of Venus Project

Logo for NASA's Sun-Earth Day 2012

Logo for Facebook Group

Twitter logo

YouTube features transit of Venus videos

Letters to Leaders

White House logoPolitical figures can extol the virtues of science and math education in speech, or they can step up and lead by example.  In preparation for the 2012 transit of Venus, I invite our elected leaders to participate actively in the Transit of Venus experience. 

Below is a letter sent to the White House in mid-November, 2010, via http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. I encourage you to write comparable invitations to your own political representatives, such as state governors and regional officials, to share your enthusiasm for using the transit of Venus as an opportunity to promote education. 

Dear President Obama,

I write to invite you and the First Family to lead the nation in science education through your active participation in a rare celestial event occurring June 5, 2012. On that day, observers in North America will be well positioned to witness a Transit of Venus, in which the http://www.tedxamsterdamed.nl/2013/viagra-label planet Venus can be seen passing directly in front of cananda viagra the sun. 

Specifically, I request that you observe the phenomenon through a filtered telescope, record the time when Venus touches the inside edge of the sun, and contribute your observation to a global experiment through a simple phone app.  This will be the last transit of Venus in our lifetimes.

Read more: Letters to Leaders


2004 Celebration in Mishawaka, IN


A crowd of observers are reflected in a rear projection screen as Venus makes third contact during the 2004 Transit of Venus.

The 2004 transit of Venus was witnessed and celebrated from Mishawaka, Indiana, USA, under very good conditions.  We had successful stargazing the night of June 7; webcasts beginning at midnight (EST); clear skies at sunrise; perhaps 20 quality telescopes and viewing devices; and a crowd of enthusiasts.  As third contact approached, so too did a large bank of low clouds.  However, the clouds cleared in time to capture that elusive moment.   See video.

Brian Davis wrote a descriptive observing report about his experience.

Visually, the transit of Venus at third contact was more rewarding than I had anticipated.  No appreciable black drop effect appeared, on which we could blame diverse timings.  I was taken aback by how difficult it was to discern the exact second of contact.  Only part of it can be attributed to the festival-like atmosphere we sought.

More photos...

Details about the celebration and our experience will be uploaded after we tend to some necessary business--sending many thank-you notes, paying bills, gathering images and stories, and getting some sleep.  In the meantime, we thank the only now cheap viagra online prescription many businesses and www.umlauf.de individuals who supported our efforts to bring this dynamic solar system experience to our community.  

Media Coverage Continues

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Preparing the Main Observing Site

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Webcasts of 1st and 2nd Contacts

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June 8, 2004: Transit of Venus at Sunrise

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Clouds Threaten Third Contact

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Broadcast of tramadol cod WWV Time Signal, courtesy of  Radio Operator John Fleming (W3GQJ)

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Clouds Clear

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Klinger, Bueter, Franken, and Darnell after the 2004 Transit of Venusafterglow.jpg
Image courtesy of Cathy McCormick.

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Aligning with moon.
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Observing the moon
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Preparing scopes.
images courtesy of Don Darnell.

University of Notre Dame physics students watch the transit of Venus from the PHM site in Mishawaka, IN.

The following table of images are courtesy of Ralph Garhart:

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A story and images in the South Bend Tribune; online for a limited time.

The June 4th Artist's Reception for the Transit of Venus Art Exhibit opened the community celebrations and continues through June 30, images/stories/2004.

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On June 5, 2004, The Pub promoted the transit of Venus and hosted Matt Rumley for an outstanding performance.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige congratulates the Penn-Harris-Madison Corporation and its families for global outreach related to the 2004 Transit of Venus.


2004 Observing Report-Brian Davis

Date: 8 Jun 2004
Location: Penn High School, Mishawaka, IN, USA (41.68 Lat, -86.11 Lon)
Equipment: XT8 (8" dobsonian reflector), 25mm & 9mm plossl, ultrascopic 2x barlow, Thousand Oaks solar filter
Predicted sunrise: 5:10 AM local time (10:10 UTC), at 59° azimuthrea
Predicted 3rd contact: around 6:03 AM local time, 8° altitude
Predicted 4th contact: around 6:24 AM local time, 11° altitude

[See 2004 Celebration in Mishawaka, IN]

Wonderful event! I observed at a public event that a bunch of us with equipment were recruited for. While I showed the transit to 100+ folks (a lot of kids, nice to see), I had exclusive use for third & fourth contact to *try* to time them. Before that morning I had never used a solar filter - one was provided by the cialis 50 mg organizers of the event. The result was almost comic: perhaps a dozen 'scopes started franticly trying to locate the Sun as soon as it crested the trees near the horizon around 5:30, almost none with filter-equiped finders and with the Sun too dim (low & in clouds) too be seen in the eyepiece. Minimize the shadow cast by the OTA I hear you say? With the Sun so low & dim, there were no shadows, and we dared not look with the filters off. Eventually everybody located it, and the viewing began.

Venus was a wonderfully inky black perfect disk on the Sun, unmistakable. As others have noted, it seemed larger than I had expected, nice at 48x, with 3rd & 4th contact observed at 96x. The blackness was really noticeable compared to the two small sunspots centrally located. As 3rd contact approached, I started to see what looked like...
 ...a thin thread connected the black disk of Venus to the limb of the Sun. It was hair-fine, and slightly "wrinkly", not razor straight but slightly slack and wriggly. I saw it at least three times, when Venus was perhaps 1/5th of a Venusian diameter or less from the solar limb (did anyone else see this?). As the bridge thinned, it seemed to thin on both sides, as if being drawn apart like a piece of taffy. This was subtle, but it soon formed a wavery bridge of light, trembling to hold Venus within the www.karlbarth.nl glowing disk of the Sun. This very quickly gave way to the "black drop": instead of a razor-thin line of light, Venus merged with the edge in a non-uniform way, one instant still within the solar disk, the next breaking the limb of the Sun with a wider-than-it-should-be black gap. I was unprepared for how difficult this made timing the moment of contact (I got 11:05:02 UT - the guy next to me was something like 7 *seconds* earlier, clearly unacceptable... and I'm not sure either of us trusted our own observations on this). As it pushed through the limb, I thought I saw a partial ring of light around it when it was perhaps a quarter of the way out - the guy next to me clearly saw it (not sure what magnification he was using, but he was on a 4" apo), and was very excited. He described it as "horns" to a complete arc (it was never that distinct to me). I *did* notice that from a quarter of the way out to perhaps halfway or even more, the disk of Venus seemed very slightly darker than the sky behind it. I could picture the complete disk of Venus even with half of it off the face of the Sun (perhaps this was my imagination, but it was something I thought I observed... and after all, that's what this is, an observing report :-). 4th contact actually seemed easier to judge (note, this doesn't mean I was any more accurate, just more confident); as Venus departed from the Sun, it formed a rapidly-diminishing very shallow dimple, and I timed 4th contact as the fda approved viagra women moment when this dimple was lost in the seeing variations in the solar limb.

All in all, we had a fantastic time. Plenty of folks helped out, running 'scopes for the general public, while others MCed the event. The general public was wonderful, really enthusiastic... it was also nice, I must admit, getting to peek through others equipment: I had the XT8 and a TV85 plus a pair of tripod-mounted binoculars, and I suspect I was the bottom end of the equipment list. One guy had a 6" refractor, there were a couple of 10" reflectors, an LX200, several APOs (at least one other TV85), and two 'scopes with H-alpha filters (a coronado & something else). The night before we had a mini-starfest, tagging various (mostly bright) objects in the hazy, light-polluted (but steady!) skies until midnight, then gathering in a tent to watch a webcast of 1st & 2nd contact. Even on TV it was a spellbinding event, and picturing the true three-dimensional situation (the Sun being more than twice as far from Venus as Venus is from us at that moment) made it even more amazing. The dimmest object I managed to find that night was M82 (!!), but Jupiter was nice (well-defined features in the NEB), and M13 and colorful doubles were the public showpieces of the night.

Oh, and somewhere in there I did land 2 hours of sleep in a tent nearby. Didn't hit me at all until the next day, late, when I fell asleep waiting for the shower to warm up. Oops.

Afterthoughts (for the next transit): (1) I need to have some way to photograph through the eyepiece, as well as remembering to take a few "naked eye" (unmagnified) shots of the Sun (I didn't think of it - now *that's* dumb). (2) Observe on higher power (I really could have gone up from 96x, and seeing would have probably supported my next option at 133x with the 9mm). (3) Run a tape recorder to record verbal observations during the canadian pharmacy scam event. And maybe, not do the public thing - although it was FANTASTIC, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world, I really want to be isolationist for the critical moments of the next one.

OK, anybody else want to report? Please?
Brian Davis

2004 Transit of Venus Images

Over 50 images of the transit of Venus as witnessed from and cialis femele celebrated at Mishawaka, Indiana, USA, under good conditions.  "We had successful stargazing the night of June 7; webcasts beginning at midnight (EST); clear skies at sunrise; perhaps 20 quality telescopes and viewing devices; and a crowd of enthusiasts.  As third contact approached, so too did a large bank of low clouds.  However, the clouds cleared in time to capture that elusive moment."   More preparations are at http://old.transitofvenus.org/celebrate.htm.

Venus Transit of 2004: 51 Photos of Rare Celestial Sight; a collection of images on Space.com

Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope on La Palma; images and movies include black drop effect and the "elusive aureole outlining the disk of Venus. It is caused by sunlight being refracted towards us in the atmosphere of the planet."

Results and reflections from one of the most active observing sites--Frognerparken in Oslo, Norway.

TRACE image of Venus Transithttp://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_184.html
NASA link to images.

TRACE 171 A 11:39 UThttp://trace.lmsal.com/transits/venus_2004/
From the perspective of the TRACE spacecraft, including movies with time codes.

More processed images from TRACE.

Photographs and movies with homemade H-alpha coronograph of Venus straddling the sun's limb; sequence of images shows Venus moving beyond the solar limb; from André Rondi.

Tomáš Maruška and the Porter team capture the International Space Station transiting the cheap generic viagra sun from Bratislava. The handiwork of  Thomas Fly and others sets up successful images of both the observers and the observed.   Nice work, all.

Read more: 2004 Transit of Venus Images


US Naval Observatory Expeditions

In 1874 and 1882, the US Naval Observatory (USNO) sent multiple teams to time the transit of Venus with the aid of photographic equipment.  Expedition photographs reproduced here are in the collection of the US Naval Observatory Library.

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Read more: US Naval Observatory Expeditions



Google's Zeitgeist feature rated the 2004 Transit of Venus as the world's #1 Most Popular Event for all of June 2004!  The 2012 transit of Venus is the last one in the 21st century--not seen again until 2117.  You don't want to miss this rare dance of the planets!

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