6-5-2012 Venus Transit - AAC Members
The Last Transit of Venus That Anyone Alive Now Will Ever See
The day of the transit started out cloudy & rainy, & it didn’t improve any toward transit time. I got the 4" refr with a solar filter out & set up JUST IN CASE there were sucker holes to look & drool through. I started out using a 13mm eyepiece.
As first contact time came around, it was totally cloudy with no view of the sun. A few minutes after 1st contact, we got a hole in the cloud deck & could see Venus already progressing across the sun’s disc through thinner clouds. OK, missed 1st contact. We got off & on views of the transit as Venus progressed towards 2nd contact. Amy & I were surprised about the size of Venus against the disc of the sun, especially since I had seen parts of the last transit. Also, we thought that the speed of the transit seemed rather slow–a good thing, tho.
During somewhat clear times, we both noticed a thin orange-ish ting ring around Venus as it progressed towards 2nd contact–the atmosphere?? This is want I REALLY wanted to see, along with the tear drop effect. At this point, I was using a 4.7mm eyepiece. I was also too busy viewing the event to record any times.
Just before 2nd contact, the sky completely clouded over with a dense cloud cover, prohibiting any further viewing. At one point, at 1734hrs, CDT, a sucker hole showed up & allowed us one last quick shot of the transit. We didn’t see much, but at least we got to see a small part of the transit. And I got to see some of what I REALLY wanted to see.
According to NASA, there have been only seven transits of Venus since the invention of the telescope in 1610. They occurred in 1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and 2004. The transit of 2004 was not visible in Amarillo, so this one was my last chance. The next one won’t occur until 2117 (105 years from now).
Unfortunately, Amarillo was socked in with clouds all day, so it looked like I was out of luck. But the clouds finally broke up enough at 5:30 PM that I was able to see the transit in my 15X70 binoculars from my front yard. I missed first and second contact due to cloud cover, but was thankful that I got to see any of the transit.
From 5:30 to 6:15, the Sun peeked in and out of the clouds, resulting in a total of about 20 minutes of viewing time. At 6:05 a jet plane passed across the face of the Sun! I was fortunate to be looking at that instant, because that's how long it lasted.
I was amazed at how large Venus appeared. It was larger than any of the sunspots visible at that time, and would have been easily visible in 7X50 binoculars. I was also amazed at how dark the disk of Venus appeared against the background of the Sun. As a result, the entire scene had a feeling of three-dimensionality.
In summary, it was an awe-inspiring sight, and I'm thankful for the 20 minutes that
I got to observe the transit.
I too was lucky enough to hit the window around 5:30 or so. When I got home from work it was completly overcast so I thought we were out of luck but I looked outside and saw sunlight on the ground. I ran outside and grabed the 8 inch and a filter and was able to observe the event for a few minutes befor the clouds returned for good. Venus did appear quite large. Is it at apogee now? Anyway I'm thankful to have been able to see it if only for a few minutes.
Jaton had a friend come by the house and the three of us got to witness the transit for a few minutes through the old Cave. My first impression was Venus was larger than I expected. I could even see it through solar glasses briefly. Plus, there were lots of Sunspots. Very cool!
We set up the 4" refr with a filter & were just able to catch Venus through the clouds just after first contact & got to view until just before second contact. We were also supprised about the size of Venus. Also, we noticed, using a 4.7mm ep, that there seemed to a thin orange 'band' encircling Venus--the atmosphere? Spotted Venus one more time well after second contact before it totally clouded over. I guess that a little is better than none at all???
Regarding the transit, I viewed the entire transit (5:09 -11:45 PM) on live streaming video from Hawaii- NASA TV in white light, H-alpha, and CaK filters. It was great and I didn't have to leave the house. I took alot of breaks in between views. Ingress and egress where the best parts. Art
Several club members didcome out to John Stiff Park to watch the clouds and wait for any sign of a daytime sucker hole. Besides myself, there was, in order of appearance, Kareem Dana, Alan Scruggs, Jim Rhodes, Dave McGaughy and Sharon Wollery. Laura and Jennifer Scruggs along with my wife Jan stopped by later in the afternoon to watch and visit.
We had less then a dozen people stop by to look through our scopes. Not really surprising considering the short time the sun was available. Those that did see it were just as awed as we were and thanked us very much.
We didn’t get to see first or second contact but around 5:40 the sun suddenly appeared. A quick flurry of activity brought out scopes, cameras plus a few kids and adults. It was quite a site through the clouds. Somewhere along the line, about the time it started to disappear again I grabbed a camera and just shot a single handheld shot. I didn’t think I got anything but a later check found a picture that looked more like Mars with a beauty mark.
After seeing the last two transits of Mercury, I was pleasantly surprised at the size difference of Venus. The other thing that I noticed as time went on, was that Venus was crossing the sun more in the vertical direction than horizontally.
Since Venus’s orbit is only inclined a bit over 3 degrees from that of earths that does not explain the odd track. Earths tilt and our point in its rotation must be the main cause of the illusion.
After we all decided that we were happy that we had at least seen a bit of the show, the sun disappeared again and was not to reappear until 8:20. This gave us plenty of time to socialize and wish we had brought more ice water and a few ham sandwiches.
The final appearance didn’t last long at all but this time I was camera ready and got a shot of what looked more like Jupiter with its cloud bands rather than Mars. Either Jupiter I decided, or possibly it was a Cyclops with one big hairy eyebrow.
From then on it was clouds all the way to the horizon. So we packed our gear and agreed all around that it was an afternoon well