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Transit of Venus


[2004-06-08venustransit2681sp/Jpg]

Venus transit [Leeds UK, 9:55:36am UT Tue 8 Jun 2004; Canon EOS 10D digicam]

Transits of Venus -- when it passes in front of the sun -- are rare. The last one occurred in 1882, and the next visible from the UK won't be until 2117 (although there's one visible from the Pacific regions in 2012). This one started at 6.20am BST on Tuesday 8 June 2004 and continued through to 12.24, Venus passing slowly across the face of the sun. It's not a spectacular sight, but it does have considerable historical significance: for example, Australians would probably be speaking Portuguese if it wasn't for Captain Cook's expedition to observe a Venus transit from Tahiti in 1769.

The day dawned very cloudy in Leeds, although it was very hot and muggy. But as the morning progressed the sun appeared more and more often as the clouds thinned, but the seeing remained very hazy and murky. We were eventually able to grab a few pictures.

The image of the sun was projected through a Meade ETX125 telescope -- of course, you should never look at the sun through optical equipment, unless you're very thoroughly prepared with appropriate filters (and you really know what you're doing). This isn't an idle warning -- despite the sun being very weak and milky, a piece of paper placed in front of the eyepiece rapidly caught fire.

The picture above shows the projected sun on the ceiling. The scope was on the windowsill, with a 32mm eyepiece placed in the side port. As our ceiling isn't slanted, the sun appears elliptical.

The picture below shows a more conventional projection, on to a sheet of A4 paper in front of the eyepiece.


[2004-06-08venustransit2686sp/Jpg]

Venus transit [Leeds UK, 10:00:50am UT Tue 8 Jun 2004; Canon EOS 10D digicam]

Upper image details

Photographer: Chris
Taken: Leeds UK, 9:55:36am UT Tue 8 Jun 2004
Original format: 3072 x 2048 JPEG, 1421 Kbytes
Camera: Canon EOS 10D
Exposure: 1/45 sec * ISO200 * f4.00
Photodesk processing: Scaling, cropping, gamma

Lower image details

Photographer: Chris
Taken: Leeds UK, 10:00:50am UT Tue 8 Jun 2004
Original format: 3072 x 2048 JPEG, 1526 Kbytes
Camera: Canon EOS 10D
Exposure: 1/180 sec * ISO200 * f9.50
Photodesk processing: Scaling, cropping, gamma

EXIF data produced by EXIFinfo



© Lee Montgomerie / Chris Terran 2004
All images are copyright and may not be reproduced without permission

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