Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

2004 Venus Transit In Pictures 214

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-lady-godiva dept.
oneiros27 writes "For those astronomy fans out there -- pictures are starting to come in from the 2004 Venus Transit (where Venus passes in front of the sun). Times of the transit will vary by city, but make sure you use safe techniques for viewing the sun if you want to look for yourself." Anonymous Coward writes "Check out the transit of Venus webcast from Australia. It starts at 4.50 UTC on June 8." Update: 06/07 04:03 GMT by T : Linked webcast link updated to a URL projected to better handle the load, thanks to reader Tom Minchin.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2004 Venus Transit In Pictures

Comments Filter:
  • Unfortunately... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:50PM (#9353716)
    Golden State (California) wouldn't be able to see it.
  • commence!
    • Hey, I heard the Monkeys got arrested ... it appears they got drunk and tried to peel Bananarama. *shudder* '80's humor, I'm embarassed that I actually wrote this down. Mod me way down, if you value our civilization.
  • OH DEAR GOD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:51PM (#9353718)
    I'M BLIND!!!!

    I tried to look at Venus, and I burned out my eyes! Damn you Slashdot, damn you Sun! (The Sun, not Sun the Java people!)
    • by Talking Toaster (695539) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:41PM (#9353950)
      I'M BLIND!!!!

      For one thing, it doesn't start for another day and an hour or so.

      (I'll admit that I panicked and rushed outside and took quick looks at the sun, before I came back and read the article and realized we still have about 25 hours until it even starts.

      For another thing, slashdot was kind enough to post a link to safety instructions [nasa.gov] in the headline.

      So, what are solar filters? How much do they cost and where can I get one if I want to drive across the country in a mad dash to catch it at sunrise in South Dakota or whatever?

      I've been wanting to check out that Wall Drugs that so many people have bumper stickers for for awhile anyway. Maybe they sell solar filters? But if I'm going to drive halfway across the country I want more then just a pinhole thingy.

      Who's up for a road trip?

      But if you forgot safety and go temporarily blind, at least you can turn your Chinatown apartment into one big computer and discover a way to predict the stock market.
      • by Fizzl (209397) <fizzl@@@fizzl...net> on Monday June 07, 2004 @02:39AM (#9354599) Homepage Journal
        In case you are in Finland (which I'm fairly sure the parent is not), you can get free safety equipment from Ursa [www.ursa.fi] to view the transit. Email them for further instructions.
        I think there is some Ursa personnel at Tähtitorninmäki ("The observatory hill"), handing out filters.
    • Re:OH DEAR GOD (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AsmCoder8088 (745645) *
      You can actually look at the Venus-Sun transit through telescopes using a solar filter. I own an eight inch schmidt-cassegrain, and equipped with an appropriate eight inch filter, I would be able to see the transit much better than just regular gazers of the transit. Hypothetically, if you had a few grand lying around right now, you could buy a nice telescope and have a much better look at the transit.
    • Don't follow Bob's example [angryflower.com]...

  • by Yaa 101 (664725)
    SOHOT...Venus...Yummy...I am way to long behind this screen...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:00PM (#9353765)
    It would be interesting if someday human could live in Venus (w/ the little help from terraforming), and experience the transit directly from there.
    • by Exiler (589908) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:08PM (#9353794)
      I think they'd call it "Night" or "DEAR GOD! THE GOOGLES! THEY DO NOTHING!"

      Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
      Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
    • Re:Terraforming (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > It would be interesting if someday human could live in Venus (w/ the little help from terraforming), and experience the transit directly from there.

      While in priciple those are interesting ideas, I see two potential obstacles:
      1) Even with terraforming, Venus' proximity to the Sun would make average surface temperatures too warm for comfort. Maybe even too warm for life. Shielded surface habitats or underground structures might be the only options.

      2) If you're on the planet and it's making a transit
      • If you're on the planet and it's making a transit of the Sun, you can't see it.

        What I've been wondering about is how often would this happen for an observer on Mars? And Earth transits? Are they even more rare?

    • Well, i don't think so. Translated from a news I read there [yahoo.com]:

      Until the middle of the 19th century, Venus was considered as the sister planet of the Earth: a diameter of 12104 km (12754 on Earth), 5.24g/cm3 density (5.51 on Earth). We now know that actually, Venus is a (badly known) hell due to, among other things, its thick atmosphere which radar observations just began to help discover.

      Of numerous soviets and american probes sent to Venus, none has survived more than two hours: the temperature on Ven

    • that reminds me. I know a lot of the solar system has already been explored one way or an other by man- but it came to my attention that nobody has actually landed on the Sun yet...?

      Now I know youre all going to say 'duh. thats stupid its way too hot'

      true. but only if you go in the daytime
  • by FlipmodePlaya (719010) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:00PM (#9353766) Journal
    NASA.gov is in for the Slashdotting of its life!
    • Nasa has too much bandwith for God to count. They'll be fine.

      I'm tempted to make a Soviet Russia joke about them Slashdotting us.

      Weaselmancer

      • by CyanDisaster (530718) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:45AM (#9354362)
        ...I'm tempted to make a Soviet Russia joke about them Slashdotting us...

        What, like how in Soviet Russia, Nasa slashdots you?

        Hope be with ye,
        Cyan
      • Yuppers (Score:2, Interesting)

        One time I was writing a web bot and it went berserk and started downloading images from NASA as fast as it could... 10,000 in half an hour. I emailed an apology to the web master. He emailed back and said they hadn't even noticed, that that my hits constituted an insignificant fraction of their daily traffic.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    how are "pictures starting to come in"?
  • by Hao Wu (652581) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:16PM (#9353829) Homepage
    It's not Venus, it's SWAMP GAS.

    This is a big desert, you could really get hurt out here. Now go away.... remember that you saw nothing.

  • Australia? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:16PM (#9353830) Journal
    The Australians will only be able to view a partial transit. According to my New Scientist, Eurasia and Africa will be able to view the entire transit, Eastern North America, South America and Western Africa will find that Venus will already be in transit at Sunrise, and Australia, Japan, Alaska and Indonesia will find the transit interrupted by sunset. New Zealand, the Western US and southern Chile will be unable to view the transit.
  • I can see ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by acceber (777067) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:19PM (#9353839)
    ...the first contact tomorrow at 3:07 PM here in Sydney. The second contact at 3:26 PM and then the sun will set just before 5 PM.

    Perfect timing, as I will be able to see it straight after school, not to mention two hours of pure interesting and enlightening entertainment for free.

    Beats TV any day.

  • eye safety (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sinful_Shirts (784047)
    When I was in middle school my teachers told me it was safe to look at partial eclipses with a welders mask on, but I have heard otherwise. Does anyone know about this?
  • Projecting (Score:5, Funny)

    by NIK282000 (737852) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:20PM (#9353846) Homepage Journal
    It says that you can project an image of the sun with binoculars, Im hoping that a telescope will work as well, if not, watch the news for "Wild fire obliterates southern ontario, /.er in questioning"
    • Re:Projecting (Score:3, Informative)

      by Avian visitor (257765)
      Be carefull if you are using a reflector-type telescope - one with the mirror (for example Newton reflector). These kind of telescopes should never be pointed towards the sun - whether you are looking through the eyepiece or only projecting a picture of the sun to a screen.

      Because the mirror focuses the light, the lenses in the eyepiece can get very hot and can deform or even shatter.

      Better stay with binoculars. You can even use two pieces of paper. One black with a tiny hole and another one white to use
      • Re:Projecting (Score:3, Informative)

        by Idarubicin (579475)
        Be carefull if you are using a reflector-type telescope - one with the mirror (for example Newton reflector). These kind of telescopes should never be pointed towards the sun - whether you are looking through the eyepiece or only projecting a picture of the sun to a screen.

        This is true of any telescope that doesn't have a miniscule aperture. If you have a large refracting telescope, you also run the risk of cooking the optics in your objective if you point it at the sun.

        To directly examine the sun usin

  • Eureka! (Score:5, Funny)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:32PM (#9353905)
    From the article on safe viewing:
    "More recently, solar observers have used floppy disks and compact disks (both CDs and CD-ROMs) as protective filters by covering the central openings and looking through the disk media."

    My Dear Watson, I have discovered another use for AOL CDs! Grab the one from under that cup over there; we're going to watch Venus!
    • Reply (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bombcar (16057)
      Watson: "My dear Holmes, I've been using AOL CDs to watch Uranus for years!"
    • ... solar observers have used floppy disks and compact disks (both CDs and CD-ROMs) as protective filters

      I have discovered another use for AOL CDs!


      Sorry to spoil your day, I just tried it and it's yet another thing that AOL disks are useless for :-)

      I just tried a glimpse with various CDs. I find that a single unlacquered CD thickness leaves too much brightness, but 2 CD thicknesses (silver/recorded sides towards the sun) might be ok. (Care now!! Don't blame me if it's too bright for you!)

      But another
      • I just tried a glimpse with various CDs. I find that a single unlacquered CD thickness leaves too much brightness, but 2 CD thicknesses (silver/recorded sides towards the sun) might be ok. (Care now!! Don't blame me if it's too bright for you!)

        Congratulations, it's possible you've just done a great deal of damage to your eye. While CD's are (mostly) opaque to visible wavelengths, they're totally transparent to the infra-red. CD's, floppy disks and other media are not safe solar filters.

        Do not use mak

        • Personally, I'm going to avoid *any* method which involves looking directly at the sun, even if it is through glasses supposedly designed to make it safe. Instead, I've got an old bedside-table mirror, which I'm going to tape up, leaving only a tiny hole in the middle of it. Since my bedroom is quite long, I'll project an image from the pinhole mirror onto the opposite wall. Hopefully that'll work; I'm about 50% sure that it will. The mirror might not be flat enough, of course, but that's preferable to a CD
        • While CD's are (mostly) opaque to visible wavelengths, they're totally transparent to the infra-red.

          I think you are talking about the transparency of the plastics material. The useful absorbance is of course due to the metallized layer in the CD (or layers if more than one CD is used), no-one suggests that the plastics material in itself is a useful filter.

          • I think you are talking about the transparency of the plastics material. The useful absorbance is of course due to the metallized layer in the CD (or layers if more than one CD is used), no-one suggests that the plastics material in itself is a useful filter.

            Nope, this "CD's are safe to use as solar filters" rumour has been going round the houses since the started to appear. They're not safe, the "metallized layer" is mostly transparent to IR.

            Al.
            • Uh, can you provide a source for this? I'm more inclined to believe NASA than a random post on /., no offense...

              According to this [nasa.gov], CDs and Floppy disks both make safe filters. Optically crummy filters, yeah. But safe. Maybe because the document is specifically taylored to eclipses where the amount of sunlight is less?
  • by GraWil (571101) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:38PM (#9353936)
    It seems there is a Canadian atmospheric research satellite [uwaterloo.ca] that will also be making measurements of Venus. [uwaterloo.ca] They are using a infrared Fourier transform spectrometer and cameras with the hope of improving models for extra-solar transits (think finding ET).
  • Crater Naming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aardpig (622459) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:41PM (#9353952)

    Back when the Magellan mission [nasa.gov] was mapping the surface of Venus, I had a planetary geology friend who was involved in assigning names to features. I managed to persuade him to name a crater [usra.edu] after my girlfriend Marianne, as a birthday present to her. At the time I thought this gift was pretty cool; unlike star names, which are meaningless, this was an official designation, and furthermore Venus was the Planet O' Love.

    My mistake, however, was to forgetting that Venus is eternal, but love isn't. Every time I see Venus hanging in the evening sky, I realize I named that damn crater after the wrong woman. LOL!

    • My mistake, however, was to forgetting that Venus is eternal, but love isn't. Every time I see Venus hanging in the evening sky, I realize I named that damn crater after the wrong woman. LOL!

      At least you didn't get her name tattooed down your forearm where everyone would see it for the rest of your life and wonder who's name that is... especially after breaking up with her.

      Craters might be forever, but tattoos are the suxx0rz. Oh well. I hardly notice it anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Their servers are keepin it up good. They were prepared for the huge amount of attention from the mars landings so they have some amazing infrastructure.

    Thank god they didn't link to one of the 150,000kb RAW TIFFs. Nightmare for your connection and theirs =)
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:53PM (#9353991) Journal
    Ok, let's get a list of public viewings together.

    Here's a list of web casts. [skyandtelescope.com]

    Anyone else have information on live viewings?

    Thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    According to the post "- pictures are starting to come in". According to my calculations the transit doesn't start for 26 hours from now.
  • BBC Coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by amembleton (411990) <aembleton@bigfoot.REDHATcom minus distro> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:20PM (#9354091) Homepage
    The BBC and Open University have a nice section on this [open2.net]. Its worth looking at.
    You can calculate the distance [open2.net] of the earth from the sun.

    If you're in the UK, the BBC have some programs covering this on Tuesday. There's live coverage at 9.50AM on BBC1 and another program on at 12PM on BBC1. Theres a full hour program on BBC2 at 11.20PM. All presented by Adam Hart-Davis.
    • Re:BBC Coverage (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phlako66 (56726)
      There's also a nice site in New Zealand (even though we won't be able to see the Transit this time round) about the T of V and Cook's 'voyage of discovery' that took place partially funded by the Royal Society sending him to Tahiti to record the transit. http://transitofvenus.auckland.ac.nz/ [auckland.ac.nz]
  • by sakusha (441986) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:24PM (#9354104)
    ..pictures are starting to come in from the 2004 Venus Transit..

    The photographic record of a Venus transit is nothing surprising. What astonishes me is that photographs are coming in from an event that is going to happen 2 days in the future.
    • OK, checked my clock, make that 1 DAY in the future.
    • The transit from SOHOs point of view will merely be a transit across the solar corona. Since Venus is already visible in the Lasco C3 image [nasa.gov], the transit of the corona has essentially already started.
      • Um, NO. Venus is still very far away from the Sun. I'm looking at the blue Lasco3 image, in case you don't know how to read these images, the little white circle represents the position of the sun, not the flat blue circle. By my crude measurements off the screen, Venus is still about 5 solar diameters away from the beginning of the transit.

        A transit begins when Venus is observed passing the limb of the sun, not when it passes the corona.
        • I teach physics and astronomy at a university, and I know how to read the image. In case you weren't paying attention, SOHO won't see a transit across the solar disk. It will, however, see a transit across the solar corona, which extends well beyond 5 solar radii (why do you think Lasco C3 has such a wide field of view?). A transit occurs when an object crosses in front of a larger object, not limited to the disk of a star, planet, or moon. Did you hear about the transit of Titan across the Crab Nebula [harvard.edu]
          • Apparently there has been a sudden decline in the quality of university education in astronomy, if this is the sort of sloppy thinking that is pushed onto students today.

            No, transits do not start out in the corona. No, passing NEAR the sun is NOT a transit. FYI, SOHO has a wide field to track coronal mass ejections, which are propelled OUT of the corona, it has an opaque disk that obscures the sun and its corona because it would overwhelm the sensor.

  • by Talking Toaster (695539) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:50PM (#9354187)
    Here is the map of the transit for 2004. [nasa.gov]
    And here is the map of the transit for 2012. [nasa.gov]

    So while I won't get to see it this year unless I hop in my car and drive east for about 20 hours without rest, I will get to see it in 2012, unless I'm in Chille or Argentina, or something.

    The further north you are, the better your chances of seeing it.
    If you're in Antarctica you won't see it at all.
  • Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:36AM (#9354334) Journal
    West coast gets hosed again!

    We never get to see end-of-the-world omens here on the left coast!
  • by Sailor Coruscant (713289) on Monday June 07, 2004 @01:06AM (#9354413) Homepage
    There are a number of places in Sydney holding events for the transit. It seems that Sydney Observatory [sydneyobservatory.com.au] is booked out, though you can go along in the evening to watch various webcasts of the transit as it goes on in sunnier places.

    The event I'm involved with is the Macquarie University Observatory [mq.edu.au] event, which is taking place on the vacant lot at the intersection of Culloden and Talavera Roads, North Ryde (out behind the uni, not at the observatory).

    For a gold coin donation you'll be able to look through a telescope at Venus, see the video display from one of our ccd cameras, observe the sun through a variety of projection methods and also with eclipse shades. So, it's good value, and all proceeds go to building a new observatory and planetarium (as opposed to the Feed the Starvind Astronomers Foundation, which I think is a more noble cause).

    We'll be there from 3pm, see here [mq.edu.au] for more information.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The US Naval Observatory has 11 photographic plates from the last transit of venus in 1882. As well, there are photographs from the various expeditions it sent out to take measurements for the purpose of calculating the AU, the distance of earth from the sun. These can be found here [transitofvenus.org]. There's also more fun to be had [navy.mil].
  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday June 07, 2004 @02:16AM (#9354559) Journal
    Web page for University of Maryland, College Park, venus transit [umd.edu]

    "Witness the first Transit of Venus in 122 years
    Join the Department of Astronomy
    Tuesday, June 8
    from 5:30 - 7:30 AM
    5th Floor Balcony, Plant Sciences Building
    Park (free) on Level 3 in the Regent's Drive Parking Garage (entrance on Stadium Dr.).
    Walk across the bridge (near section 3-4) in the southwestern corner of the garage.
    Enter the building and take the elevator (you will be on the 2nd floor) to the 5th floor.
    Walk out onto the balcony.
    In case of cloudy weather, join us in the Computer and Space Science Building (on Stadium Drive), in the Computer Lab, Room 1220. We will view the transit using the computers."

  • by Titanium Angel (557780) on Monday June 07, 2004 @05:55AM (#9354966)
    Just thought this might be an interesting thing to share with you:

    "There will be no other [transit of Venus] till the twenty-first century of our era has dawned upon the earth, and the June flowers are blooming in 2004. What will be the state of science when the next transit season arrives God only knows." - William Harkness, USNO, 1882
  • Why do we care? (Score:4, Informative)

    by goober (120298) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:44AM (#9355434)
    A dot on the sun? Big deal? YES! The transit of Venus was a very important event in the history of astronomy and science. Previous transits were used by clever astronomers to calculate one of the most important measurements in all of science: the Earth-Sun distance, or 1 AU. By observing the transit of Venus from two distant locations on Earth and comparing the measurements you can determine the parallax angle. With those angles and one side of the triangle measured, simple geometry gives you the Earth-Sun distance. Once you have that number you can do all kinds of fun things; like figure out the distances to the rest of the planets, or by using the Earth orbit diameter to calculate stellar parallax and the distances to nearby stars, and on and on from there. The Venus transit is a *very* significant event.
  • More Information (Score:4, Informative)

    by crashnbur (127738) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:29AM (#9355712)
    The Transit of Venus [transitofvenus.org] is a phenomena witnessed very seldomly -- in fact, next Tuesday's transit will be the first witnessable from Earth since 1882. (Google News [google.com] points to hundreds of stories.) The transit [nasa.gov] of a planet occurs when it passes between another and the sun, thus only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible from Earth. It will begin at 05:13 Universal Time, which is 9:13pm July 7 on the US West Coast (more info [nasa.gov]), and it will last several hours. NASA has a map that shows when and where it will be viewable [nasa.gov] (more maps here [dfconcepts.com]), some safety tips [nasa.gov] for properly viewing the sun, and a Sun-Earth Day 2004 web site [nasa.gov] with lots more, including where to find webcasts. This Transit of Venus FAQ [transitofvenus.org] should answer many of your questions, including why transits of Venus follow a regular pattern of recurrence at intervals of 8, 121.5, 8, and 105.5 years. FYI, The event won't be visible in North American sky until the sun rises, and by then it will be almost over. If you miss this one, you'll have one more chance at it on June 6, 2012, when the transit will be most visible the Pacific [rl.ac.uk].

    (I submitted this to Slashdot several days ago; I was rejected.)
  • "Aaahgh! My eyes! They have booby-trapped their Sun somehow!"
  • SciAm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:23AM (#9356094) Homepage Journal
    If you want more info, your library should have the May 2004 issue of Scientific American, which has an excellent article about previous transits. It's amazing to see how a single event provides a reference point for the passage of time and progress of society. Imagine what it will be like when the first of the pair of Venus transits comes in 2117. Maybe we'll be watching it from Mars as well...

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...