Transit of Venus as seen in California

My lovely wife is snapping photos already, as it has just started. Here’s a sample.

Canon 1D, ND400 filter, Hoya G filter, telephoto lens.

Via the WUWT Solar Page, here’s the image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory


87 thoughts on “Transit of Venus as seen in California

  1. Just got in from showing it to my 2 teenage sons. We stacked up welding lenses until you couldn’t see the sun and then removed them until we could start to see it! We’re in Chicago.
    Can’t wait for the total eclipse in 2017!!!

  2. It nearly makes me cry, its so beautiful. It gives a kind of family feeling – these brave little planets circling this giant mama. This is the first time I’ve given any thought to the scale.

  3. I got home just as clouds were clearing (had I known they would I would have left earlier). However, my wife and I had time to dash over to a field by the town offices and set up the scope. The view was neat as the Sun began to set behind some pine trees. No photos, I can fit an Olympus OM-1 to the scope, but Olympus never made a digital back for it….
    Watch it live at

  4. A bit of Boston “Sunshine” up here in the NE. Ah well. Glad you got some clear enough weather.

  5. It’s well under way here. There are several websites showing it.
    use the live stream from University of Queensland. Good clear day here in Brisbane.
    The schoolkids are all using pinhole cameras in the school grounds.
    (We did that for an eclipse of the sun when I was in primary school. The Sun had only just been invented in those far-off days.)
    There was supposed to be a stream from Alice, but Telstra stuffed it up. They damaged the cable.
    The show seems pretty popular, and yet they say they won’t do another for a hundred years or so. This seems just silly to me. Why not do “Transit II – The Return of Venus” in a year or so? Make a bit of money from the franchise before people forget.
    The transit of Venus is very important to us here in Aus. The official reason for Cook’s first voyage down here was to observe the transit. Once that was done, he opened his secret orders which said “Poke around down there. If you find anything, grab it before the blasted Froggies get there.”
    He did, and ended up on the East coast of Australia and claimed it. He landed near Botany Bay, which was convenient because it was just a bus ride to the center of Sydney,
    He also charted and claimed NZ, but no-one cares about that.
    And, of course, I’m playing Holst.

  6. Wonderful, and a good reminder as to why that ginormous burning ball has nothing to do with climate change.

  7. Went outside with my binoculars and a piece of white paper. It took me only a few seconds to project an image of the sun onto the paper. My wife saw it right away, “Hey, is that little spot Venus?” Pretty cool.

  8. It’s lower on the surface from my house in Colorado. I can almost feel it cancelling out the warming from CO2.

  9. The scientific and human back story of major expeditions to measure it. A Sousa to commemorate it and who knows what else. This is fascinating and if your interested in the history of science a great read.

  10. RoHa says:
    June 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm
    He also charted and claimed NZ, but no-one cares about that.
    and a Haka gets done just for you…

  11. Realizing that Venus is only slightly smaller than the Earth, and seeing it against our mighty very ordinary and uninteresting star, it makes you feel like an Adele song; kind of passionate but not important.

  12. @Luther Wu
    “and a Haka gets done just for you…”
    Well, what do the Kiwis expect? NZ is one of those countries which only exists so that the neighbour can make fun of it, just like Norway, Canada, Belgium, and Wales.

  13. Alack been low cloud here all day and will be tomorrow. So I shall have to view at secondhand as it were.
    Kindest Regards

  14. Thank you. Beautiful image, and useful links. According to an article in this morning’s Los Angeles Times, this transit is the second of the pair this century. The next one visible from this area will be in 2117. I set up my Wild T-2 so my family and I could watch and photograph the transit projected onto a white card – sunshot fashion. The little black spot slowly moving across the face of the sun puts everything into perspective.

  15. These days, I’m very rustic with a pinhole camera. Takes almost 2 m to resolve Venus, but I did. The sun hasn’t set, but it just went behind some cirrus, so I think we’re done here. Hope you continue to have better luck about 100 miles north of us, Anthony.

  16. Venus was a lot larger than I expected. I was expecting something like the composite pictures that compare the size of the planets to the size of the sun. I did not think about the orbit is 0.72 x Earths orbit so it looked 4x larger than the little dot I thought I would see. Seeing varied from indifferent to quite good at 32x here in MN.

  17. RoHa says:
    June 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm
    @Luther Wu
    “and a Haka gets done just for you…”
    Well, what do the Kiwis expect? NZ is one of those countries which only exists so that the neighbour can make fun of it, just like Norway, Canada, Belgium, and Wales.
    Someone’s making fun of Canadians, eh?
    The Gall of those Hoseurs!

  18. RoHa says:
    June 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm
    NZ is one of those countries which only exists so that…
    Oz is unique. It exists to make everything else look good.

  19. Bloody weather in Japan… stoopid Typhoon kicking cloud and Failure over me – there was one 10-minute window of opportunity where there was a gap in the cloud, and I tried taking some photo’s with my camera and a decent filter but to no avail… then by the time I got my telescope out and set up, the cloud closed in again – ces’t la vie!
    The consolation is that Keck Observatory is doing a splendid live webcast on Ustream.
    Also, great photos guys!

  20. Ferd: My fav Australia joke is from a bunch of Australian blokes.

    That’s the short version, but fun. It really encourages us potential tourists. So catchy!

  21. Smokey says:
    June 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm
    See Venus on this cool orrerry.

    Really impressive. Thanks for that.

  22. @ferd berple
    There is a continual stream of immigrants from NZ to Australia. The Kiwis say that this raises the average IQ of both countries.

  23. Wow! Fantastic pictures Mrs. Watts. This removes all doubts as to why is the most viewed science website. Well done.

  24. Well I started recording shots right at 1500 in Sunnyvale CA. Wasn’t supposed to start till 1503. Can’t say I could detect Venus before 1515, but when I first saw it, it was just a kink in the solar limb. I quit taking pictures at 1700, as a tree was going around the earth and going to block the sun.
    I was using a Nikon D3100, and the solar disk completely filled the narrow width of the DX format. I shot at 400 ASA, and 1/200th second exposures (some at 1/400, and 1/1000 (too dim)) Taken through 1400 mm Questar, whick normally would be f/16 but I was using a small 30 mm off axis chromium sun filter.
    I just sat the Questar down on the driveway, and didn’t even check the axis altitude, an pointing, and the sun stayed pretty much on screen for the whole 2 hours. Biggest problem was the brain dead Nikon D3100, which won’t stay in the so-called live view mode, for more than a few seconds.
    My pocket P&S Panasonic is infinitely smarter, and can operate in live view indefinitely. So I had to keep re-tripping the mirror each time to check image alignment.
    Got lots of sunspots as well as the planet. Don’t know if I got the focus right, but with the very small aperture f/47, there probably is too much diffraction.
    Don’t have any way to post the pictures. I’ll probably get some beter shots next time.

  25. How long can it be before some nutter claims to detect wayward CO2 gas blown off Venus and subsequently sucked into the Earth’s atmosphere?

  26. Kinda funny that all the “Science Sites” on the CAGW side are not mentioning a simple scientific curiosity of a planetary transit. NASA saw a good science moment even though we do not need to do the Halley geometry for distance anymore. Pettit was up in the ISS snapping shots.
    Although, it was interesting tripping over an opinion over at James’ Empty Blog… 😉

  27. Smokey says:
    June 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    Meet the newest member of the Team…
    …specializing in Solar physics.☺
    Looking forward to the usual suspects, who take issue with every one of your posts by default, defending this one.

    • You can order 20×30″ posters of the Transit of Venus in ultra high resolution here
      See also the WUWT sidebar.

  28. Congratulate your wife on the photos.
    @ferd berple
    Ignore RoHa, he’s probably an immigrant. We have a lot of trouble with those, especially red headed ones from Wales.
    For those who don’t follow, check out a photo of out lying, carbon taxing prime minister. If only she would transit.

  29. George E. Smith; says:
    June 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm
    “I’ll probably get some beter shots next time.”
    Undoubtedly. 😉

  30. Sometimes the best images of a sporting event are after the players leave the field, with expressions of joy or agony. Here, I drove 100 km to get a gap in the cloud, then found I had just missed the transit. However, this unique photo of the sun, just after Venus had departed, will be treasured for years. There will not be another photo of the Sun just after Venus had left, for over 100 years. That’s a rare event!

  31. Anthony, your wife took a mean shot for a Canon. (I’m a Nikon man). Do add my congratulations. She must have a higher guide number on her flash unit than I do. (insert smiley). I do hope that no cameras were harmed in the making of all these lovely contributions. Ol’ man sun is very bright indeed and success comes from expert advice on filters, as your wife appears to have had. BTW, my mirrorless camera uses a TV screen, not an optical viewfinder, so I can’t harm my eyes.

  32. I will remind everyone that the double transits of Venus across the sun were basis for the Mayan calender.
    2008. Now 2012.
    Too bad they ran out of the rock their printer (er, stone mason) was carving on. If the priests had just bothered to pay for a larger flat rock with more room for more dates …kind of like ordering some more pages at the end of your yearly planner, we would be looking for the “end of the world” in 2015, 2016, or several other Venusian transits instead of Dec 2012.

  33. On holiday in Venice got up at 06:10,
    I had worked out that the plaza our rented apartment overlooks, would have visibilty of the sun from the furthest corner about 90 minutes after sunrise here. I duly went down to said corner and waited for the sun to rise over the rooftops, which it did at 6:25 CET, I then snapped away with my Canon 500D with 75-300mm lens with ND 10 filter until egress started at 6:35. Cannot tell if photos are any good until we go home tomorrow and I can see them on the computer (typing this on my load). If any one of them is half as good as Mrs Watts excellent effort I will be delighted!

  34. Woke up at about 4.30am, checked the sky – cloudy.
    Back to bed.
    I did see the first of this pair of transits, on 8th June 2004.

  35. Utterly and compellingly beautiful! Thank you all for the images. The eyeball mark 1 lesson in scale is brutal. Hard to believe that the significance may be lost on the climate model makers and CAGW lemmings.

  36. Anthony. You are offering prints of the SDO images for sale ( or advertising the link to those prints ) Is there not a copyright issue there or we’d all be selling NASA’s images?
    For anyone Interested:
    If you would like your images & video of the transit to appear in Astronomy Now, please send to

  37. Smokey [June 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm] says:
    “Meet the newest member of the Team…
    specializing in Solar physics.”

    Wow. That is industrial strength stupid. And the author Chris Hill still might be over-qualified …

    I believe this one hour of extra sun is slowly evaporating all the moisture out of everything.
    Why can’t the Government get the CSIRO to do studies on this, or better still, get rid of daylight savings.

    Fine example of a modern slacker, the species of sheep that will accept the AGW hoax and is a safe vote for President dingle-Barry.

  38. Nice! Anthony, your wife is a dead shot with a camera; you should think about getting her a telescope. I hear the Hubble will be turning up on the secondhand market soon, we could have a whip-round to raise the cash …
    Alas, we had cloud at dawn. A sort of overhead version of the conditions which prompted the sign legendarily spotted at an English port years ago: “Fog in Channel. Continent cut off.”

  39. To all of you who shared your wonderful photographs I have one thing to say: YOU ARE FANTASTIC, Thank you for sharing! We got clouded out and didn’t get any breaks in the clouds.

  40. Used me binoculars and a sheet of white paper…. Yep. Thar she be, a mighty planet as a blurry black dot…

  41. Three pairs of sunglasses and a tinted window and I still had to wait until dusk to see it. I was looking forward to Anthony’s images, and he delivered yet again.

  42. Just got home from Glastonbury Tor. 3/4 hour of sighting between the clouds. Lucky x2 as I went expecting to find the two guys I shared the day, and their 2″ reflector, with in 2004 (didn’t show) but bumped into a 72 year old astronomer with massive binos and filters to match.
    Once in a lifetime…..

  43. Thanks for pictures. I seem to have lost my solar filter so I couldn’t check it out myself.

  44. Good shots. Mine are through an 8″ SCT and show the sun spots. Would upload if I knew how.

  45. So there I stood; southeast Iowa, 14F welding glass in hand, waiting for what appeared to be a break in the clouds after the rain moved through. Hasn’t rained much here lately . . . . so of course today we get some. Clouds never moved out.
    2117 did you say? Seems like an awful long time to wait. Maybe my grandchildren will see it? Great grandchildren?
    Oh well, at least people are good enough to post their great images.

  46. It was sunny all day here in Pensacola, FL with scattered clouds, right up until the very minute the transit was going to start. That’s when a large cloud bank from a storm front covered the sun, and I was certain I had lost the opportunity to see the transit with my own eyes. Later in the evening, just as the sun was setting, I noticed sunlight on the window blinds. I grabbed my welder’s glass, ran outside with my daughter, and managed to catch it just minutes before the sun sank behind the house at the end of the street. My neighbors probably wondered why I was doing a fist pump in the middle of my front yard.

  47. Thanks for the photographs. I had bino’s, white paper and camera to hand, and remembered to set the alarm for 0430…too bad it was cloudy! Rats!

  48. Reposting from the other Venus thread, since that thread was mostly about the atmosphere of Venus…:)
    Here’s a quickie, just after second contact. I managed not to perfect focus so its a little off, and it was also on the long path low through a bubbly earthian atmosphere. I never seem to get these when the sun is high in the sky. Oh well, “maybe next time”, he said. Not:) I got a few more shots off before the trees swallowed it. ETX90 and a 1000 Oaks filter into my ol’ Nikon 950… Same stuff I used 8 years ago…. eek! Didn’t have much time this year to set something more elaborate.

  49. My neighbors probably wondered why I was doing a fist pump in the middle of my front yard.
    Yeah me too, sitting on a stool under a black cloth to properly see the camera monitor. I remember having a conversation with somebody going by on the sidewalk suggesting I should “have fun”, under there… (!)

  50. We got good peeks (about 20 of us) from above the cricket ground in Waterloo Park using a 60x telescope with a solar filter carefully adapted to the front (with duct tape). The sun more than filled the view. Wonderful ‘seeing’ through a clear afternoon sky. Photography though the lens proved difficult but one of us got very nice pics putting the filter over a high end Nikon with serious zooming powers.
    It is hard to understand how Venus floats so beautifully in empty space. I like this universe. I think I’ll stay a while longer.
    Thanks everyone above for all the fantastic links!

  51. @Graeme No.3
    “Ignore RoHa, he’s probably an immigrant. We have a lot of trouble with those,”
    The Aborigines say the trouble started in 1788. The kangaroos say it started about 40,000 years earlier.

  52. Blade says:
    June 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

    It’s hard to tell what you most lack, humor or intelligence. The article and cite are ironic. Funny. Joking.

  53. Crispin in Waterloo says:
    June 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    It is hard to understand how Venus floats so beautifully in empty space.

    Slightly poetic, but utterly misconceived. Try “how Venus screams at high speed thru [empty, except for the solar wind, etc.] space, just fast enough to keep from falling to its doom like a marshmellow into a bonfire.”
    See? Accuracy can be poetic, too!

  54. Brian H [June 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm] says:
    “It’s hard to tell what you most lack, humor or intelligence. The article and cite are ironic. Funny. Joking. Duh.”

    Ummm, what? I was commenting on the news clipping Smokey provided. It looks like an op-ed from a local newspaper. My comment is that it was clearly written by an AGW believing Obama voter. See here …

    Smokey [June 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm] says:
    “Meet the newest member of the Team…
    specializing in Solar physics.”

    Brian, are you implying I scewed up? Explain please. Particularly about a lack of sense of humor.

  55. In South Africa we are on the edge of visibility, to optimise the view we drove 320km up north to the Saint Lucia Estuary on the KwaZulu-Natal coast… As the sun rose at 6:37 AM June 6th we managed to see Venus at its internal egress. It was amazing, you could actually see it without any filter… I took a picture with a simple digital camera (although it’s a bit blurred). By 6:49 it was gone. I will never forget it. I was lucky enough to see both the 2004 and 2012 transits and I am only 21.

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