Transit of Venus 2012: The Movie

Were your skies not favourable for viewing?  Did you miss the live online coverage of the last transit of Venus until 2117?  Well, there’s a Flickr group.  Or you could take in the stunning views from Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.  Video from NasaExplorer.  [Credit: Data courtesy of NASA/SDO, HMI, and AIA science teams].  Enjoy!

On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event–the transit of Venus across the face of the sun.  This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years.  The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum.  The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light.  304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.

Adds You can also relive the experience via the Guardian’s informative, link-tastic, live-blog of the event.

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  • Greenflag

    Spare a thought for poor Captain Cook whose first voyage 1769 was to observe the Venusian transit . Also many other scientists from the rest of Europe were scattered around the world observing and making the calculations which led to humanity finally ‘discovering ‘ the size of the solar system in earthly terms and the distances from the Sun to the other planets and from each other .And all without the benefit of calculators or computers 🙂

    Captain Cook eventually came a cropper to the Hawaiins in some fracas/cultural misunderstanding . They only ate his heart! The rest was given an honourable ceremony, not that the white man recognized it as such. The heart-eating was a show of respect. His bones were saved as relics. If his mast hadn’t broken forcing him to return, he would’ve left as a godlike figure.

    Timing is everything in life and death and not just for the Venusian transit 😉

    For anyone interested further in this phenomenon Bill Bryson in his ‘Short History of nearly Everything’ does a half chapter or so on the scientists and explorers who were sent out to cover the Venus transit in 1769 and how the ‘adventure’ impacted some of their lives for good and bad. Some of them returned to their countries much later finding they had been presumed dead and their properties divvied up among relatives etc etc . No e-mail those times ye see.

  • Greenflag

    BTW -Many thanks Pete for the coverage as always.

  • Greenflag

    For anyone with more interest the history and detail from a scientist -about 45 mins's-time-by-dr-duncan-steel.asx