Transit of Venus 2012

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What a Day it was yesterday and a big relief that now I don�t have to stay around for another 105 years to see the next Venus Transit. The weather gods were very kind to us in Victoria.

The final numbers are not in yet from all the observing sites, but from the preliminary reports it seems that from the public participation point of view we made up for the dismal Solar Eclipse we experienced on May 20.

In all respects yesterday�s event was worth putting in the memorable folder; great weather, great public participation and out of this world volunteers. Thanks to all the volunteers for making this ToV such a memorable event for everyone involved. We could not have asked for a better outcome.

Sid Sidhu, Public Viewing Event Organizer


Thanks to Sid (forever and always) for setting up all the volunteers at the various locations, making sure we all had solar glasses to hand out and trying to keep track of everyone. And may I add my thanks to all the volunteers and to the RASC members who set up telescopes in many different community places and showed the public one of the treats of the century. A great day, indeed.

Lauri Roche, President, RASC Victoria Centre


Observing Highlights by our members

Post-event coverage

bullet Sun shines on Victoria for transit of Venus - Times-Colonist newspaper, June 6, 2012
bullet Transit 2012 Results - observing and public outreach reports from various RASC Centres across Canada



Once In A Lifetime Space Spectacle
CTV Vancouver Island News, June 5, 2012


horizontal rule


A Transit of Venus (ToV) is one of the rarest astronomical events, where the planet Venus moves between our perspective here on Earth and the Sun, and so appears to "cross" the Sun.  This event will be visible from here in Victoria, BC, Canada from the start (3PM) to when the Sun sets (9PM) on June 5, 2012.  Since the ToV ends after the Sun sets , we don't get to see the whole event from Victoria. For those who wish to see the event from start to finish, travelling to Yellowknife, North West Territories in Canada or to Hawaii is suggested.

The last Transit of Venus occurred in 2004, and was not visible from the western part of North America.  If you don't make an effort to see this ToV in 2012, you will never see another one, since the next predicted ToV won't occur until a century from now in 2117!  Observers in Victoria have an opportunity to join an august group of scientific observers from past Transits of Venus, including: Jeremiah Horrocks and his friend William Crabtree, in England, who were the first to see a ToV in 1639; the great explorer Sir James Cook who sailed from England to Tahiti to observe the 1769 ToV; and Sir George Biddell's plans for the Hydrographer of the British Navy to observe the 1874 and 1882 ToVs in England.

Even Edmund Halley urges us all to observe the Transit of event he was prevented from observing personally, since none occurred during his lifetime. Of the visible Conjunction of Venus with the Sun - This sight, which is by far the noblest astronomy affords...

 - Edmund Halley (1691), on the transit of Venus


Members of the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada are urging everyone in Victoria and on Vancouver Island to take the time to observe this rare event - the last Transit of Venus to be observed in our lifetimes

We will be setting up observing stations at four locations in Greater Victoria:

bulletCattle Point on the Oak Bay waterfront
bulletAtop Mount Tolmie in Saanich
bulletThe Royal BC Museum's plaza in Victoria's Inner Harbour
bulletAdjacent to the Metchosin Municipal Hall

We welcome all members of the public to join us in the afternoon and evening of June 5, 2012.  We will supply solar-filtered glasses so you can visually observe the Transit of Venus safely, and will also have special solar telescopes and other solar observing gear setup for everyone's use during this special event.

Safety warning: do not look directly at the sun without using proper filters, and do not allow children to stare at the Sun.

How do we look at the Sun safely?

bulletRASC Victoria Centre will supply safety glasses and telescopes equipped with proper filters at our events
bulletBuild yourself a simple Projection Eclipse Viewer out of a cardboard box
bulletRead this: Observing Solar Eclipses Safely - same rules apply for observing the Transit of Venus


2004 Transit of Venus

How do I take photos of the Transit of Venus?

Using a point-and-shoot digital camera or even a fancy digital SLR camera with a telephoto lens is not recommended.  For starters, you probably don't have a proper solar filter for your camera, and even if you did, the Sun would appear pretty small, even if you could find it through your lens.  Venus crossing the Sun would appear even smaller!  The best idea is to come to Victoria Centre's public ToV observing event, and ask one of our volunteers with a telescope if you can hold your camera up to the eyepiece of their telescope.  That way you have a pretty good chance of taking a photo of the ToV which you will be proud of. If you are not attending our ToV event, perhaps building a Projection Eclipse Viewer and taking a photo of the projected image of the Sun will work for you.



bulletTransit of Venus 2012 - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
bullet NASA - 2012 Transit of Venus
bullet Transit of Venus 2012 Overview pamphlet - 1.2Mb pdf - download and print, then stick it on your fridge so you don't forget!
bullet Transit of Venus- June 5-6, 2012 - Sky & Telescope magazine
bullet Everything you need to know about next week�s Transit of Venus -  - Bad Astronomy - Discover Magazine
bulletTransit of Venus smartphone apps - Apple App Store & Android App Store

Pre-event press coverage

bullet Viewing points organized to watch transit of Venus - Times-Colonist newspaper, May 31, 2012
bullet Seeing a celestial yardstick - Victoria News, June 2, 2012
bullet Last chance to see Venus transit across sun - CBC News, June 1, 2012

Observing the transit online

bulletSLOOH SpaceCamera
bulletTransit of Venus 2012 & 2004 - Exploratorium
bullet Transit of Venus - Astronomers Without Borders
bullet NASA EDGE live Webcast @ Mauna Kea, Hawaii - live Venus transit webcasts


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Last updated: January 29, 2014

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