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Friday, June 21 2024 @ 12:44 pm EDT

Our Last Transit 'til 2117

SolarDon't throw away that solar filter yet, at least not until you have the opportunity to see the transit of Venus across the solar disc on June 5, 2012. This will be the last Venusian transit until 2117 on the calendar, so its fairly safe to say it will be the last one any of us has the opportunity to see.
This transit of Venus will begin at approximately 5:10 CDT, on June 5, 2012.

The previous transit of this sequence occured over the EuroAsian countries in 2004. Then, I was monitoring the transit via the world wide web from the Van Buren site of Coleman Observatory. It took most of the night to watch the tiny disc of Venus as it touched the solar disc, and progressed across the disc then left it a few hours later. This is a picture of that eclipse from a Swedish observatory where they employed an H-alpha (hydrogen-alpha) filter that gave the totally different view from this projected image I obtained with Stellarium, the FREE astronomy software available from stellarium.org for anyone to download and use.
I missed the start of this transit by several minutes. Setting up my scope and balancing it took longer than it should have, but I did start taking images by 5:30 pm.

This time, its the other side of the world that gets treated to this transit. There may be a narrow band of area on Earth running N-S that had glimpses of the 2004 AND the 2012 transits, but its essentially "our" turn this time, even though we'll only see the beginnings of the transit until roughly mid-transit as these last images show.
Using the zoom feature on my Canon PowerShot A10 got me this close-up of the sunspots and the "dot" of Venus.

. I broke down my rig early after some 20 images didn't get me any more than these three as far as a different look went. All in all it was fun, but sort of tedious looking essentially the same for the middle 2/3 of the event.
AND, AS THE SUN AND VENUS SLOWLY SET IN THE WEST....the 2012 transit of Venus comes to an end, at least for local folk like me.
Sure, this isn't a really big deal, for the person on the street...but for amateur astronomers who know of and can appreciate the rarity of this particular event, its the last one we have an opportunity to see for the remainder of our short lives. ENJOY!!!
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