Transit of Venus viewed from Shotover

Whilst not perhaps as spectacular as comet Hale-Bopp, an event as rare as the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun could hardly be allowed to pass un-noticed by "Shotover Observatory". With more than a century to wait for the next chance to view a complete transit from Shotover, it was a now-or-never opportunity.

The transit took place on 8th June 2004 and the image shown here was photographed at 06:46 UT. (Note that this is an inverted image.)

The apparatus, shown on the left, was minimal. An inverted image of the sun was projected onto a white card, using 10x 25mm monocular. A cardboard shield (not shown) prevented direct sunlight reaching the card. The image was photographed using a Fuji Finepix 1300 digital camera, used in macro mode such that the image of the sun filled most of the frame. (The image shown here has been cropped and reduced in resolution to provide a small file size for this web page.)

Transits of Venus are very rare. They come in pairs separated by 8 years, followed by a gap of more than a century before the next pair. The last pair were in 1874 & 1882. On 6th June 2012 there will be the second transit of the current pair but only the final part will be visible in the UK, immediately following dawn. Then it will be 2117 before another complete transit of Venus is visible from this country.

(Update in 2012:   Cloud cover at dawn prevented any of the 2012 transit being visible at Shotover.)

Copyright © Alan Simpson 2004, 2012 Back to index. Last Updated 2012-06-11