OT - Last chance in your lifetime to watch Venus pass in front of the sun

Submitted by unWavering on June 5th, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Venus will pass in front of the sun today for the last time until 2117.  The last one occurred in 2004, and it's happening today around 6 pm EDT, lasting for around 6 hours and 40 minutes.  I just thought I would pass along this cool bit of info for those who are interested.

(Note:  Do not look directly at the sun without eclipse glasses or an equivalent form of protection, or it could result in permanent eye damage)




June 5th, 2012 at 10:33 AM ^

My corneas are at high enough risk from radiation exposure; will pass on developing cataracts tomorrow trying to stare at the sun to look at a black speck.

San Diego Mick

June 5th, 2012 at 8:13 PM ^

Well it is said that in the next couple of decades, science and medicine will figure out how to replicate bodily organs just from extracting DNA from our own body, hope it's true cause I'd love to be a bicentennial man and watch so much more U-M Football and other sports of course. Let's just hope the Mayans were way off!

My brother graduated from U-M in Physics and Astronomy and is my hero and idol, he's the oldest and I'm the baby of the family and he used to come home to visit from school and we would take out our 3" Telescope and view the sky and I learned so much from him, those are some of my favorite memories.

Interesting tidbits about Venus, it is the only Planet that rotates in the opposite direction from all the other Planets including dwarf ones, Pluto got a raw deal IMHO! It takes Venus longer to have a day than it does a year, 243 to 224 if I'm not mistaken. I live near the beach so I hope this damn June Gloom (marine layer that usually comes this time of year) dissapates. Anyway, Go Blue, Go Earth, Go Solar System........and Go Medicine!!!!


June 5th, 2012 at 10:39 AM ^

I figure with my income level and modern advances in medicine there is no reason why I cant live to be 200 or 220 years old. 


June 5th, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

Or use said craft to cruise around at nearly the speed of light in order to slow down time and find out how sexy the girls are in 2114.  Natural selection dictates they wont grow body hair and will maintain a tan, even in the dark.


June 5th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Thanks to a telescope and some appropriate eyepieces, I will attempt to get a view of this - I am even leaving work a little early so I can set up in the yard.

That being said, surely our glorious Space Emperor can make this ( or any celestial event) happen again sooner than 2117?


June 5th, 2012 at 11:00 AM ^

I'm very excited about this. Becoming an amateur astronomer is pretty simple; you just have gaze at night and care to be observant about it (thereby making amateur astronomy much like the amateur versions of geology or philosophy with hiking and careful thinking being their equally few requirements, respectively). Endeavoring to do even better, I bought a 127mm maksutov-cassegrain about six months ago and have been eagerly watching Venus make this approach ever since.

Crazy to think this happens so seldom. If I'm not mistaken, it would happen 5 times every 8 years if it weren't for a 3.4 degree inclination in Venus's orbital plane relative to Earth's. Don't believe it just because I said so, though. Read about it. I'm just an amateur doing zero more than that, enjoying whatever it is I'm doing.

Anyway: It won't happen next until 121.5 years from now. This is cool. I just need to find a welder's shield around here somewhere.


June 5th, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

Pfhh...Denard circles the sun every Saturday in the fall, it is the only known way to allow mere mortals to tackle him as if he were to only run to the endzone well, you heard of the big bang?


June 5th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

2117, huh?  And who came back from the future to bring us this news?  I find this very troubling because obviously the government is hidng the fact that we do possess the ability to time travel.  What's even more concerning is that the news from the future that they have decided to share is about astronomical events and not the good stuff like sports champs, what movie sequels will be made and will Axl Rose and Slash ever make that album they promised.

Some people just don't know how to properly utilize time travel...


June 5th, 2012 at 10:32 PM ^

I live in Algonac, MI and found myself eventually armed with partly cloudy skies, two naked eyes, one aged set of 50x binoculars, and that aforementioned 127mm Mak. In the end, I decided to forgo use of a telescope out of both fear of blind happenings and lack of readiness (I'll totally build this funnel device later, though, to safely view sunspots). Instead, I affixed a 4x5” fragment of welder’s shield to my binoculars' left lens. Doing this, I was able to get enough magnification to appreciate something called the "black drop effect," about which I just amateurly learned a bit about (thank you googles for bringing me to the wikis). 

This was my makeshift apparatus (the right lens was covered by paper, rendering it blind):

The result was resplendent before curvaceous. Sublime. Very cool. And utterly free (hey! I have enough greenbacks to swing that!, I thought). Too bad sunset had to bring my viewing to an end. The Americans in Alaska and Hawaii are dissimilarly lucky enough to see the whole transit.


June 5th, 2012 at 10:14 PM ^

Went out and saw this with my students tonight. We had thirty or forty people on our school's front lawn with eclipse shades and pinhole cameras. Awesome time, great way to wind down the school year. My daughter, who is two, ate like half a bag of cheese puffs while her parents were distracted. Thus endeth my cool story, bro.