Venus Transit LIVE

By Phil Plait | June 5, 2012 3:19 pm

The last Venus Transit for 105 years is happening in a few minutes as I write this — it goes from roughly 22:00 June 5 to 05:00 June 6 UTC (check your local listings).

Fraser Cain, Nicole Gugliucci, Pamela Gay, and I are hosting a live video chat of the transit with many amateur astronomers across the world! I am embedding it below:

If you want to participate in the chat room, you need to 1) be signed up for Google+, b) circle Fraser Cain, and γ) go to the live video chat post.

[UPDATE (21:55 UTC): First view of Venus silhouetted against the Sun’s corona are coming in!

This shot is in the far-ultraviolet, where the Sun’s thin atmosphere, called the corona, glows. You can see the Sun on the right, and Venus — which is dark in the UV — is the dark circle on the left. Amazing. Credit: NASA/SDO]

For more info, you can read my lengthy post with a ton of info, or watch my interview with Cara Santa Maria on the Huffington Post. I also have a nifty video made up of images taken of the 1882 transit, too!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff
MORE ABOUT: Google+, Venus transit

Comments (43)

  1. tmac57

    As I was walking my dog this morning (9am Dallas time), I saw a young boy,maybe 7 or 8 years old hastily drag a telescope out on to his front walk,and point it directly at the sun (yikes!!!) I quickly walked back down to where he was,and asked him what he was doing,and told him that what he was doing was very dangerous,and that looking at the sun through a telescope or binoculars,or even just with his eyes could blind him. He was quite shy,and said that all he could see was black (possibly a lens protector? Lucky for him) .Anyway,he said he was looking for the Venus transit (maybe saw it on the news?),which made me happy that he was interested,but mortified that no one had gotten through to him to not look directly at the sun.

  2. I was kind of hoping that it would be a little cooler today in Phoenix AZ. :( Darn it Venus! Why couldn’t you be a little bigger? or a little closer?

  3. Cairnos

    Step one: find the sun – Dammit!

    Well at least I didn’t spend ages travelling like all those poor chaps for the last couple.

  4. Chris Gay

    This is fascinating to watch. Thanks for setting up this star party.

    Chris Gay
    New York City

  5. bri

    Thank you for the LIVE view!!

  6. Venus dances across the sun for my birthday, but Earth gives me clouds… Thanks for the hangout.

  7. Tribeca Mike

    This is fun! Thanks very much. Hopefully, in 2117 it will happen at night.

  8. Charlie Foxtrot

    I’ve taken my 8″ Dobby to the kid’s primary school. Already had the year 5 and 6 kids through, tjeyre really interested. Good kids here.
    Scored a perfect Melbourne winter day too, unbelievably lucky with that!

  9. Zyggy

    Horribly overcast here in Salt Lake City, but watching your webcast of it, and on NASA’s page.


  10. Joseph J Marcus

    “Can’t stop the signal.”


    This cast has made the end of this work day bearable. Bravo. I can't wait for the next one and will hopefully contribute sometime in the future.

  11. within a half hour we went from overcast (the same 50 miles around us) to about 20% clouds. Just in time for the start of the transit. Got video for the ingress, then switched to the DSLR to do some other shots.

    Here is the first (unedited) shot from my DSLR:

  12. Great job guys watching Live from the UK, off to view the transit in a few hours

  13. Matt B.

    I just saw it about 5 min ago when the clouds finally thinned enough. I used a very cheap 2.5x telescope with one pair of sunglasses and two perpendicular polaroid filters.

    @3 Larian: You are the third birthday I’ve heard mentioned today, but the other two were brought up in reference to Wisconsin’s recall election.

  14. Theo Lockefeer

    Great Show Phil and “all” watching it from Rotterdam the Netherlands (3 am)
    Greetings ! Happy Transit Day

  15. bad Jim

    I could see it just fine using only a filter. It’s a rare sunny June day in Southern California.

  16. Charlie Foxtrot

    …and here come the clouds… Dammit!
    Oh well, a good number of kids got to see it :)

  17. Woohoo!! Break in the clouds and an excellent view. Welder’s glass is better than I thought.

  18. I’ve got to say, I’m totally stunned by how cool the SDO images of the transit have been. It will be interesting to see if anything is published using the data.

  19. Daniel J. Andrews

    The local astronomy club set up telescopes down by the waterfront, plus they had eclipse goggles they handed out for free. Of course the sun was hiding behind clouds, but it did come out for a few minutes a few seconds at a time as it played peek-a-boo. I managed to see it through an 8 inch SC for about 5 seconds and I laughed happily like a school kid and promptly dragged the person behind me to the scope so they could see it before the sun disappeared again. After that, more thick black clouds moved in and that was it for the day. Hats off to local astronomy clubs!! They also had star charts and little flying toys for the youngsters.

  20. My wife and I attended the national science museum event for this and got some nice views through binos and telescopes, but it was crowded. Then we realized we could go do some real sciencey sort of stuff.

    So we went home and constructed a pinhole projector!

    I got these photos:!i=1888860287&k=qztGXCn

    Primitive, yes, but when you consider I’m using a couple of cardboard boxes and some lawn chairs, I think it’s pretty cool. We had a small crowd of neighbours who came to see it and brought their kids, so I got to explain how it works.

    Lots of fun!

  21. john

    sunrise in scotland 6 Jun 2012 04:35
    Difference Time Altitude Distance
    (106 km)
    6 Jun 2012 04:35 21:57 17h 21m 52s + 1m 51s 13:16 56.9° 151.807

  22. Dave

    I just got back from a relatively large star party in SE Michigan. I thought that we were going to be clouded out but the skies cleared just in time for first contact. WooHooo! Amazing. We had a bit of high level haze for part of the evening, but overall mother nature cooperated for once.

    Great fun was had by all until sunset.

  23. It is cloudy here, in Kentucky, but there were breaks, so I was able to view 2nd contact and some other views for about an hour through a pair 10 x 50s with home-made white light filters constructed from Baader Astro/Solar.

    Fun stuff! I was lucky enough to view the last part of the ’04 transit, and now, the first part of this one. This is one happy camper.

  24. EricJuve

    Well the sun is down here on the central coast of Oregon. We had a very good view today. Some clouds but a lot of clear viewing time. I set up my Orion 8″ dobsonion with a solar filter. I was able to let my coworkers see the transit when it first started at around 3:30. Then I took my telescope to another company and several people stopped by to view it in the parking lot. Then I took it to my neighborhood in Seal Rock and set up for several more hours with an audience of many children and adults. What a good day for astronomy outreach. They were universally astounded. I am sure that i made at least one more young scientist today. WOW

  25. VinceRN

    Got a good view for a few minutes around 1800, then again around 2000, the a nice five minutes leading up to a great sunset. Viewed with a Celestron 9×50 finder with a filer made from #14 welder’s glass and electrical tape (hand held), eclipse glasses, and just before sunset used an 80mm refractor to project it on a piece of paper.

    The viewing at 2000 was right as my daughter’s Taekwondo class was ending and we wound up having a brief public star party on the sidewalk downtown, it was kind of cool.

    Wish I had been able to make the hangout, I’m sure it was at least as good as the eclipse one, which was awesome.

  26. ollie

    over in England was disappointing, cloud cover blighted any chances of catching a glimpse of the Venus transit :(

  27. Derek

    These are the pictures I took from my high school with my band students. They thought it was cool, even if it was just a little dot!

    We were located at Bayfield High School in Bayfield, Colorado (near the four corners)

    First contact was at 16:06:34 Mountain Daylight, second contact at 16:23:25.

    I have a Celestron EQ80 (Refractor) telescope. Little. The camera is an Olympus Tough 6020, and I just held the thing up to the eyepiece. Of over 100 pics, these are the two dozen that showed anything good.

    I have a solar filter that made viewing safe through the telescope.

    The link is to my Facebook album where I put the best ones.

  28. Phil

    Up at 04:30 local time in Devon, UK and went to the top of our local hill, it was a beautiful dawn with pink and yellow clouds which we’d normally really appreciate but there was only a faint smudge of the sun through eclipse glasses. At least we got to see a sundog and have the memory of the ’04 transit. Birds were singing beautifully as well.

  29. Naomi

    Once in a lifetime thing.

    Amazing position in Australia, able to see the entire thing.

    Overcast the entire day.


  30. AliCali

    I did my first sidewalk astronomy. I put my 8″ reflector in front of my office building in Westwood, which is one of the few places in Los Angeles where people actually walk (it’s near UCLA). From first contact and for a little over three hours, many people came and looked, including those from my office. About half knew about Venus. A lot of people took pictures of both the telescope and of the Sun. There were some nice sunspots, but Venus was unmistakable. I’m glad I did that. It was a blast.

  31. bassmanpete

    Once in a lifetime thing.

    If you’re older than 8 make that twice in a lifetime.

  32. Charlie Foxtrot

    That went so well! Went from a beautiful clear morning to a very patchy afternoon, but still managed to get every class through to see at least a glimpse of the transit. The last class lucked out when a big cloud shifted just in time to catch the last moments.
    Lots of questions and lots of interest – great day! I can see why Phil made this his career.

  33. CR

    Had decent viewing weather here in Wisconsin, but I personally have no equipment nor ability today to get to someone who does, so this hangout was a great way to participate… thanks, Phil! Great views, and fun comments from the participants.
    My youngest child will only be 106 years old when the next Venus transit occurs! (Cheers, son… I hope it’s fun!)

  34. D.Rose

    “Fraser, that’s your knee.”


    We had fantabulous clouds here in Reno, Nevada, just like for the eclipse. We were double-robbed. Was able to catch a bit of the live feed, thank you all for doing this.

  35. Naomi

    @ bassmanpete,

    The 2004 transit was barely visible where I live. So yeah, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

  36. Now, of course, I realize that was not Venus, but a spaceship coming to take Ray Bradbury home.

    RIP, Crazy Ray.

  37. Matt B.

    Thanks to Nicole Minor for the Exploratorium link. I watched it for most of the time I wasn’t out viewing for real.

  38. kat wagner

    this lavender corona shot – it’s my absolute most favorite. thank you.


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