Venus orbital plane

By Phil Plait | June 10, 2012 7:03 am

Local (to me) photographer Patrick Cullis was filming the Venus Transit last week from Colorado, and got a surprise:

Pretty cool. That’s part of a longer video he made of the transit that’s nice, too.

While I’m at it, he made a really pretty time lapse of the sky over Boulder, including footage of Venus and Jupiter setting over the Flatiron mountains; it’s well worth a moment of your time to watch. You can see the moons of Jupiter, too!

The Flatirons are huge slabs of rock hundreds of meters high that used to be seabed, but were pushed nearly vertical when the Rocky Mountains broke through. They make a stunning backdrop to these videos by Patrick, too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (17)

  1. podrock

    Small correction from the Geology Department:

    The Flatirons are made of the Fountain Formation, officially known as an arkosic conglomerate. It was deposited in alluvial fans shed by the ancestral Rocky Mountains and were terrestrial deposts. Now these fans did eventually meet the ocean, there are some tidal flat deposits between the fans, but that is uncommon in this formation.

    Just above the Fountain Formation is the younger Lyons Formation, a thick deposit of sandstone formed by very large sand dunes…also terrestrial.

    Nice vid, though. Oh, and thanks to the scientist who cleaned my sunglasses yesterday at your bake sale (and it was nice to say hello to you as well). Mrs P. and I will be posting our letters tommorrow.

  2. Trebuchet

    Was that Venus chasing the Pleiades below the horizon at about 1:40 of the second one? Very pretty!

  3. Mark Rupright

    I saw one, too. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera on it. I had just set up a sunspotter so the crowd could see. I was lining up an 8″ Dob w/mylar filter. As soon as I had it aimed and focused, a plane passed in front of the sun. It was a nice surprise.

    The collective “whoah” from the crowd watching in the sunspotter behind me was a nice reward for setting up the event.

  4. James Evans

    That’s one of the space planes L. Ron Hubbard told us about. Xenu was enjoying a view of the transit.

  5. kat wagner

    serendipity. a cool lesson for photographers who aim to catch a surprise in every photo.

  6. Crux Australis

    I just realised I didn’t even see Venus in Patrick’s first vid. I’ll just have to watch it again.

  7. Tara Li

    Venus, on a Jet Plane – we know just when it’ll be back again…

  8. Amaresh

    Could you please provide links for the video on another site as vimeo is blocked in my country.


  9. Derek

    A plane crossed the sun when I was taking pictures as well, but it was so fast, and the contrail disappeared after only a few seconds– all I got was a fuzzy line.

  10. Donnie B.
  11. JB of Brisbane

    I was goint to post,


    But Donnie B beat me to it. :-(

  12. Beau

    We had 2 airplane passes during our transit party in Dallas. Unfortunately, no one was able to get a picture of it.

    I also had an ant that made its way into my dob, and slowly crawled it’s way across the surface of the sun. That was pretty cool!

  13. Glad to know that some people actually saw the ToV…!!!

  14. OFF TOPIC: Dr. Plait, I hope the wildfires are not having a negative effect on you and your family. Stay safe!

  15. In response to two comments:

    2-Trebuchet – Yep, that was definitely the Pleiades chasing Venus. I missed the peak of conjunction the day before because of clouds, but one day after Venus made a nice “dot” on the question mark I sometimes see the asterism to be. I made a straight Venus conjunction vid where I labeled and dated all the conjunctions.

    8-Amaresh – They’re up on YouTube now. I’ve been having problems with the inability of google web search being unable to find Vimeo so I’m duplicating them on YouTube even though I prefer Vimeo.


  16. Is that real that Venus orbital the plane? Well, if that is true that was pretty cool that after a long time it passed through the earth. We will going to wait for another years to see it again. Glad to know that some people actually saw it.

    Books about Science Fiction


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