Blog: Venus Transit (2012-06-10)

Last week, on June 6th, a venus transit took place: At these rare astronomical events, the planet venus travels directly across the sun and is for some hours visible as dark spot on its surface. Such transits happen in pairs eight years apart, with more than a century between those pairs. In this case, one happened on June 8th, 2004, and the other as mentioned already on June 6th, 2012.

Here in Austria, the transit began during the night, and thus was visible only shortly after sunrise. More precisely, for Graz from 05:04 CEST until about 06:50. This may sound a little crazy, but I decided to watch the transit anyway—and in addition enjoy a nice sunrise. For the fun of it, I chose my observation point to be the Jungfernsprung near Burgruine Gösting, since I wasn't there before and thought this would be a very nice place for my observation.

I went to Gösting with my bicycle and then walked up to the viewpoint. It is a very exciting experience to be out so early in the morning especially in the summer, since it was already more light than dark at 04:30 but the town was completely empty and full of peace—I saw one other cyclist, some ten cars (most on a usually-busy road I crossed) and nobody else, despite my original impression that probably someone must have had the same idea. It was totally worth it in my opinion, because the sunrise was marvellous and I was also able to watch the transit from a spectacular place! Here I want to share some of the pictures I took, they are also geotagged and have all EXIF data in place (in particular exact time stamps). As you may have imagined, you can also find my GPS trace on OpenStreetMap.

First some photos I took in 2004 (note the progress in the development of digital cameras since then). They have their contrast enhanced digitally in order to see the transit better, and are taken at different times:

Venus Transit in 2004 at 09:30 CEST. Venus Transit in 2004 at 12:05 CEST. Venus Transit in 2004 at 12:45 CEST.

Now, before I come to the transit of 2012, here are some other nice pictures I took during the trip:

The setting moon next to Burgruine Gösting. Me at my observation point with Burgruine Gösting in the background (and facing opposite to the sunrise). Burgruine Gösting in the rising sun's light. The rocky peak of Jungfernsprung, the sun was already up.

The sunrise on Jungfernsprung. The sunrise on Jungfernsprung. The sunrise on Jungfernsprung. The sunrise on Jungfernsprung.

And finally some pictures of the transit, taken through filter glasses I fortunately still had from the total solar eclipse in 1999. They are taken at maximum optical zoom of my camera and at different times:

Venus Transit at 05:16 CEST. Venus Transit at 05:29 CEST. Venus Transit at 05:50 CEST. Venus Transit at 06:06 CEST. Venus Transit at 06:28 CEST.

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