Now under way: Transit of Venus across face of the Sun

Q: Can I put 10 pairs of sunglasses together to view the sun? A: Not unless you are currently not blind, but wish to become so.

A better bet: watch the Griffith Observatory webcast (thanks, Andrea James!)

Photo: The transit of Venus from Denver, Colorado, USA, 2012 © by Jerry Knaus


  1. Check out

    They’ve got live feeds from around the world and live google+ commentary with experts.  

  2. what an amazing sight!  
      I was just able to see it here in Richmond .. luckily the clouds parted a few hours before sunset… the local Astronomical Society folks all set up their telescopes in front of the Science Museum. It’s turned into total astrono-mania in the past hour.. people are really flocking to line up and get a glimpse… probably 2-300 people out there and at least a dozen fancy telescopes…

  3. We got a window in the clouds just long enough to see most of it.  I improvised a camera setup and got about 230 pix.  Of which I’ll use maybe twelve.  Incredible sight.

  4. Check it

    I thought I’d be clouded out but got a mostly clear view before it dropped below tree line, here’s my clearest shot (and I guess those are sunspots not dust in the telescope because they’re visible on the streams). I used a small, cheesy telescope to project an image on to some cardboard. My DSLR is in that picture behind the telescope but I didn’t take any pictures with it because I looked on twitter and saw that image I linked at the top of my comment. No point in taking my own high-quality photos (which I don’t have the set up for anyway), so I just took some camera phone photos to prove I watched it in person :)

    The Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory that took that photo I linked at the top of my comment has some amazing stuff on their site:

    I had a usable filter (homemade from a welding filter and fully-exposed B&W film) but couldn’t see venus against the sun with the unmagnified filtered eye. Some neighbors were watching with purchased filters and they seemed to be claiming they could see it, but I’m not sure. Anyone able to see it using just a filter without magnification?

    1.  Yep, we are using filters from the Institute for Astronomy and #14 or #12 welding glass, and are seeing Venus pretty well, and even a couple of sunspots.  A friend is getting some really good pictures too!

    1. That’s pretty much what I did but with smaller optics.  I was surprised to be able to see those sunspots.  Had I been thinking at all I’d have remembered I have a ground glass screen and a shroud that would have made a better image.  But it was cloudy most of the day here and we just got an opening around 7:00 pm.

  5. I just watched it for 30 minutes with sunglasses  on, was really awesome… not necessary to have a telescope or binoculars… if you dont have one you can still see it!  Sun was about 30-35 degrees above the horizon.  Once it turns yellow/orange before sunset you can look at the sun without sunglasses with no danger to your eyes.

    1. You can also set yourself on fire without getting burned. It’s a fact!

      1. “Light a man on fire and he’ll be warm for a day.  Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

      2. Definitely! I’ve lit my hand up for fun a couple times! Always with another person as spotter, though, of course.

        This is not sarcasm. I have actually lit my hand on fire. More than once. For fun. Without harm.

        (For the curious, I put rubbing alcohol on my hand, partially dried it, then ran a lighter under it. A couple seconds later, I shook it fiercely to put out the fire. Always, ALWAYS have a spotter who can take you to the hospital in case of accident.)

        1. A friend of mine in high school used to do this and wake up his brother in the middle of the night by waving the flaming hand near his face. 

  6. We have a pair of Coronado Binomite 10×20 solar binoculars —bought in time for the last transit of venus— and had a great view from the UK back then. This time we’re in New Zealand and only managed a quick 30 second view so far, during a gap in the clouds. We are under a large storm system and that’s putting a damper on viewing.

    You can use a normal pair of binoculars to view without risk to your eyes — just project the image onto a piece of white card. But anything that involves looking directly at the sun without a proper filter is just stupid. 

  7. I’m watching the live feed from Griffith and listening to some kooky jazz from about 1930. The effect is like being in a Flash Gordon episode.

  8. Here in Atlanta, it was cloudy all day but cleared up just before 6pm.   I was able to view it pretty well with my #14 filter welder’s glass from 6:30pm until just before 8pm (at which point a cloud rolled over the Sun, but, it was pretty much in the treeline anyway, 45 minutes from sunset).   

    so, the 1769 transit of Venus, I’ve seen quite a bit about this on the web (The one where scientists all around the world coordinated, Captain Cook was in Tahiti, etc.).  where they really got some decent measurements to determine the distances between Earth, Sun, Venus, etc.   But…how did they keep from frying their eyeballs?   I’m pretty sure they didn’t have #14 filter welder’s glass, or the mylar glasses.

    1. Projection… It’s fairly easy to do; same way they observed eclipses…

      And I’m sure quite a few people fried their eyeballs, too!

  9. Shot at Birla Planetarium, Chennai, a while ago…

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