Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Transit of Venus: Where and How to watch the very rare event

The Transit of Venus will visible in Singapore tomorrow morning (6 June 2012) right after sunrise. A transit of Venus happens when the planet Venus (2nd from the Sun) passes directly between the Sun and the Earth. From the Earth, we see Venus as a small black dot moving across the sun's surface.

Transits of Venus are pretty rare. The last time one happened was back in June 2004. If you miss this one, you'll have to wait till December 2117 for the next transit.

Here are the timings for the Venus transit as visible from Singapore. The transit starts 6.13 am (all in Singapore time) but the sun hasn't risen yet for us in Singapore. Greatest transit is at 9.29 am. The transit will end at 12.49 pm.

For those of you want to view the Venus Transit, you can head down to the Singapore Science Centre Singapore Observatory tomorrow morning at 8:30 am. NUS Faculty of Science will be conducting its event at the NUS Multi-purpose Field. You can also head down to Bishan Park 2 near McDonald's and Galaxy Woodlands CC rooftop.

The Venus Transit can also be viewed live on the web. NASA and partners are streaming the transit live from various locations around the world! You can also watch the transit live on Slooth.

Please note that it is highly dangerous to view the Venus Transit without proper solar filters. Do not view through sunglasses. If you have a telescope or binoculars, use solar filters that cover the aperture of your equipment or you can also view the sun using the solar projection method.

Tomorrow will be my 2nd Venus Transit. FYI, I observed the sun today and there are currently several sunspots on its surface. It will be interesting to see Venus - which will look like one of the sunspots - moving slowly across the sun during the transit while the sunspots remain stationary.

My telescope (pictured above is the optical tube assembly and the sisha!) is all ready. I just finished cleaning and testing the optics and all the electronics, gears, etc attached to the telescope's equatorial mount. Everything is working fine. Let's hope for clear skies because the next time the transit of Venus occurs, none of us will be among the living.

UDDATE: Here's the path of Venus across the sun superimposed on the image of the sun taken on 5 June 2012 by Eric Allen. Take note that Venus will be moving north of the sunspots. (Thanks Sir Thomas)

UPDATE: Watch a video of the transit of Venus taken in white light and hydrogen alpha.

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