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The tides of Venus

Last chance to see the transit of Venus

Update 5pm Tales of the Transit

So that’s it for another 105 years, I hope that even if the clouds didn’t part you saw it on some of the live web feeds Ian Musgrave was keeping us well informed on.

There’s been some great tales (some of woe) surrounding the transit. I really feel for all in Perth, where the clouds only parted briefly. Also those planing to watch a stream of the even from Centralian Middle School, Alice Springs; where a cable was cut by mistake..

When I got into work I found a few people gathered round a telescope, looking for a breaks in the cloud.

What do you call a gathering of scientists? Nicola Scarlett

A particularly ingenious adaption of the telescope there, with a funnel over the eyepiece with some tracing paper stretched over the end. This made for some great images.

A super image. Helen Brand

This wasn’t the only tale of genius adaptation. I heard of an Melbourne office worker (albeit with a PhD in optics) who angled one of his windows so that a reflection was bouncing between the outer and inner panes. Moving the inner pane enabled a image to be seen on the third bounce.

Lastly, one of my friends from undergraduate had perhaps the most spectacular trip, being sent to Spitsbergen to observe the transit for the European Space Agency (ESA). Emily, who’s a Space Science Editor for ESA recorded her experience on a live blog.

It’s been a super day, I really didn’t expect to be as excited as I was by it all. But seeing that first contact, and the small disk creep onto the sun was pretty magical. I’ll probably not make it to the next Venus transit in 2117, but thenext Mercury transit in five years time is firmly in my diary.

11 am Tranist in Progress

The transit of Venus! Helen Maynard-Casely

Wow, what an amazing morning. I can’t quite contain my joy at the clear skies here in Melbourne this morning. We haven’t seen the sun for three days but at the vital break of dawn on Venus transit day, a few fluffy clouds graced the horizon instead of a carpet of greyness.

So instead of dejectedly heading into work, my partner and I set up our telescope in front of the house, and projected the sun on to a hastily constructed white piece of paper taped to a bit of card.

We had a bit of a shaky start, after getting a fleeting glimpse of the first contact (when the small disk of Venus first crosses the giant disk of the sun) when one of the fluffy clouds floated in the way.

Worrying start, with a cloud floating across first contact. Helen Maynard-Casely

But luck was with us, and soon the cloud drifted off and allowed us to see the beginning of this historic event.

Phew, there it is! Helen Maynard-Casely

We had a lot of visitors, kids on their way to school and people out walking dogs. The most rewarding thing about showing them the transit, is the look on their faces when you explain this won’t happen again for 105 years.

Live streaming of the transit of Venus courtesy of the University of Queensland.
How to safely view the transit, but you need to be VERY careful near the eyepiece of this setup. Helen Maynard-Casely
A happy Helen! I’ve now seen the Transit of Venus in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Helen Maynard-Casely
Coming up to second contact, where the disk of Venus leaves the edge of the sun. Helen Maynard-Casely
A hint of the ‘black drop’ effect, which caused confusion of the timing for astronomers years ago. Helen Maynard-Casely
And off the disk! Ready to trundle it’s merry way across the sun. Helen Maynard-Casely

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