7:21 UPDATE: Haven’t taken more shots, will get back out soon, if clouds haven’t covered the Sun here yet.
-The Sun is the green spot above my eye. Technically Venus is also in this shot, but you can’t make out the little black pixel.
More photos to come.
The last chance for humans alive today to witness a transit of the planet Venus (directly from Earth), happens in a little over one hour from now. There are 7 hours after that to catch the event on the Internet or from other positions on the planet. What you need to know right now:
- Do not look at the Sun without professional viewing equipment. You can construct amateur equipment to look at projections of the sun only.
- A solar eclipse is a special transit of the Earth’s Moon passing in front of the Sun. The Transit of Venus is the same thing, except Venus is so much farther away from Earth, and will be dwarfed by the disc of the Sun in the distance. It should give you an idea of the comparable size Earth is to the Sun, given Venus’ roughly equivalent shape to Earth’s.
- I’ll be using binoculars to project an image of the sun onto a white sheet of paper. It’s windy, so I should tape that paper onto something rigid to keep it from flapping. If the clouds don’t clear up, I’ll be sad, but at least there’s the view from around the World using professional imaging on the Internet.
- You can construct a projector very quickly, just find a cardboard tube, cover one end with tin foil, prick the centre so it has a round, pin/period sized opening, and hold it up to a white screen where you’ll see an image of the Sun when it’s held at the right distance to focus it.
- Get more information on safe viewing
- The Black Drop is an apparition of a black connecting line that doesn’t exist, from the black venus disc to the blackness of space behind the Sun. A similar optical illusion can be seen by putting your finger and thumb very close together near your eye until it looks like they are touching, but you know they are not. The Black Drop makes it harder to visually tell when the Venus transit precisely begins and ends.
- If you have Android or iPhone, install 3D Sun which is a free app that turns your phone into a solar tricorder (with delayed readings from Solar Orbital Observatories)
4:09pm in Regina, the transit begins. It may be several minutes before you’ll be able to notice an image change in your projection.