Well the Sun has set on June 5th 2012 here in Des Moines, our view on the transit of Venus has passed.
This evening we loaded up the girls and my homemade sun viewer, and headed to the park for a picnic and transit viewing. What started out as a nice clear day ended with some fairly solid cloud cover.
Fortunately, just as we finished dinner, there was a good break in the clouds. We got a good several minutes of strong clear sunlight, perfect for focusing carefully through the viewer.
While we are not completely certain, we think that we were able to find the spot that is Venus as it crossed the disk of the Sun!
Hey all, in preparation for tomorrow evening’s Venus Transit event I decided to attempt to build a projection style solar viewer. Like the one here.
This afternoon, shortly after work, I ran a quick proof of concept test. It worked fairly well, I think I could see some sunspots.
So here goes, to start with you will need the following.
- some sort of stand (camera tripod here)
- cutting tool
- pen or pencil
From here the steps are really fairly simple:
- Cut a hole in a piece of cardboard to act as a sun screen
- Tape the binoculars to the stand
- Tape the sun screen to the binoculars
- View the Sun!
IMPORTANT! SAFETY TIP!
Do NOT Look Into The Binoculars!!!
Let me know if you build one or are able to see the transit!
Wow, this is a big week for viewable events in the sky. To lead off there is a partial lunar eclipse in the early hours of the morning (US CST), more info in the video.
However the bigger, and better timed event is the transit of Venus across the face of the sun, the last transit was in 2004 but the next one will not occur until December 2117.
Obviously just as with a solar eclipse you need to take care in observing the event, however you can see it with something as simple as two sheets of paper and a pin. Just take the pin, poke a small hole in one sheet and hold it between the other sheet and the sun. You should have the effect of a pinhole camera and be able to see the dot which is Venus as it passes across the face of the sun. Another design for a pinhole camera can be found here.
You can also view using a projection method as described here and here.
If your local weather conditions don’t permit direct observation, NASA will have a live webcast from the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
Science@NASA ScienceCasts on YouTube has a good video about it also.
UPDATE: I’ve constructed a binocular projection setup to view the transit, photos and instructions here.