The Transit of Venus!

Several weeks ago I noticed one of our neighbours outside in his driveway, with strange apparatus and pieces of cardboard. My curiosity got the best of me and so I walked over with the kids to find out what he was doing. During discussion with him we learned that he was tweaking some viewing instruments in order to give a talk and a viewing presentation on the “transit of Venus”. This was the first time I had ever heard tell of such an event. Definitely handy to have a retired physics prof nearby, I learned.

He started out by making a pin-hole camera type of viewer, but he wanted to project a larger image of the sun onto a screen. On sunny days when we saw him out, we went over to see how he had progressed with his ideas. We enjoyed seeing images of the sun on his garage wall, and then in a cardboard box. The day of the solar flare we went over and we were able to see the shadow of the solar flare on the image of the sun! He had it projected through a telescope in which he had replaced the lens near the eyepiece in order to project the image out.

Well, today was the big day! We enjoyed a trip downtown to the Museum to hear our neighbour speak. It was quite a celebratory community atmosphere with people of all ages and stages present. There was a projected image of the transit of Venus inside the museum on a screen from the university’s observatory. Outside, Dr. Hunt had set up a telescope and projected the telescope image onto a piece of cardboard for us to view. Someone had brought a piece of welding glass that you could hold up to your eye and see the sun (which looked green, by the way). The weather report had been a bit iffy, promising clouds and possible rain, but it turned out to be magnificent weather for this once-in-a-lifetime event! We celebrated by going out for ice cream afterwards!

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Transit of Venus


  1. Bethany said,

    June 6, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Cool! What an educational experience!

  2. godmadeknown said,

    October 17, 2012 at 1:14 am

    My boys had a blast watching the transit from here in Hawaii. Wish we could have had a physics prof on hand to explain it all!

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