31 May 2012

2012 June 6 2012 - Venus Transits the Sun.

The transit of Venus in June 2012 will be an opportunity to see one of the rarest astronomical events - weather permitting. No one alive today has seen a transit of Venus from New Zealand. The transit in June 2004 was visible from the other side of the Earth. Before that the previous transit was in December 1882, there were none in the 20th century. During the over 6 hours of the transit Venus will be visible (using suitable eye protection to cut down the Sun's glare) as an intensely black dot making its way across the face of the Sun. The 2012 transit will last for nearly six and a half hours as seen in New Zealand, so its motion across the Sun will be very slow. All stages of
the transit will be visible from New Zealand, although the final part, just before Venus moves off the Sun, will occur with the Sun very low. This part is only likely to be visible from places with a very low horizon to the west. The time of mid transit is just before 1.30 pm, so near the time the Sun is highest, but even so, being close to
mid-winter, the Sun will be rather low, especially from the south of the country.
Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealan.

If you are able to link up with your local astronomical society, it is likely they will have specially prepared equipment which will allow a larger image of the Sun to be viewed. Many have web sites; they are likely to publish their observing programmes on them.