How we nearly missed seeing the transit of Venus

June 6, 2012

I had, with my usual memory, completely forgotten the celestial event that I could go and see, and after D and I picked up KTB, we took her for a picnic dinner at Forest Park:

picnic dnr  fp 050612

I observed, at a distance, while feeding her, some strange equipment, and photographed it. D identified it from my full-zoom photo as a telescope:

telescope set up 050612 fp

This instantly reminded me about Venus transiting past the sun, and since KTB didn't seem very inclined to finish her dinner, D and I decided to go to the Planetarium, where we felt there would be telescopes set up: plntrm 050612 fp Alas, there were no telescopes there, but there was Mary Anne Moosmann, a science teacher from Rockwood, who had a pair of binoculars and two panes of dark-tinted glass used for welding masks. We took a grateful look through the binocs, and then I had the idea of getting a shot through the panes of glass. I started by not being able to focus at all: sun venus 1 050612 fp But then, managed to get the spot that was Venus (at about 2 o'clock): sun venus 2 050612 fp The sun had also broken free of the clouds by this time, and I was really thrilled to be able to get this shot on a non-DSLR camera! The sun was tinted green because of the welder's glass pieces. I tried other exposure settings, but they didn't work as well. The sun become lemony-limey: sun venus 3 050612 fp It was most helpful of Mary Anne to let me get these shots! Then we decided to go to the Spanish Pavilion, where Mary Anne reminded me the telescopes were set up. After parking the car, D also transited the sun: sun venus 3 050612 fp d and K 050612 fp We found several telescopes set up: telescope 050612 fp And joined one queue, and got our turn pretty soon: d and K telescope 050612 fp I found another gentleman had set up a Galaxy telescope and joined that queue, too: second tlscp man 050612 fp And instead of trying to get the image this time, I got the small image along with the viewfinder, too: view piece 2nd tlscp 050612 fp You can see the image of the sun if you look at the small orange ball in the dark area in the centre of the viewfinder. Meanwhile, I also saw Venus at work elsewhere...these two couldn't stop smiling at each other! venus at work fp 050612

D was on call and HAD a call, so we left the park, and the sunset:

car sundown 050612 fp

The sun slowly sank behind the trees, Venus and all…

sundown 050612 fp

Hope you enjoyed our near-miss solar system experience!