University Lowbrow Astronomers

Astronomy Pictures from the University Lowbrow Astronomers: The 2004 Transit of Venus

The 2004 Transit of Venus
by Chris Sarnecki

On rare occasions, Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. During the twenty-first century, it will happen twice, once in the year 2004, and once in the year 2012. Such events are called Venus Transits.

Chris Sarnecki wrote:

I’m writing this report days after the now famous Venus Transit of 2004. Like you, I am once again up to my lower lip in water and wondering how, given the record rainfall we received before and after June 8th, that we were so lucky to have had the weather we did. It must be my pre-observing ritual - don’t think about the weather on the day of the critical event, especially don’t talk about it (it’s a lot like throwing a perfect game), just show up and the weather gods will perform their part, and clear skies will prevail. Well the weather was just about perfect. I arrived at this little hill, no bigger than a two car garage, on top of a bigger hill at the Leslie Park north of Ann Arbor to find a number of Lowbrows already set up and observing. At least that’s what it looked like.

The Sun had just peaked over the tree tops and I thought, darn I shouldn’t have gotten that extra wink earlier that morning. Everyone was excitingly exclaiming they had just seen Venus naked eye, plainly visible on the disk of the Sun. The Sun was now starting to brighten, so looking naked eye at the Sun was out of the question. I was packing light today. So I whipped out a pair of solar glasses expecting to see Venus on the solar disk, but no deal. The Sun wasn’t quite bright enough for solar equipped scopes or folks to even find the Sun, let alone actually see it. This was not expected. Our observing task momentarily sidelined, Lowbrows are known to exhibit extensive socializing skills, which we did. Within a few minutes the Sun became faintly visible though the solar screens and it was back to the scopes.

This photograph wes taken by Chris at Leslie Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the last Venus Transit (the morning of June 8, 2004).

Venus Transit

Related Venus Transit 2004 Links


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