Last chance this century!
June 1, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Missed the transit of Venus in 2004? Want to know if you'll be able to see the transit on June 5/6 from your location? Want a free badge-of-geekhood app for your iPhone? It's all right here!

The last transit of Venus in this century will be visible, at least in part, from much of the world. Find out what you'll be able to see from your location using this calculator.

If social networking is your cup of tea, get the free iPhone app for submitting your observations of time of contact.

Photography buffs might enjoy this guide to solar imaging with a digital camera. Even if you miss the transit, you can catch some sunspots.

If you want to check out the transit with your own personal eyeballs, you can buy these stylin' solar viewing glasses from partner organization Astronomers Without Borders. Only $3 for the nerdiest shades you'll ever rock! Note: don't try to walk down the street wearing these babies - they're all but opaque. Bumping into stuff isn't good for your image.

(Previously, but that's history now and the rest of the transit site, which was not explored in that thread, is of current interest.)
posted by Quietgal (27 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Also on Android.
posted by Edogy at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2012

I made my wife a mix CD at the time called "Transit of Venus" with a photo of the transit on the cover. In the interim she started homeschooling our kids and teaching science, and now that it's come back around she has post-transit-of-venus shame for not thinking it was cool then. It's a milestone of her slow transformation into a geek, one 8 year cycle at a time.
posted by carlodio at 9:02 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

posted by halatukit at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2012

I'd rather not risk Jesse Ventura pulling into my garage while I'm trying to work on my screenplay, thankyouverymuch.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:27 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Recently, although personally I support multiple threads on the transit of venus.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:27 AM on June 1, 2012

I bought eclipse glasses for the May 20 eclipse and was foiled by clouds (even though we drove east of the Cascades!) The weather report doesn't look so hot for the Transit of Venus either! argh.

Thankfully, I've already marked the August 2017 eclipse on my calendar, and a date 9 months in advance so I can make a campsite reservation in a place where it's cloudless! I just hope I'll be able to find my eclipse glasses on that date!
posted by vespabelle at 9:32 AM on June 1, 2012

If you're in Toronto, you can go to Varsity Stadium for a public viewing of the Transit using fancy-pants astronomical equipment. Bring the kids! They'll remember you in 2117.
posted by pharaohmagnetic at 9:34 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let's see. The forecast for the Bay Area is sunny and warm, and since that means the Central Valley is going to heat up like a mofo, *that* means it will be foggy by Monday or Tuesday, at least in SF. Bet you a dollar.
posted by rtha at 9:37 AM on June 1, 2012

Looks like it's going to be cloudy in the UK :(
posted by pharm at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2012

Also previously by some guy I don't know.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:59 AM on June 1, 2012

I'm going to see if I can calculate the Astronomical unit old school style with diaspora of my old college dorm.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:08 AM on June 1, 2012

I've put a fake meeting in my calendar to block out the afternoon, hoping to make it to the East Bay to escape the SF fog. If it stays sunny in town we'll likely reuse our welders glass to see what we can.

This weekend is a test with my binoculars with filter to see if we can get a good sized projection going.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:28 AM on June 1, 2012

You should probably point out that the solar glasses come in minimum orders of 50.
posted by dhartung at 11:19 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops, dhartung, I missed that. Sorry, everyone!

Anybody in San Francisco who wants to borrow my pair (souvenir of the partial solar eclipse party at the Exploratorium in May), just let me know. Although it sounds like the little black dot of Venus will be at the limit of most people's visual resolution, so you're better off with fancier equipment. No points for style, though.
posted by Quietgal at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2012

I am doing this with my belovedly geeky friend. If it is cloudy he will be as disappointed as I will be if Prometheus sucks.
posted by angrycat at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2012

According to wiki a #14 welding glass can be used to look at the sun. I think I'm going to pick one up for my shield. They're not terribly expensive and widely available anywhere welding stuff is sold.
posted by glip at 6:50 PM on June 1, 2012

Most welding shields are only #12 which isn't good enough.
posted by glip at 6:50 PM on June 1, 2012

What a great site; thank you for linking it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:36 PM on June 1, 2012

NASA has webcasts.
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:07 AM on June 5, 2012


The clouds got just light enough for me to aim the scope and see the sun (you might be surprised what you can see through clouds). Unfortunately, the clouds got heavier and more importantly, rain started, so I had to bring everything back in.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:23 PM on June 5, 2012

I took my binos and a sheet of paper outside a little bit ago and projected a wobbly image of the sun onto the paper and I SAW IT. It was pretty awesome.
posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on June 5, 2012

The livestream from NASA has some great running commentary.

If you're in San Francisco, twitter tells me that there are also people at 19th and Dolores with viewing equipment.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:59 PM on June 5, 2012

I saw it too, through my dorky eclipse-viewing glasses. Without any magnification the tiny little dot of Venus is just about at the limit of visibility, at least for my aging eyes (and the optical quality of the glasses is probably not so great), but if you know where to look on the solar disk you can see it without fancy equipment.

rtha, I want that dollar now!
posted by Quietgal at 5:49 PM on June 5, 2012

Got it.
posted by notsnot at 6:15 PM on June 5, 2012

Very nice, notsnot! Desktop wallpaper with bragging rights!
posted by Quietgal at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2012

I am so happy to be wrong! Will buy you a drink at the next meetup!
posted by rtha at 7:56 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Had an amazing view of the transit from the Lawrence Berkeley lab telescope. Also reading Chasing Venus at the moment so I've been nerding out all day.

Ok fine, I do that every day for work but today I was nerding about another field of science!

posted by special-k at 11:05 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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