Photo of the Month
Transit of Venus

On June 5th, 2012, the planet Venus will pass across the face of the Sun


On June 5th, 2012, the planet Venus will pass across the face of the Sun. This celestial phenomenon will not occur for another 105 years — for most of us, Tuesday will be our last opportunity to witness this spectacular event.

In preparation for the transit, this 8” refractor telescope — which is permanently mounted in the observatory atop the McLennan Physical Labs building at the University of Toronto — was used to capture the eclipse of the Sun on May 20, 2012.

A screencapture from the test recording can be found below. This particular screenshot shows a jet landing at Pearson International – click here to view the full video of the solar eclipse.

Courtesy of Michael Williams

The process for taking images is quite simple — remove the eye piece and replace it with a Canon T2i digital camera. For solar observing, special solar filters on the telescope only allow one millionth of the light that hits the front of the telescope through.

The same 8″ refractor telescope will be used to stream live video during the special transit-viewing event at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre stadium on June 5th.

Why is the transit of Venus so special?

It’s right next door and can be seen with the naked eye if certain precautions are taken, such as wearing special “transit glasses” that prevent eye damage from staring directly into the Sun.

Oh, and the next one won’t be happening until 2117.

In this case, no amount of appeal to celestial powers will make this rare phenomenon appear once again in your lifetime.

Register for the University of Toronto Varsity Centre event for the transit of Venus at universe.utoronto.ca/special/transit2012

Featured photos: Courtesy of Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics


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