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The Transit of Venus

By 2 May 2012 16

6 June 2012

telescope

The Transit of Venus is a pretty exciting deal and going to be visible from Canberra between 08:16 and 14:44 on 6 June 2012.

The Astronomical Society of Australia has produced a fact sheet for your edification but most importantly don’t try and look at it directly!:

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16 Responses to The Transit of Venus
#1
arescarti425:02 pm, 02 May 12

“It is very dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or telescopes. Serious eye damage may result”

Sounds like a challenge to me.

#2
breda5:56 pm, 02 May 12

Thanks, and I wish you would run a regular feature on things to see in the Canberra skies. Maybe the local stargazers could provide input? There are lots of us amateur skywatchers out there who would enjoy a regular heads-up on what there is to see up above.

#3
bigfeet6:39 pm, 02 May 12

arescarti42 said :

“It is very dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or telescopes. Serious eye damage may result”

Sounds like a challenge to me.

I bet you $50 that I can stare at the sun for longer without blinking than you can.

#4
LSWCHP7:18 pm, 02 May 12

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t look at the sun without a telescope, so I find it astounding that people need to be told not to look at the sun with telescopes. It just seems blatantly obvious, like warning people that lying on railroad tracks will eventually result in being sliced into pieces by a train.

#5
arescarti427:19 pm, 02 May 12

bigfeet said :

arescarti42 said :

“It is very dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or telescopes. Serious eye damage may result”

Sounds like a challenge to me.

I bet you $50 that I can stare at the sun for longer without blinking than you can.

Are you blind? Because that would be a bit unfair.

#6
bigfeet7:42 pm, 02 May 12

arescarti42 said :

bigfeet said :

arescarti42 said :

“It is very dangerous to look directly at the sun, especially through binoculars or telescopes. Serious eye damage may result”

Sounds like a challenge to me.

I bet you $50 that I can stare at the sun for longer without blinking than you can.

Are you blind? Because that would be a bit unfair.

No… Just super competative!

But if I was blind…I bet you $50 I would be more blind than you could ever be.

#7
Gungahlin Al11:13 pm, 02 May 12

It really isn’t something to joke about. The intensified sunlight through a telescope will destroy your eyes in moments.

Much better to just order some of these for the princely sum of $4 each:
http://shop.iceinspace.com.au/shop/iceinspace-eclipse-glasses/
And you’ll have them for the full eclipse in November too.

There is also a risk of damaging the internals of your telescope too.

Far better to purchase some solar film, mount it properly, and really enjoy the event:
http://www.ozscopes.com.au/baader-astrosolar-safety-film.html

But another warning: people do dumb things around telescopes, and kids also bump things. If you do make a solar filter, you should securely tape it to your scope before use. It’s the only way to be certain a tragic accident won’t happen.

breda said :

Thanks, and I wish you would run a regular feature on things to see in the Canberra skies. Maybe the local stargazers could provide input? There are lots of us amateur skywatchers out there who would enjoy a regular heads-up on what there is to see up above.

Breda, I post a lot of astronomy information on my blog: http://alankerlin.blogspot.com
such as this: http://alankerlin.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/my-mega-grab-bag-of-astronomy-resources.html

Hope that helps.

And make sure you book August 6 as a day off so you can go out to Tidbinbilla for the Mars Curiosity landing. It will be during the daytime locally. There won’t be a specialised Tweetup like we attended for the launch day. But we’ve been talking with Glen Nagle and co from CSIRO, and it will be a pretty special day out there with live feeds as the signals come into Canberra first. But it will be a radio blackout zone, with all public announcements to be via NASA at JPL.

#8
Thumper8:31 am, 03 May 12

It’s amazing how many times rational, logical and well respected people mistake UFOs for Venus.

#9
Gungahlin Al9:36 am, 03 May 12

Thumper said :

It’s amazing how many times rational, logical and well respected people mistake UFOs for Venus.

Or Venus for UFOs perhaps? :-p

#10
Disinformation10:37 am, 03 May 12

LSWCHP said :

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t look at the sun without a telescope, so I find it astounding that people need to be told not to look at the sun with telescopes. It just seems blatantly obvious, like warning people that lying on railroad tracks will eventually result in being sliced into pieces by a train.

What I think is blatantly obvious, other people seem to regard as a theory to be tested.
Frankly, I’m in favour of removing all warning notices on everyday items so that natural selection can run unimpeded through the populace.

I’ve never had the chance to look at the Sun through a properly filtered telescope. Driving to work one morning with a layer of high fog along the Monaro, I noted that the Sun was dulled so much by the fog and edge tint on the windscreen that I could look at it. It was no brighter than a 40 watt frosted bulb. I could see three sunspots clearly on it. A few days later I found some photos online of exactly the same thing.

Time to check if the welding mask is at least a shade 14…

#11
Thumper10:59 am, 03 May 12

Gungahlin Al said :

Thumper said :

It’s amazing how many times rational, logical and well respected people mistake UFOs for Venus.

Or Venus for UFOs perhaps? :-p

Of course, you are right Al, but I thought I’d turn it around :)

#12
breda11:24 am, 03 May 12

Thanks Al.

#13
Gungahlin Al2:45 pm, 03 May 12

Disinformation said :

What I think is blatantly obvious, other people seem to regard as a theory to be tested.
Frankly, I’m in favour of removing all warning notices on everyday items so that natural selection can run unimpeded through the populace.

I’ve never had the chance to look at the Sun through a properly filtered telescope. Driving to work one morning with a layer of high fog along the Monaro, I noted that the Sun was dulled so much by the fog and edge tint on the windscreen that I could look at it. It was no brighter than a 40 watt frosted bulb. I could see three sunspots clearly on it. A few days later I found some photos online of exactly the same thing.

Time to check if the welding mask is at least a shade 14…

That would be a hypothesis to be tested, no? Given that a theory has already been tested repeatedly and shown to be correct. Like the theory of human-accelerated global warming. Or evolution. :-p

But yes, it is indeed concerning that we seem to be defeating the aforesaid theory of evolution by devised ever-more effective measures to ensure survival of the not fittest…

Back OT, I neglected to mention that if you get any of those eclipse glasses or the telescope filter, it’s easy to damage them, and even a pinprick scratch is dangerous when magnified through a scope. It’s really important to keep them carefully wrapped in something soft and to check them before use by holding them up to the sun but away from your face and looking for tell-tale light shining through.

And on things to see Breda, there ws a brilliant pass of the International Space Station this morning 6-7 minutes and very bright. A couple more coming up:

Date: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Time: 05:59 AM
Duration: 5 minutes
Maximum Elevation: 36°
Approach: 14° above WSW
Departure: 10° above NNE

Date: Sunday, May 06, 2012
Time: 05:08 AM
Duration: 3 minutes
Maximum Elevation: 79°
Approach: 79° above NE
Departure: 10° above NE

This second one should be OK for taking a time-lapse photo as the sky will still be dark-ish. But you’ll need to be shooting as it goes away from you to the west rather than as it comes towards as the eastern sky might be too light for a long exposure. There are some good night passes coming in about a week that will be better – like these ones.

To take these you need a wider angle lens rather than telephoto, a tripod and a cable release. Set the camera on bulb and aperture to very small so the picture doesn’t get overwhelmed with ambient light. In the shots above I included some landscape for a frame of reference, plus Mars and Regulus.

I’ll post about the night-time passes in a few days.

#14
SnapperJack4:47 pm, 03 May 12

Reminds me of when I was in Year 11 in 1976 and one weekend there was an eclipse of the sun. There were warnings not to look at it and to make a pin-hole camera by putting a hole in a sheet of paper, holding it up and looking at the image on the wall.

On Monday morning our science teacher told us that when it was over his kids said “The eclipse is over, can we look at the sun now?”

#15
hotwaterservice9:48 am, 08 May 12

“The Astronomical Society of Australia has produced a fact sheet for your edification but most importantly don’t try and look at it directly!:”

So I should use a mirror or a filter to look a the fact sheet?

#16
johnboy10:00 am, 08 May 12

context is everything.

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