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Timing The Transit of Venus 2012

Venus Transit June 2004

Time to Venus Transit December 10th 2117

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On June 5th, 2012 a celestial event of historical scientific importance will occur when the silhouette of the planet Venus crosses the face of the Sun as seen from the Earth. This will be only the second Venus transit in the electronic age and the last until 2117! In earlier times, astronomers used the transit of Venus to calculate the size of the Sun, the distance of Venus, and the distance between the Earth and the Sun, the astronomical unit (AU). By timing the exact moments that Venus entered and left the Sun's disk, from different places on Earth, it was possible, using parallax, to determine the distance of the Earth from the Sun. Astronomers could use the value of the AU as a baseline to find the distance to other objects in the solar system, and to the nearest stars. Although the importance of timing the Venus transit is not as great as it was in the past, the large number of observers for this event, the availability of video cameras and our precision gps time inserter all create the opportunity to make the most accurate observations in history.

GPSBOXSPRITE2-U


Images of the Venus transit 2004 from Nyrola Observatory, Finland

Observers at the Nyrola Observatory, Finland, used an earlier version of our precision gps time inserter to time the previous event in 2004.

Images of the Venus transit 2004 from Cyprus

Observers from the RASC Vancouver Centre successfully timed the 2004 transit of Venus from Cyprus using the earlier version of our precision gps time inserter.


Wherever you choose to observe the Venus transit, the GPS satellite system is the best way to obtain the precise UTC time reference and geographical location required for the accurate measurement of the event. The precision gps time inserter overlays the data from a gps receiver onto each frame of a video recording. Videotaping the transit with a precise UTC time reference on each frame of the video will be the most accurate way to time the event. For more details please see our
precision gps time inserter webpage.

The website below offers more detailed information about the Venus transit and its importance.
Transit of Venus

Lots of links to a wide variety of information relating to this and past transits.
HM Nautical Almanac Office: Transits of Venus
Caution: You may safely view the transit of Venus only if you use proper solar filters or a suitable indirect viewing technique. Do not stare at the sun without proper filters, even at sunrise or sunset, for irreparable eye damage may result.

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