2012 Venus Transit

Today was my last day in Kansas City.

Today was also the extremely rare Venus transit of the Sun. I had been planning to find someplace in Kansas City to buy welders glass #14 so that I could take pictures, but it was hard to find a retail store. Instead, I found out that the localĀ Johnson County Community College was hosting a viewing party.

JCCC Venus transit party
JCCC Venus transit party

I invited everyone at the lab to come, but no one took me up on the offer. I left a little early hoping to beat the line-up. When I arrived and found my way into the building, I found that the line-up extended over 2 floors and was over an hour waiting time.

I spoke with one of the JCCC hosts, and they had only expected maybe 150 people. Instead, we calculated they might have about 2000 during the 5-hour transit.

I wish I had had something eat and read while I was waiting. I spoke a little with the others in the line.

When I finally reached the roof, there were two ways to view Venus. There was a hand-made viewing barrel with a solar filter that you hold up to your face. It was fascinating. I used it and hand-held my camera to get the shot below. The odd colour is from the reflections inside the barrel. You can even see some of the sunspots.

There were also three big telescopes set up with special solar filters. Two were sensitive to a particular hydrogen spectrum and one was sensitive to another spectrum. You could see different features using each telescope. It was so amazing to see such details on the disc of the Sun.

Venus (upper right) transit of the Sun
Venus (upper right) transit of the Sun

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