The Venus Transit of June 5, 2012

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click to see panorama version (2369 x 991)

In the rare occurance known as a transit of Venus, the orbits of Earth and Venus bring them in direct alignment with the sun, making Venus appear as a small black dot moving slowly across the bright face of the sun. So infrequent is a transit of Venus that the next one will not occur until the year 2117! I photographed this transit from a location in Chandler where the sun aligned with the towers on Phoenix's South Mountain just before it set. In this telephoto image, the towers, Venus and Sun appear close together, but each are at radically different distances from the camera:

Below is another image of the transit, taken about two hours earlier in the afternoon, when the sun was higher in the sky. Notice the different relative location of Venus on the face of the sun, and notice that several sunspots are visible.

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Photo details:

Location: Chandler, Arizona
Date: June 5, 2012
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel XSi digital SLR
Focal length: 55-250 mm zoom lens at 250mm

Top photo
Composite of two images taken from same spot, one of the sun behind the towers (taken through a Thousand Oaks Type 2 solar filter) and one ten minutes later of the sky after the sun had set behind the ridge (taken without a filter).
Time: 7:24 p.m. MDT (sun), 7:34 p.m. MDT (sky)
Aperture: f/10 (sun), f/20 (sky)
ISO: 800 (sun), 400 (sky)
Exposure time: 1/60 second (sun), 1/400 second (sky)
Compositing and image processing in Adobe Photoshop

Bottom photo
Single exposure taken through a Thousand Oaks Type 2 solar filter.
Time: 5:19 p.m. MDT
Aperture: f/32
ISO: 800
Exposure time: 1/50 second
Image processing in Adobe Photoshop

A big thanks to Rick Scott for astronomical calculations, lending me his solar filter and helping with the image processing, and to Pam Scott for acting as my solar filter assistant! Click here to see Rick's photo taken from the same location.


Revised: June 9, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Joe Orman
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