June 2012: Venus Transit

Posted by Chris Lee (chrislee) on Apr 15 2013
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Bristolian astronomers pride themselves in observational tenacity that takes account of an uncooperative climate. We all know of meteor showers being watched elsewhere across the country but which are always elusive in our skies. The Venus Transit proved to be just such a tricky observation. Jane Clark Solar Image

A short summary of what Bristol might see, penned largely by John Meacham, caught the attention of BBC Radio Bristol and they invited BAS in to their Whiteladies Road station to describe the event the day before transit (5th June). To get a really decent view two of our members (Jane Clark and Mark Stuart) decided to head to better climes (Australia and Malta).

Those left behind in Bristol would see the last 30 mins of a 6 hour show at the crack of dawn, low down in the north east.

Meanwhile Terry Flower reported an excellent viewing site with clear North East horizons – his Model Aircraft landing strip at Marshfield

The start of the 2012 transit itself – not visible across Europe – was webcast live from West Coast USA. BAS members such as Fiona Lambert logged on to the internet at 11 pm and used tweets to enter into the spirit of the “virtual” observation. Others prepared for an early rise at 3.30 am and the hunt for clear horizons. Bristol was drizzly so early birds Chris Lee, Terry Flower and Allan McCarthy set out for Marshfield and set up scopes as they waited for a break in the grey dawn sky.

At one point they resorted to watching the webcasts of the event but the Sun began to gain in height and breached the cloud barrier at 5.19 am affording over 20 mins of the remaining transit.


Meanwhile the Bristol weather also improved and so allowed Bristol Mike Cowles to catch a glimpse just before 3rd contact.

Last changed: Oct 16 2013 at 10:36 PM