May 2012: BAS prepares for the Transit of Venus

Posted by Chris Lee (chrislee) on Jan 27 2013
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Members of Bristol Astronomical Society (BAS) are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather on the morning of the 6th June as they prepare to observe one of the rarest events in astronomy – the passage of Venus as a small black dot across the face of the Sun. Bristolians will see this occur at sunrise and it will be the last opportunity to view this event for over a hundred years.

Prior to the last such crossing (or “transit”) on 8 June 2004, no living person had seen a Transit of Venus (the previous occasion was on 6 December 1882). The next will take place on the morning of 6th June, but only the final stages will be visible from the UK. The next transit of Venus after that will not take place until 2117, so 2012 will be the last chance in most people's lifetimes to see this celestial event. Viewing from Bristol will require an early start to the day as it will only be possible to see the last part of the transit as the sun rises. This will last 37 minutes until Venus completes its crossing of the solar disk.

John Meacham, Director of Observations at BAS stated “Members of our Society are looking to find a good view of the rising Sun on the morning of 6th June and keeping our fingers crossed for good weather. Ideally a clear horizon towards the North East is needed. We plan to gather at a suitable location with specially adapted telescopes at around 5.00 am.

Members of the public interested in sharing our vigil can contact us via our website at”. Anyone thinking of viewing this event themselves must take special precautions. Only ever look at the Sun through specially filtered binoculars or telescopes or, better still, look at a projected image of the Sun’s disk from a telescope on to a piece of card.

Last changed: Oct 16 2013 at 10:35 PM