Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Transit of Venus seen from New Zealand.

The transit of Venus photographed from the New Plymouth observatory, North Island, New Zealand.

As cold, cloudy scenes make murky some parts of New Zealand, others are finding clear skies where the transit of Venus can be viewed from.

The planet began to pass in front of the sun at 10.15am today Wednesday 06 June and continues to 4.43pm.

It is a rare astronomical event and won't be seen again until 2117.
In Wanaka, lanscape photographer Gilbert van Reenen has described the event as "exhilarating".
"It was quite uplifting really, just seeing it move across the surface of the sun.
"I called my wife and friends and they could see it as well. There were a few yahoos."
Van Reenen said there were clear skies in Wanaka this morning, but the clouds were now moving in.
"It's not going to last long. I can still see the transit through the cloud, which is quite amazing."
Skies have been clear in Auckland allowing astronomy researchers and the public to get a clear view of the transit.

Researchers from AUT set up a telescope in the courtyard of the Stardome Observatory at One Tree Hill so the public could get a glimpse of the solar event.
A camera was attached to the telescope so those unable to head down to the observatory could access a live feed of the event online.
Researcher Tim Natusch said the live feed would be replaced with one from Nasa, or other areas in the world that have a clear view of the transit, if cloud became a problem.
Natusch said two more telescopes would also be set up at the Auckland Domain this morning.
"We're hoping people will come along and get a good view of Venus," he said.

Photographs of the transit of Venus vary in composition depending on where and how they are taken.
In the Southern Hemisphere Venus appears to cross the Sun starting from the bottom right.
In the Northern Hemisphere Venus appears to cross the Sun starting from the top left.
Photographs taken through telescopes also reverse the natural perspective of the transit.

A month or so ago I wrote an article about my Great Grandfather, James McKerrow who observed the Transit of Venus in the 1870s in New Zealand. See link on James McKerrow and transit of venus.

Thanks to Fairfax News New Zealand for permission to use extracts from the article.


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