Watch the 2012 Transit of Venus Live!

by Nancy Atkinson on June 4, 2012

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Transit of Venus by NASA's TRACE spacecraft Image credit: NASA/LMSAL

Transit of Venus in 2004 by NASA's TRACE spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/LMSAL

Venus will make a rare transit across the face of the Sun on June 5/6, 2012 and for this historic event, Universe Today will be coordinating unprecedented live coverage. Starting at 20:00 UTC (2:00 p.m. PDT, 5 pm EDT) on Tuesday, June 5, a live 8-hour webcast will provide views from around the world using multiple telescopes along with commentary from astronomers, space scientists and other special guests.

Viewers will also have the chance to interact and ask questions about this uncommon event to learn more about its significance in aiding our understanding of the Solar System.

Universe Today’s Fraser Cain will be teaming up with astronomers Dr. Pamela Gay, Dr. Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) and many more special celebrity guests. During this 8-hour marathon, they will provide information on how you can safely observe this event for yourself, as well as sharing telescope views from around the world (New Zealand, Canada, California, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, and more). These experts will be discussing why these transits are so rare, how they’ve been used to explore the Solar System, and what astronomers can learn from this event.

The transit will be broadcast as a live Google+ Hangout on Air, and on YouTube live. It will also be embeddable on any website that wants to share live coverage of the transit.

We’ll also be showcasing photographs and other coverage from the public, astronomers and even space telescopes.

To participate, share your views or ask questions, go to the coordinating page on Universe Today, UniverseToday.com/transit.

You can also view it on the Virtual Star party Google+ page, or on Universe Today’s YouTube live feed.

You can also follow the action via Universe Today on Twitter @universetoday and use the hashtag #venushangout

A transit like this occurs when Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun. Viewers will see Venus as a small dot gliding slowly across a portion of the Sun. Historically, viewed by Captain James Cook and other famous astronomers from days gone by, this rare alignment is how we originally measured the size of our solar system.

There have been 53 transits since 2000 B.C. but only six transits of Venus have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago. There were no transits of Venus from 1882 to 2004, and the next one won’t take place until 2117. The last time the event occurred was on June 8, 2004, and was viewed by millions worldwide. This year, observers on six continents and a small portion of Antarctica will be in position to see at least part of it.

But no matter where you live or what sky conditions are in your area, you can watch live with this special coverage!

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Joe Romero June 5, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Clear skies all week, and now we have storm clouds coming in!

Dampe June 5, 2012 at 12:48 AM

Personally, just because something doesn’t happen for every 200 years or so, I don’t think it makes it any more interesting especially considering we can’t look at it with out own eyes.

Fraser Cain June 5, 2012 at 2:20 AM

You can see it with your own (protected eyes). If you have a cheap pair of binoculars, you can project it onto a white piece of paper and you’ll absolutely be able to see it.

But I think it’s also important to appreciate the pure history of this. Astronomers had no idea how big the Solar System was, how big the Sun is, how far away the Sun is, until they saw a transit of Venus.

There have only been 6 since the telescope was invented, and you’re here to enjoy it, right now.

It’s pretty awe inspiring.

Zen Hostel June 5, 2012 at 3:17 AM

“Astronomers had no idea how big the Solar System was, how big the Sun is, how far away the Sun is, until they saw a transit of Venus.”

….What an epiphany.

jamvaru June 5, 2012 at 4:21 AM

yeah, pretty cool concept!
perspective! worth a zillion
and atmosphere, you just can’t pay for it
or ambience, perhaps… a viewing party would be nice, with a cool projector that filters the light just enough to see venus clearly
… or you can wait and watch the video on the news

Zen Hostel June 5, 2012 at 1:44 AM

for the transit of Venus tomorrow morning, the weather here in Nikko Japan is not looking good

jamvaru June 5, 2012 at 4:17 AM

i suppose it has some cosmic significance, perhaps being about 6 months before the big celestial conversion, er, conjunction, whatever…
… i would say it is a wake up call, maybe the last one
the message?
LOVE
or die
lol
(or maybe love and die, then die again if you didn’t get the message of love… close enough)

jamvaru June 5, 2012 at 4:22 AM

sure would be a great time to propose

Al Wilson June 5, 2012 at 1:09 PM

If everyone submits proposals at this time, it is even less likely to be funded…

Alex James June 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Will I Get t o see this in the uk?

Ciru June 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

The very end of it is just after sunrise. If your weather is anything like here in Ireland, you won’t see anything though :(

steve2k12 June 5, 2012 at 1:27 PM

The creation is cool to marvel at. The Creator is Awesome!! Every 200 yrs. that’s nothing in comparison to time itself- ‘The significance’ is that you are now taking time to worship the sun, when you should be knowing the Son and his love towards us.

Marcio Michelon June 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Hello there, i´m in Brazil and won´tbe able to see it, BUT can you tell me if someone will be showing in the net live????

please? and off course if “yes” what´s the address? Thanks!

NancyAtkinson June 5, 2012 at 5:33 PM

WE will be showing it on the net live, so watch at the links above.

Skipdallas1 June 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I like how these transits have helped astronomers understand the size and relationships of the different bodies in our solar system. A transit party sounds like fun with the added benefit of being educational. Just do your observing safely!

Michael Gornish June 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

I am in upstate NY and it’s going to be clouded out, so thanks for the site. I just finished reading the book about the 1761-9 Transits by Mark Anderson: The Day the Earth Discovered the Sun. I strongly recommend it to all. It describes the gargantuan undertakings that the world made to verify the prediction of the Transits made by Edmund Halley decades before and try to use it to determine the earth’s distance from the sun. From my reading the book, I noticed that Anderson mentions that within a few days of the 1761 and 1769 transits there had been solar eclipses, and we just had an annular eclipse at the last new moon (the corresponding partial lunar eclipse just took place). Could there be some sort of resonance between the eclipse cycles (Saros) and the alignments that have to occur for the transits? On the Wikipedia entry for solar eclipse, the coincidence of solar eclipse and transit is mentioned (the next time will be in April of 15232. I was thinking of asking someone like the eclipse expert, Dr. Fred Espenak about this. Anyone else know (or care) about this?

Tibomike June 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM

well, UTC and EDT are only 4 hrs apart, so how can 5 pm EDT equal 20:00 UTC?

James Gallagher June 5, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Will i be able to see venus from ireland ?

Michelle Hickman Loebert June 6, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Good Morning.. thanks for the cam. been great watching.. Michelle Melbourne.

Jorge Emilio Gonzalez Visuetti June 6, 2012 at 12:55 AM

i can´t see this special event in Panamá. the weather is cloudy!!! buaahh!!!

carrieawawy June 5, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I love you all so much:D so fun thank you <3

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