Transit of Venus 2012: Time and Safety Tips

What time does the Transit of Venus start? Also, the next time you will be able to watch the Transit of Venus will be in 2117. If you plan on catching it in 2012, here is an estimated start time and some safety tips.

Although showers and thunderstorms are expected for much of the day around the country, that shouldn't be a problem for those in the Chicagoland area hoping to catch the 2012 Transit of Venus, at least according to Weather.com. Our forecast: Sunny and clear.

The last time the Transit of Venus occurred was 105 years ago. In other words, you won't get to see another one until 2117.

Those looking to catch the Transit of Venus in 2012 can expect to see it start around 3:06 p.m. Central Time, and hit the center of its journey at 6:25 p.m. Those in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia and Europe will get to see the show for several hours longer than everybody else.  

And please, don't get "Blinded by the Light," Manfred Mann's Earth Band wouldn't appreciate that. So, never look directly at the sun. Also, sunglasses do not work as a substitute when looking directly at the sun.

Some safety tips -

  • Telescopes with Solar Filters -- The transit of Venus is best viewed directly when magnified through a telescope with a solar filter; you’ll get to see Venus and sunspots. Never look  at the sun through a telescope without a solar filter on the large end of the scope. 
  • Pinhole projectors – Most of us have made one of these for a middle school science fair and though not sophisticated, pinhole projectors provide a safe, indirect viewing technique that you can share with several people at the same time! While it’s a great family project, and provides some fascinating viewing, because it isn’t magnified, you won’t be able to see some of the more detailed features like the halo around Venus. Popular for viewing solar eclipses, pinhole projectors suffer from the same shortcomings as unmagnified views when Venus approaches the edges of the Sun. Here is a Stanford University project page to take you through the steps to make a pinhole projector.
  • Reflected Pinhole Projection: For a slightly different technique, you can try a "Reflected Pinhole Projector" as outlined in this project sheet from Trinity College Cambridge for the 2004 Transit.


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