All eyes on Venus

June 7, 2012 | Telescopes and special glasses were the order of the day on Tuesday, June 5, as staff on several campuses took a peek at Venus passing in front of the Sun—an event that won't be repeated until 2117. See below for a sampling of scenes from Center Green.

You didn't have to step away from your desk to catch the event, thanks to HAO's Mauna Loa Solar Observatory. On its website, MLSO provided crisp images (see example, below) collected by its multiple instruments atop Hawaii's high volcanic peak. Because of its westerly location, MLSO experienced nearly all of the transit, which extended from around noon to sunset Hawaii time. MLSO observers Allen Steuben and Ben Berkey stayed busy, working long shifts around the transit window to make sure all systems were go. Despite some afternoon clouds and minor technical glitches, the instruments gathered a unique smorgasbord of views.

For timelapse movies and more, see MLSO's 2012 Venus Transit Page. The site will be updated as more images are processed and analyzed.

Leonard Sitongia views eclipse
Leonard Sitongia (HAO) shared his telescopic view of the transit with others gathered on the CG1 plaza. (Photos by Bob Henson, UCAR.)
Christine Guzy and Maria Weber view eclipse through glasses
Christine Guzy (left), who teaches Pilates at the Mesa and Foothills campuses, joins long-term HAO visitor Maria Weber for eye-safe viewing of the transit of Venus.
Four images from MLSO of Venus transit
Four images from the h-alpha instrument at HAO's Mauna Loa Solar Observatory show the progression of Venus (large dot toward top) across the solar disk during the June 5 transit. The instrument measures an emission line of neutral hydrogen from the Sun's upper chromosphere that is sensitive to the Sun's magnetic field. The bright and dark spots correspond to sunspots, bright plage, dark filaments, and other features. The bright box around Venus is an artifact that will be removed in data processing. For timelapse movies and more images, see MLSO's 2012 Venus Transit Page. (Images from NCAR/HAO and the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory.)


Tom Bogdan and visitors view MLSO imagery on terminal
UCAR president and solar physicist Tom Bogdan (left) scrutinizes Mauna Loa imagery of the transit, displayed in real time in the CG1 lobby. Joining him are David Grimes (assistant deputy minister of the Meteorological Service of Canada and president-elect of the World Meteorological Organization) and Mark Surmeier (U.S. Air Force Weather Agency). The two were in town for the annual meeting of COMET's executive board.