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Transit of Venus, 2004

Nomi and will miss the Transit of Venus this evening. We saw it back in 2004, and so the novelty is gone. We figure we'll catch the next one. :-)

In the meantime, here's my notes and observations from when we saw it eight years ago at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; they had opened up their roof for viewing, and had a 9-inch refractor in a dome for us to use.

Nomi and I got on line at 4:38 AM. We were soon joined by farwing. They brought us upstairs at a little after 5 AM. Nomi witnessed the sunrise first at 5:14 and then we started to observe Venus as a little dot on the Sun, at around the 4:30 position, at 5:21. At 5:28 AM I saw it projected onto a piece of paper with a telescope. At 5:37 AM I saw it through a refractor, and noted a lot of atmospheric haze. At 5:44 AM I saw it through the 9-inch refractor in the dome.

At 5:47 AM they sent us back downstairs. At 6:08 AM I saw it through eclipse shades. At 6:13 AM we saw it with binoculars, but by 6:35 AM the Sun was hidden by clouds, and remained that way for the rest of the transit.

At 7:02 AM we watched the webcast in Phillips Auditorium, live from the Canary Islands. They switched to the NASA feed from Athens, Greece at 7:15 AM. We saw Third and Fourth Contact, and the times were different for optical and the H-Alpha filter. By 7:23 the transit appeared done.

And here's the link to Nomi's post from that day:


I was trying to remember if the Transit of Venus was indeed the thing I had woken up early to see with you guys, but it turns out you remembered it for me. *hugs*

December 2016

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