Transit of Venus

That was different! Yesterday no-one expected the sky to be clear enough to see the transit, but see it we did. We had an early start – herded onto buses and shipped up to Uawa/Tolaga Bay – a rather poignant place to see the transit, given that’s where Captain Cook arrived in 1759 after viewing the transit in Tahiti.

We squashed onto the marae for a powhiri before undertaking some rather unusual events not usually part of a physicist’s schedule – watching the rededication of the wharf, planting trees, watching the internment of a time capsule, etc, while mingling with the rich and famous. (Well, the famous anyway – my colleague Jo from Chemistry managed to sit next to leader of the opposition, David Shearer, for lunch!) And of course there was plenty of opportunity to view the transit, which has now finished. If you missed it, then you’ll need to wait until 2117 for the next one.



One thing I learned which is vaguely physics, is that my eyes aren’t what they used to be. We were all issued with proper solar glasses to cut out the ultraviolet from the sun, making it safe to view. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t see this dot that most others were talking about. I just saw a dim orange disc. But there were plenty of telescopes around projecting the sun for everyone to have a closer look, and that showed it clearly (plus just a few sunspots). I’ve attached a photo – you should be able to make out Venus in the bottom right of the sun’s disc, close to the edge.


Leave a Reply