Once in a Lifetime Event

transit of venus

On June 5th, 2012, I witnessed the Planet Venus transit the Sun from my backyard. I used an Orion 4.5″ Skyquest Dobsonian telescope with a homemade solar filter to observe the event.

My parents joined me to watch with their solar glasses on. I remember the feeling of watching the Sun up close through the telescope as I bathed in the warmth of our star at the same time. It was a memorable experience.

The most interesting part of the event for me was that the planet Venus began to cross in front of the Sun at the exact moment it was scheduled to. It’s truly amazing how predictable the movement of our Solar system is.

Transit of Venus on June 5, 2012 from St. Catharines, Ontario with Orion Skyquest 4.5 telescope
Venus makes its way across the disc of the Sun – June 5, 2012

To photograph the transit of Venus through my telescope, I used the eyepiece projection method. This means that I held my digital camera up to the objective lens of my 32mm Plossl eyepiece to capture a short exposure at the magnifcation the eyepiece projects.

This process works well for taking pictures of the moon if you’re using a point-and-shoot digital camera that is not attached to the telescope. The bright image of the Sun (through the Solar filter) made this technique successful as I did not need to expose the shot for very long.

Learn more about beginner astrophotography.


Venus begins to pass in front of the Sun

Despite the weather forecast, we had clear skies for the transit of Venus in St. Catharines!  I set up my homemade Solar Scope to view and photograph the event.  It was an unforgettable experience as I saw Venus slowly begin to creep in front of the sun.

I sent my photos to several news outlets including CHCH news, The St. Catharines Standard, and the Weather Network.  I didn’t hear back from anyone, but my photo on the weather network was viewed by over 7000 people! For a detailed explanation of this rare astronomical event, check out the wikipedia page.

My homemade solar filter, an example of immaculate craftmanship.


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