Space and astronomy blog: Venus transit edition

Next Tuesday (5 June 2012) some of us will be in position to view the transit of Venus across the Sun. One of my colleagues is flying out to Hawaii with his wife to enjoy an unobstructed view from some mountain. Being a bit more “low rent”, my plan is to drive with my kids over to a nearby Kroger’s parking lot. Some links follow.

Let’s face it, many of us who work in computers would rather be astronomers.

Although at this point I’d settle for owning a bait shop in Carolina Beach, I too have a lifelong interest in astronomy and space science.

This transit of the Sun by Venus is will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for pretty much all of us (the next one doesn’t happen until 2117). So today would be the day to start thinking about how you and yours will experience it.

Of course there’s always TV and the Internet. If weather conditions take a turn for the worst, a lot of people may wind up having to settle for that.

For those that get a shot at direct observation there are a number of options. Eclipse Glasses are one. If you don’t already have a pair (or two, three or four).

Many local organizations, like the Raleigh Astronomy Club are hosting transit events for families and individuals (the RAC event is being held at the NC Museum of Natural History, a place people who read this blog may be familiar with as housing a diorama depicting a Piedmont forest that looks just like my back yard).

N Rathnasree, et al., Transit of Venus: Quantitative Observing with Simple Equipment, in the current issue of Resonance (a publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences), has a nice detailed article on building solar projection devices that can be used for group viewing of the event.

NASA has a 2012 Transit of Venus page up with lots of links and useful information for those interested in the event.

[NASA Photo of 2004 Transit of Venus]