Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Transit of Venus 10 hours from now

An astronomer points to Venus on a projection
from the solar telescope at the Astrophysical
Institute of Potsdam in Germany on 8 June 2004.
Photograph: Sven Kaestnerj/AP
The transit starts at tonight at 22.04 UTC [1] (that’s 11.04pm BST, 4 minutes after midnight Central European Time, and if you're in the US, 6.04pm EDT). 

Venus takes nearly seven hours to cross the face of the sun.

From most of Europe the transit will be in progress at sunrise on Wednesday, and the last hour or more of it will be visible. Just about the worst place to see it is in County Cork, Ireland.  Only a few minutes if you're lucky. Despite the odds, a number of Cork Astronomy Club members are having a crack at it. None of us will ever see this again.

There are more websites than enough devoted to this event but here is my small selection of the most useful:

[subsequent note: have shortened this by deleting links that disappointed ]

# For beginners, a Q & A from The Guardian

And two NASA ScienceCasts. 

# An intro to the Transit of Venus and the history:

# The transit from the International Space Station:

[1] Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is what I used to call Greenwich Mean Time

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