Transit of Venus Video
This short video from transitofvenus.org takes you through a short history of the Transit of Venus, and ties its importance today to the search for planets orbiting other stars.
Observe the Sun Safely!
There are many simple ways to observe the Sun safely. Check out our guide so you can join in the fun!
This is only the seventh Transit of Venus to be observed in recorded history. Learn about the history of past events, including how observations in the 1760s helped measure the size of our solar system.
Discover the science and mathematics of the Sun, the Transit, and the mysterious "Black Drop Effect."
When and Where to Watch
Where do you have to be to watch the Transit? When does it start? And most importantly, what if it's cloudy?
August 21, 2017
Total Solar Eclipse
Learning how to observe the Sun safely for the Transit is great practice for the total solar eclipse that will be visible from Nashville in 2017!
This will be only the seventh Transit of Venus deliberately observed by humans. Only two people are known to have watched in 1639. For the transits of 1761 and 1769, observers fanned out around the globe to carefully time the event. Why?
Astronomer Edmund Halley, best known for the comet that bears his name, realized that if two observers, thousands of miles apart on the Earth, carefully measured the time it took for Venus to cross the disk of the Sun, they could use trigonometry to calculate the distance to the Sun. Then, by using Johannes Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion, astronomers could determine the size and scale of the entire solar system.
While we're not likely to learn more about the solar system's size with this year's transit event, many astronomers are busy watching for planets passing in front of other stars. Sensitive equipment can detect a brief dimming of a star's light, suggesting the presence of a planet. The Kepler spacecraft orbiting Earth has already confirmed dozens of planets, and has data on more than two thousand other possible planets.
- The 2012 Transit of Venus - Astronomical Society of the Pacific (pdf)
Learn the history and science of Transits of Venus, all the way back to 1639.
- Transit of Venus Smartphone App
In the 1760's, observers around the world attempted to time Transits of Venus down to the second in an attempt to measure the size of the solar system. Now, you can help recreate that experiment on your smartphone!
- John Philip Sousa's Transit of Venus March
In celebration of the Transit of Venus in 1882, composer John Philip Sousa created the "Transit of Venus March". You can listen to a 2003 performance of the march at the Library of Congress web site. The musically inclined can even download the score!
This site provides a selection of modern and historical maps of transits over the centuries.
- Exploratorium: The Rarest Eclipse
The Exploratorium presents an exhaustive look at the Transit of Venus - check out their timeline of Venus events throughout history!
Keep an eye on this excellent site, with frequent updates and plenty of observing and historical information.
Transit Tales: Venus and the Epic Search for the Size of the Solar System
Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 pm
Monthly Meeting of the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society
Cumberland Valley Girl Scout Council Building
4522 Granny White Pike, Nashville
Only two people saw the Transit of Venus in 1639. In 2012, millions will pause to observe this rare event, either in person or on the internet.
June 5-6 2012 marks only the seventh time in recorded history when human beings will have looked toward our Sun to deliberately witness the planet Venus crossing the solar disk. Observing this rare astronomical alignment allowed astronomers to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun. For the first time, we had an idea of just how big space really is.
BSAS member Theo Wellington will delve into the scientific importance, history, and modern benefit of observing transits. Learn how you can safely observe, photograph, and contribute observations of this Transit of Venus. Will you be watching?