back to article Missed the Venus solar flyby? It's only 105 years to the next one

Stargazers and astronomers were out in force last night for the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, an event that won't happen again for 105 years. It took the planet almost seven hours to pass in front of our solar system's star, and regular folks had to watch with suitable telescopes or through special viewing …


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  1. Reg. Blank

    Small thinking.

    Oh actually you mean the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun viewed from the planet Earth.

  2. ravenviz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What a great video

    Really brought home to me the relative sizes of Venus and the Sun, now when I look at the brilliant Venus of an evening I can imagine its apparent size all the better.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: What a great video

      As long as you are imagining it as the relative distance it is at during that pass, between Earth and the Sun.

      In reality plonk it near the sun and it shant look quite so large, plonk it closer to us and it shall look much larger. I am sure you are aware of this and I read your comment wrong but I thought I would post for clarity.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What a great video

        This cow is very small.

        Those are very far away.

        Small, far away.

  3. The Axe


    Hubble didn't take pictures of the transit. The Sun would burn out its optics. Hubble was pointed at the moon and looked at the sunlight reflected off it.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hubble

      Thanks I was just going to ask about that.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Hubble

      I admire your pedantry, Axe. However, I think you read a bit too much into "took images of it" - the Hubble did take images of it using, as you say, sunlight reflected off the Moon.

      I've tweaked the wording for future generations, anyway. Cheers.


    3. Simon2

      Re: Hubble

      Why can't they put a filter on Hubble? You have to do that anyway even for small telescopes on earth else the sun would burn them too not to mention burn out your eyes.

  4. McVirtual


    Is it just me, or is this just a bit of CGI sun footage with a black dot being run over it ... :(

    1. Simon Barnes

      Re: Erm...

      given away by the fact that the dot is semitransparent which most planets aren't...

      1. Feldspa

        Re: Erm...

        Is there any reason the Venus dot was translucent on many of the shots?

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Erm...

          Yup, Venus is transparent.

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon


    What am I missing?

    Does passing between us and the Sun offer up more detail as to it's composition or something?

    Whenever I look at something with a bright light behind I can usually see less then normal, not more.

    1. Neil Hawkins

      Re: Sir

      "Does passing between us and the Sun offer up more detail as to it's composition or something"

      There was a Horizon program I watched on iPlayer last night that explained all the good science going on, loads of it, even the search for ET in the rest of the galaxy. of you can.

  6. billium

    Silly title really, of course we did. British summer .. grey clouds.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      British summer means grey clouds.

      Bank holiday weekend means rain likely.

      Extra long bank holiday in the summer - it was inevitable really :(

      Would be okay if the water soaked down into the parched aquifers around here but apparently it's not doing. All it's doing is making the lawn and weeds grow faster than normal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry

      Judging by the video you missed nothing too exciting.

      If needed you can recreate the excitement in your own home by getting an orange, a black Biro and putting a small dot near the top left hand side. Then slowly rotate the orange in an anticlockwise motion......

  7. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Splendid way to round off the Jubilee celebrations.

    Casual astronomy in good olde Blighty is really nothing more than an exercise in disappointment managment. Come and see the once-in-a-lifetime (for those of you bound by gravity's surly bonds), the marvellous, the magnificent, ... oh plop! It's sodding well cloudy AGAIN. Ho hum, quick cup of tea and back to the morris dancing then.

    Having said that, I did get to see the last one in '04 so no substantial misery this time round.

    1. Miek

      Re: Splendid way to round off the Jubilee celebrations.

      I saw that episode of the Sky at Night, 50th Anniversary too!

    2. EddieD

      Re: Splendid way to round off the Jubilee celebrations.

      Likewise, I was there in 04 - I set up my 'scope in the Common Room at work, and filmed the wee black dot creeping cross the surface of the sun.. this morning - I stayed in bed...

      I wish I knew where that film was now

  8. spold Silver badge

    if you missed it ,just grab a pair of those dark viewing glasses that no-one else needs now and put a pin-sized drop of black paint on them - you can now experience the same view anytime it is sunny.

  9. Allan 1

    Whats the fuss?

    I really don't see what the fuss is about.

    A black dot moving across the face of the sun. Big deal. I have friends in Norway, where apparently they held huge parties, and festivals to mark the occasion. Well, I can accept any excuse for a party, but really, come on... It was just a black dot moving across the sun. It didn't change anything.

    1. JeeBee
      Thumb Down

      Re: Whats the fuss?

      Miserable whiny git.

    2. Anonymous John

      Re: Whats the fuss?

      I know what you mean. And a total solar eclipse is just a bigger black dot moving across the face of the sun. It doesn't change anything either. Not worth getting out of bed for.

      1. Graham Wilson

        @Anonymous John - - Re: Whats the fuss?

        "...a total solar eclipse is just a bigger black dot moving across the face of the sun."

        Clearly, the words of someone who has never seen one for real (TV doesn't count).

        Only sociopaths or psychopaths would have so little emotion as not to be awed by the experience. So far, I've seen three total eclipses and they're indelibly etched on my mind as some of the greatest experiences of my life.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whats the fuss?

      You remind me of some pensioners I once overheard after finishing a ride on the London Eye:

      Pensioner 1: "What did your think of it then?"

      Pensioner 2: "Ah, it was rubbish. Just a load of roofs really."

    4. Graham Wilson

      @Allan1 - - Re: Whats the fuss?

      I suggest you undertake a kindergarten-level course in History and Philosophy of Science to understand the significance of the Transit of Venus event.

      A clue: ask yourself why in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries would nations send their best scientists around the world risking life and limb (and many died in the process) just to see a little spot crossing the sun.


      ...Err silly me, you really can't be that stupid--surely you're just bating and I'm stupid enough to bite.

  10. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Had a look myself through my welding helmet (never thought I'd be using it for this when I bought it). A #10 shade made the view spectacular. I know it was just a black dot against the sun, but there was still something really cool about seeing another planet with my own eyes.

    1. Goat Jam

      Re: cool

      If I may be permitted the opportunity to be a totally pedantic ass, I would point out that you did not actually see Venus, but merely the absence of light from the (as it was blocked by Venus).

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: cool

        OK, I'll give you that point, you pedantic ass.

    2. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: cool

      Down here in the southern hemisphere I can see other planets with my own eyes practically every night.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: cool

        Ah, but then they are but one point of light amongst thousands. During the transit, Venus was one point of black surrounded by the blazing fury of our local nuclear furnace. I still say it's cool.

  11. Stoke the atom furnaces

    Missed the Venus solar flyby?

    It's only 105 years to the next one.

    Not true. There is an opportunity to view a transit of Venus on August 19th 2030 from the surface of Mars.

    1. Richard Gadsden

      Re: Missed the Venus solar flyby?

      Dear NASA. Your next Mars rover: please design the bloody thing so you can watch this, unlike the 2005 Mercury transit which you didn't have a good enough camera to see!

      And yes, the transits of Deimos and Phobos are cool. But have you seen how rubbish the pictures are?

      The "send a decent camera to Mars" campaign starts here.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: "The "send a decent camera to Mars" campaign starts here."

        LOHAN, should be more ambitious in the carrion cry.

  12. Jim Carter

    A friend of mine got a brilliant picture using his own telescope

    1. dajames

      Re: A friend of mine got a brilliant picture using his own telescope

      Nice picture ... but I think that's the Transit of the Sun ...

  13. redhunter

    This articulated my thoughts well regarding the fuss about Venus:

    The highlight of viewing the transit through my scope was the 3D effect of Venus crossing the perimeter of the sun (between 1st and 2nd contact for you science folks). Otherwise it was simply a black dot on the sun.

    1. Graham Wilson



      Good one!


  14. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    ███• • • • • • •███

    Cool, but that video is over the top. I expect many Venus flyby parody videos to follow.

  15. Graham Wilson

    Saw it.

    Saw it clearly and in focus through a Cassegrain telescope despite bouts of clouds and rain. A truly wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    I wonder what Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree (who were the first on record to see the Transit of Venus in 1639) would have thought if they knew that by 2012 we'd know the distance from Earth to Venus within an accuracy of only a few metres.

    (I find it truly remarkable that these blokes, who in their day had only the most primitive astronomical equipment, not only corrected minor errors of Johannes Kepler and predicted the correct date in 1639 to view the Transit but that they also predicted precisely the dates of the 21st Century transits. One can only be in awe of their brilliance, especially Horrocks who died shortly afterwards at the remarkably young age of only 22.)

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