Monday, June 11, 2012

Sun Spotting

Did anyone else try to watch the solar transit of Venus last Tuesday?  Or were we the only ones geeky enough to be excited about this?  The only ones geeky enough to have even heard that it was happening?  The only ones geeky enough to care???

Well, in case you were too busy having a real life, I'll give you a quick recap.  The planet Venus passed between the earth and the sun, becoming visible against the sun.  This is super rare.  It won't happen again until the year 2117.  So, you know, this was our last chance to see it.

But you couldn't see it with your naked eye - turning your retinas into smoldering piles of ashes and what have you.  We were reading up on it ahead of time and most places were suggesting that you view it the same way you view an eclipse.  They are all basically variations on poking a pin hole and projecting the circle of light coming through the hole onto a flat surface.

Did this actually work for anyone else?  We didn't have any luck.  Because with an eclipse, you don't need a lot of resolution so of course that would work, but Venus was TINY!!!

We did end up getting a good look at it:


See?  TINY!!!  I have trouble believing I could have seen it through a pin hole.  Instead, in short bursts, we did this:


We projected the sun backwards though Marshall's spotting scope onto a piece of paper.

And we didn't even start any fires!!!

1 comment:

Pheobe said...

You guys are seriously awesome. I feel cooler by association.