back to article Transit of Venus, live-ish from Australia

To Reg readers hoping for a quick peek of today's transit of Venus from Sydney, where the whole thing was visible for hours, we're sorry to disappoint, on two counts. One is our utterly unprepared state for the event: Sydney sold out of solar filters for cameras and telescopes about a week ago. Even tatty cardboard glasses …


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  1. web_bod

    better than nothing

    I'm not too fussed about breaks in the feeds am just happy to be able to see anything - it looks like the weather in Coventry will be shite in the morning.

  2. LaeMing Silver badge

    Welding goggles

    Don't use welding goggles to look at the sun! They don't filter all the dangerous bits from the sun that welding flash doesn't emit.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Re: Welding goggles

      My preferred way to look at the sun is to point a telescope at it (WITHOUT LOOKING THROUGH THE TELESCOPE!!!) and focus the eyepiece to project on a white piece of card, looking at the sun on the card. Cheap and easy.

      1. Paratrooping Parrot

        Re: Telescopes

        This trick only works with refracting telescopes, NOT reflecting. Also, most Dobsonians are reflecting.

        1. LaeMing Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Telescopes

          Good point. I only have access to a cheapie refracting one.

    2. Peter Reid

      Re: Welding goggles

      Hi -- suitable welding goggles are prefectly safe -- for example, the glass used for arc/MIG welding or plasma cutting (welding glass 14) will completely block the UV and IR components, and will suitably attentuate visible light.

      You might be thinking about the kind of glass used for standard oxy-acetylene welding: that wouldn't be safe, as that kind of welding doesn't produce much UV.

  3. Old Handle

    I saw the dot!

    Here in sunny SoCal, and with the aid of a cheapy filter bought for the eclipse I can indeed see the dot... barely. It's really not very exciting without magnification.

  4. flearider

    why ??

    really can't see the big deal in all of this's just a planet going round the sun .. it happens every day ..

    but it just so happens that this time we are aligned so we can see it ..

    it's not going to change any thing ,you arnt going to get super powers ...

    but hey if ya get your kicks ..good luck to ya

    1. Wize

      Re: why ??

      Why bother going on holiday. Its hot every day in those countries every day and you can always go swimming in your local pool or get drunk at your local bar.

      Its not quite the same thing though, is it?

      Live a little. Try experiencing something different.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: why ??

      flearider, you are right. I equally do not understand the excitement about solar eclipses. After all, we get one each and every night by earth moving in front of the sun - and not just for a few minutes as the moon does.

  5. Billz

    Venus Transit From Carlsbad, California USA


    I no longer live in Worcester Park - where I used to send you photos from :) Hopefully you would like to use this somewhere

    The online / hires version is on Flickr at:

    I just shot this in my backyard in Carlsbad, California, USA

    Please feel free to use it for anything!

    Was shot with Imaging Source DMK51 - short AVI video, stacked in AutoStakkert and processed in Photoshop/Lightroom


    Bill Pinnell

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Venus Transit From Carlsbad, California USA

      Waiter! Waiter! Theres a bug on my orange!

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC02:49 (was: Re: Venus Transit From Carlsbad, California USA)

        ""Shh! Everybody will want one! And that's no bug, it's a fruit fly." replies the waiter ...

  6. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Up

    The rest of us are probably using Slooh - which broadcast most of these astronomical events with a multitude of telescope feeds to watch from.

  7. Chris Ashworth

    Seeing it bright and clear here in Hong Kong looking through a bit of exposed film. Makes up for the lousy weather for the eclipse the other week!

  8. P. Lee Silver badge

    Cloud computing

    I've had customers try using "the cloud" from Oz.

    Mostly failed due to latency.

    And if you had cloud cover, you, er, wouldn't be able to see the sun...

    I know. Gone.

  9. Robert E A Harvey

    Thanks for the feed

    This has worked reliably throughout the night, unlike most of the others - including Slooh and Nasa - so well done El Reg.

    SPB have until 2117 to molish an above-the-clouds observatory for the next one.

  10. eulampios
    Thumb Up

    nice but could've been better

    It was a beautiful spectacle. The glorious planet did look like a mole or a speck on the binocular through the welder's glass. Thanks to ElReg and a few other journals for the timely tip. Should've prepared better and found filters for both of my camera and a small refractor.

    Well, next time in 2117 (or 2125) I will do just that :)

  11. Paratrooping Parrot

    I tried to use the paper on a mirror trick, but from what I can tell, it does not quite work properly. Only useful for bigger things blocking the sun like the moon.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Sonoma, CA reporting in ... No need for tech when it comes to this kind of thing.

    I rigged up a camera obscura in the kitchen for the eclipse the other day, so we could watch it as we prepped supper. Pinhole in a bit of over exposed film, taped over a hole in a piece of cardboard placed in an appropriate window. 112 inches away, a sheet of matte white cardboard to project the image on. Provides an image of the Sun about an inch in diameter ... Used the same setup this evening. The transit was clearly visible, when our natural air conditioning[1] wasn't in the way.

    The wife is fascinated. She's never seen this kind of thing ... and is surprised that she can actually see the perceived movement of the Sun! Next time Solar Flairs are "going hot", I'll increase the length so she can view those ... After all these years, the woman still surprises me in what I can interest her in :-)

    I wonder if I can convince her to allow me to grind a 20" mirror ...

    [1] Fog.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Sonoma, CA reporting in ... No need for tech when it comes to this kind of thing.

      I hear Solar Flairs are coming back into fashion

      1. jake Silver badge

        @YAAc (was: Re: Sonoma, CA reporting in ... No need for tech when it comes to this kind of thing.)

        That was a funny typo/brain-fart :-)

        Mea culpa.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sonoma, CA reporting in ... No need for tech when it comes to this kind of thing.

      "I wonder if I can convince her to allow me to grind a 20" mirror ..."

      Only one way to find out, mate!

      I recently built a D=102mm F=1525mm refractor from a surplus objective achromat I bought online. When I got it finished, I called my wife out to see Saturn and its rings. She later said to me, "I can't believe you built a telescope that let me see Saturn's rings!"

      Sometimes being a nerd is fun.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @PS1 (was: Re: Sonoma, CA reporting in ... No need for tech when it comes to this kind of thing.)

        This morning, I drove down to Palo Alto to get the 8" reflector that Dad & I built nearly 40 years ago. I discovered to my bemusement that my youngest brother had added a motor drive to it about 10 years later ... We'll haul it up to our place outside Fort Bragg (CA version), away from most human generated light this coming weekend :-)

        I always wanted to grind a 20" ... we'll see.

  13. Winkypop Silver badge

    Backside of Venus

    Can a planet 'moon' you?

  14. web_bod

    Ha Ha! I saw it!

    The clouds finally cleared just in time to catch the last couple of minutes of it - back to bed :)

  15. david 12 Bronze badge


    Also entirely visible from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide,Darwin, PNG, Japan, China etc. Most of which wereh't expecting clouds. And visible at sunset or sunrise from more huge chunks of the surface of the globe. What it is it with Sydney? A good public relations team?

  16. DMA

    Images from Wisconsin

    I put up some transit snaps on my website.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    Transit of Venus.

    A mate of mine had one of those.

    An old V4 with a double mattress in the back and a crate of Babycham under the passenger seat.......

  18. Cornholio

    Don't worry if you missed it...

    ...there'll be a transit of Mercury before too long.

  19. Miek

    That's odd, the video you embedded looks very much like an Internet Explorer advert. FAIL.

  20. Andrew Garrard

    Good old British weather

    I was up at 4:15 (after watching first contact on a web cam before going to bed - good work Hawaii, not so impressed by the guys from the continental US who were filming each other and not the actual sun), ready to go out and meet the sunrise. But I saw the weather and stayed in bed.

    Then I got up around 4:45 just in case, and watched some more live streaming from Oz and from Hawaii. And it stayed cloudy, but with the occasional thinner bit.

    About 5:45, after Hawaii had reported third contact and while Norway were showing parallax, I realised the sun might actually hit the house. So I ran upstairs, ignoring all the exciting telescope stuff I had with me, and pointed a (stopped down) lens right at the sun. Lo, the sun had a tiny bite out of it (I was slightly nearer third contact than fourth), and I have photographic evidence (and hopefully not a knackered camera) proving I was looking. It turns out that clouds work as an extremely dangerous alternative to a solar filter. Of course, if it had been sunny, I would have had more time to project an image onto paper.

    I've heard the "refractors good. reflectors bad" argument before, but I'm very confused as to why. I'd have thought (enclosed) refractors are more likely to overheat than an open reflector (incidentally, *all* Dobsonians are reflectors, by definition). The only reasoning I can think of is that reflectors tend to be faster (shorter focal length per aperture), but that's not strictly a reflector vs refractor difference. Anyone care to educate me?

  21. Herby Silver badge

    Sic transit gloria mundi

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I didn't see it directly, but the NASA video was kinda cool!

    Somehow the video of the "largest zit" being popped came to mind, why I really don't know.

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