Venus in Transit

Venus in Transit

A couple days ago Willie informed that another awesome astronomical event would be occurring: the Transit of Venus in which Venus travels in between the sun and Earth and can be seen as a teeny tiny little dot in the sun. I already had solar glasses and a solar filter that I purchased for the recent Annular Solar Eclipse so I was all set for the Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Transit of Venus!

Since the transit started at 3pm I decided to leave work early to take a timelapse of the entire event. A bunch of interns had just started and being a former lead of our intern program I decided to invite them along. Willie, some interns, and I left work and found a nearby parking garage and drove to the top. We made it with just enough time to setup our tripods and start shooting away. For the next 5 hours I took at least 1 photo every minute! My plan is to create a little time-lapse video showing the transit, however, photoshop cannot automatically align the images (300mm on a DX body wasn’t enough to get 40% overlap) so I have to manually align each image (ugh — and there’s 450 of them … double ugh)!

Towards the end of the Transit some clouds rolled in and blocked part of the view of Venus but also made for some really interesting scenes! Willie also noticed at one point that an airplane was flying right into the path of the sun and I raced over to my camera to snap a couple shots! It was also interesting to see how ovular the sun gets as it sets. As the sun sets to a lower elevation angle the suns light rays have to travel through a greater part of the Earth’s atmosphere — when this happens the rays bounce more and are visible with greater distortion.

To our delight, we were treated with an absolutely BEAUTIFUL sunset after the sun went down. I almost packed up my gear before the sky just exploded with color. There wasn’t much to play with compositionally but I think I have something that came out pretty nicely. Stay tuned for more from this day!

Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR
Most of the images taken something along the lines of: 300mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

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Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.