On rare occasions, Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. During the twenty-first century, it will happen twice, once in the year 2004, and once in the year 2012. Such events are called Venus Transits.
For the most recent Venus Transit, which took place on the morning of June 8, 2004, the University of Michigan Astronomy Department, the Student Astronomical Society and the University Lowbrow Astronomers hosted a public “Sunrise Open House” on the roof of Angell Hall (on the central campus of U of M). The following photographs were taken during this event.
Visitors on the roof on Angell Hall waiting for the Sun to rise above the haze.
A red sun rises above the horizon (the reddish dot on the right of the photograph). At this point Venus was clearly visible and most people are looking in that direction. (You cannot see Venus in this photograph because the photo does not have enough resolution).
The Astronomy Department’s 40 centimeter reflecting telescope (a Ritchey-Chretien with field corrector) is located within the dome seen on the left of this photograph. The 40 centimeter telescope was not pointed at the sun (it cannot be positioned that close to the horizon). It was pointed at the moon instead.
Visitors looking through telescopes at Venus.
More visitors looking at Venus. The U-M Bell Tower (Burton Tower) is visible in the background.
Members of the Student Astronomical Society and the U-M Astronomy Department helping visitors.
Dr. Patrick Seitzer (from the U-M Astronomy Department) used a cardboard box to display an image of the Sun allowing several people to view the Transit at the same time.
Dr. Mario Mateo (also from the U-M Astronomy Department) used eye-piece projection to display the Venus Transit onto a sheet of paper he held in his hand. This also allowed several people to view the Transit at the same time. In the third photograph, Venus is clearly visible as a dot on the edge of the Sun’s disk.
See also Astrophotos of Venus Taken From the Roof of Angell Hall by Charlie Nielsen and Astrophotos of Venus Taken From the Roof of Angell Hall by Dave Snyder.
All Photos on this page were taken by Dave Snyder and Charlie Nielsen on June 8, 2004.