2012 Venus Transit

Our club, the Forsyth Astronomical Society, planed a public outing on top of Pilot Mountain for viewing the transit and sharing the view with the public. My wife packed sandwiches, snacks and drinks for an afternoon on the mountain viewing the transit. We left home about 2:00 pm and arrived at the parking lot about 2:45 pm to find the area filled with club members already setting up to view.

The transit was scheduled to start at 6:04:44 pm so most were set up for some solar viewing and sharing with the public that was there. Although it was mostly cloudy, there were breaks in the clouds that allowed some intermittent viewing of Sunspots. The club had about a dozen scopes set up for viewing and it was a mad dash to them whenever a gap in the clouds appeared. The last good view of the sun was around 5:15 pm. We did not know that there would be only one more chance for us to see the Sun let alone view it. There was only one more opening in the clouds to see the Sun around 7:00pm that lasted about 20 seconds. All the while from on top of Pilot Mountain we could see downtown Winston-Salem, NC some 30 miles away standing out with the buildings brightly lit up by the sunlight. Here is a photograph of a few of the scopes set up on the edge of the parking lot on top of Pilot Mountain.

Note the large flower-pot in the photograph. A couple of weeks ago four families in the club got together for a cookout and the guys put together the Sun Gun telescope. It projects an image of the sun about 6-inches in diameter on the screen so that many people can watch the sun at the same time. The Sunspots could be seen easily with this setup when there were breaks in the clouds.

A fellow club member drove six hours into Tennessee before finding a spot that had enough breaks in the clouds to photograph the transit. This is one of his photo’s near the start of Venuses transit with clouds over part of the Sun and another further into the transit.

The last month has been a terrible month for viewing anything in the sky, unless you were interested in cloud watching. I hope you had a better view than we did.

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