Venus Transit Wows Despite Clouds in Napa

Did you glimpse the transit of Venus Tuesday? Dozens of folks from Napa and nearby came out to view the rare celestial event at Napa Valley College, and we've got pictures. If you do too, please share them!

A cloudy, windy, busy Tuesday didn't keep a stream of curious Napans from making the trek to the Napa Valley College ballfields for a look at the transit of Venus, a twice-in-a-lifetime celestial event that won't occur again for more than 105 years.

Retired NVC astronomy professor John Charlesworth led a group of skywatchers whose high-powered telescopes were equipped with solar filters to allow safe viewing of Venus in its passage between Earth and the sun.

Fast-moving clouds often thickened to obscure the sun, but quickly blew past, lending a dramatic flair to the images seen through the telescope lenses.

While viewing the event with homemade pinhole projectors was not easy, Charlesworth used a more sophisticated version to project an image of the tiny, dark disc of Venus crossing the great, bright circle of the sun's surface.

Other observers brought telescopes equipped with cameras as well as eyepieces, to capture the cosmic rarity.

If you were able to do the same, we'd love to see your photographs! Please share them here, and tell us in the comments what it was like to observe the transit of Venus in Napa.

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Peter Hufstader June 06, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Here in N. Connecticut we were completely socked in and didn't see a thing. I was ready with my real sextant but to no avail. I envy you all!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Check out the great new photos folks have added to our gallery today and keep that sextant ready for the next solar eclipse in '17, Dad!
Richard Bruns June 07, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Kudos to John Charlesworth, Mark Kohen, Andy Hoffman and Michael Johnson for sharing their telescopes and knowledge with the public. They are familiar faces during astronomical events the general public might not normally be aware of or have access to, e.g. the Venus transit of the sun which required special viewing equipment. They also participate in such important events as Earth Day sharing their infectious enthusiasm. Science is Fun! And thanks also to Michael Johnson for the loan of a spare solar filter for my 400mm lens which allowed the super sharp focus on two of the four-sun montage photos that NapaPatch included in its Venus transit story.
Michael Johnson June 08, 2012 at 08:27 PM
All in all this was a very good and fun event. We astrobuffs enjoy sharing our fun hobby with everone willing to venture into the night or day in this case. We look forward to the next opportunity to show people the wonders that they can experience by looking through a telescope, some of which they will never see again! What a thrill. Michael Johnson


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