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Kiwis witness Venus’ last-in-a-lifetime transit across Sun

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 13:26

Wellington: While some parts of New Zealand have become murky owing to the cold and cloudy scenes, others are finding clear skies where the transit of Venus can be viewed from.

The planet began to pass in front of the sun at 10.15am and will continue will 4.43pm.

It is a rare astronomical event and won’t be seen again until 2117.

In Wanaka, landscape photographer Gilbert van Reenen has described the event as “exhilarating”.

“It was quite uplifting really, just seeing it move across the surface of the sun,” quoted him as saying.

“I called my wife and friends and they could see it as well. There were a few yahoos,” he said.

Van Reenen said there were clear skies in Wanaka this morning, but the clouds were now moving in.

“It’s not going to last long. I can still see the transit through the cloud, which is quite amazing,” he said.

Skies have been clear in Auckland allowing astronomy researchers and the public to get a clear view of the transit.

Researchers from AUT set up a telescope in the courtyard of the Stardome Observatory at One Tree Hill so the public could get a glimpse of the solar event.

A camera was attached to the telescope so those unable to head down to the observatory could access a live feed of the event online.

Researcher Tim Natusch said the live feed would be replaced with one from NASA, or other areas in the world that have a clear view of the transit, if clouds became a problem.

Natusch said two more telescopes would also be set up at the Auckland Domain this morning.

“We’re hoping people will come along and get a good view of Venus,” Natusch said.

Photographs of the transit of Venus vary in composition depending on where and how they are taken.

While in the Southern Hemisphere Venus appears to cross the Sun starting from the bottom right, in the Northern Hemisphere Venus appears to cross the Sun starting from the top left.

Photographs taken through telescopes also reverse the natural perspective of the transit.


First Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 13:26
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