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You are here: Transit of Venus: June 6, 2012

Spectacular and historic Venus transit

Millions of people around the globe were looking for the small, black dot on the Sun on June 5/6. In almost 7 hours Venus moved across the solar disk for the last time in 105.5 years. All available telescopes were used to observe this exceedingly rare and important phenomenon. We have obtained unique videos and pictures to be enjoyed by future generations.


The transit imaged from the SDO observatory in space.
Photo: NASA, HMI / SDO

In Norway there were many local events for the public who could watch the progress through eclipse shades, special telescopes or via huge video screens. In Tromsø a huge, national event took place during this historic night. More than 1000 people could enjoy the transit in perfect weather in this arctic city.

The transit was broadcast from Tromsø by NRK (the biggest TV station in Norway) and web TV which was sent to NASA and others. The web TV used video from 8 different cameras and locations and the important stages were commented by astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard and the author and meteorite hunter Anne Mette Sannes.

Of special importance was the periods when Venus moved onto the solar disk and it was quite easy to observe the famous black drop effect. It was also observed after third contact when Venus begun to leave the solar disk for the last time in 105.5 years. By switching between video from Hawaii and Norway the parallel effect was obvious.

In Hawaii Venus was closer to the limb of the Sun than it was in Tromsø. The pictures were combined and for the first time in history we could observe the parallax effect live!

This was the effect that that motivated scientists in 1761, 1769, 1874 and 1882 to travel almost around the globe to observe the Venus transits. Thereafter they spent many years to collect and analyse data. We experienced this live!

This is what it is all about! The picture is composed of an image from Hawaii (right dot) and Tromsø (dot to the left). From these locations Venus is observed in slightly different direction towards the solar disk. By measuring the distance between the dots, the solar distance can be calculated.
Photo: NASA, Tromsø Astronomiforening, editing: Trym Norman Sannes

Here you can find the distance between different locations on Earth for use in these caculations and the other school activities.

Videos about the Venus transit

SDO videos

Pictures from the Norwegian webcasts.

We have obtained a unique material documenting the transit, about 80 – 100 GBs. We are now editing the videos and it is expected to be made available here later this summer. Updates about the event will be published later this year.

This amateur picture was made from Tronheum with a special filter at 03.18 UT. It is exceptionally clear and detailed – we will not be able to make anything better in 105.5 years!
Photo: Erlend Rønnekleiv, Trondheim Astronomiske Forening

Main Norwegian site for this Venus transit
Main Venus site.


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Contact: Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, P.O. Box 1029 Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, NorwayPhone: (+47) 992 77 172 E-mail: