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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Towering transit of Venus

By Phil Plait

OK, look, I know I've posted a lot of Venus Transit pix, and it's been a week now, so you have to know I wouldn't post one this late unless it was really awesome.

I present to you really awesome... Part 1:

Wow! This was taken by friend-of-the-BABlog Alan Friedman. To shoot this video he used a filter that lets through light from hydrogen, and that shows lots of solar activity like sunspots and filaments. The video is a negative, which makes it easier to see faint details on the surface, and which makes Venus look white instead of black. But I like how he kept his telescope centered on the Sun as it set, so it looks like it's the tower moving into the field of view instead of the usual shot of the horizon held steady while the Sun sets. Very cool.

[Update: For those asking about the tower, Alan sent me this photo to clear things up.]

But he did more than take video: he took his usual jaw-dropping, stunning, ridiculously cool photos as well, like this one... really awesome, Part 2:

[Click to ensolarnate.]

Yegads. He's done some photographic trickery to bring out details -- he made the Sun's face negative like in the video, but used false color to make it reddish, and then had to specifically make Venus look dark again (are you following this?). I actually rather like the red and green together; Alan notes there's a watermelon thing going on there.

Mmmmm, watermelon.

Anyway, I have to admit, when I asked for pictures of the Venus Transit, I was expecting almost all of them to be straight photos of the Sun with Venus silhouetted against it, but instead got such a wonderful and dramatic variety of photos that's it's been a real thrill to see them. I've appended the gallery of photos at the end of this post, and check out Related Posts just below to see more images of the transit as well as more amazing pictures taken by Alan.

Image credit: Alan Friedman, used by permission.

Related Posts:

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- Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the Sun
- Sic transit, glorious
- How could I NOT post this Venus Transit picture?
- Interloper of the Venus Transit
- Venus orbital plane

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