The Venus Transit of 2012 was the final one of the 21st century. The next one will be occurring in 2117; after most of us are dead and buried.

Observing this transit gave me a much different feeling than the one in 2004. After the 2004 transit, I knew I would see another one: in 2012. This time around, I intently watched the transit knowing this time this would be my final one. I watched as much of the transit as I could from my home in southern Ontario, Canada: from 22:05 to 00:25 UTC. When low elevation cloud took the sun away near sunset, I knew that was the last time I would see the spectacle live through a telescope. There is some unavoidable feeling of mortality and helplessness when that happens.

I considered myself extremely fortunate that I was able to see two Venus transits in one lifetime. Some astronomers are born, live their lives and die without ever seeing a single one. The 20th century did not contain a single Venus transit.

The number and size of sunspots were very different in the 2012 transit when compared to the 2004 transit. In 2004, the sun's surface was virtually devoid of sunspots, except for two very small spots near the observed center. in 2012, the sunspots were very numerous and very large, making for a very enjoyable observation in more ways than one.

Nearly two days after the transit, I managed to see Venus with a razor thin crescent of 0.095%. Its atmosphere was clearly visible as the crescent was actually a nearly complete ring. I knew as I watched such a spectacle that this would likely be the last time I would see Venus this way. The feeling of mortality surfaced once again.






The 2012 Venus Transit Was Last Modified On June 13, 2012