The public viewing and celebration of the transit of Venus --the rare astronomical event in which planet Venus is seen crossing the face of the Sun-- was a tremendous hit at Edgewater Beach State Park in Cleveland the evening of June 5. Public interest in the transit was, to this observer, surprisingly high. Those who looked through solar-safe telescopes at our nearest star, by and large, excitedly marveled at what they saw. After all, how often do most folks get to see what the Sun really looks like? Obligatory reminder: Improperly viewing the Sun can result in instantaneous and permanent eye damage!
Thousands in Northeastern Ohio showed up at Edgewater and, by accounts, had a lovely time and will have memories of a unique experience to keep for the rest of their lives. Not everyone could view the event with their own eyes but that doesn't mean they totally missed out, for photos and videos abound.
Didn't get to see it yourself? The photo above shows what a really good view of our Sun and the transiting Venus (the dark circle, top) looked like through a telescope with a white light solar filter. The other blemishes on old Sol's face are sunspots -- intense disturbances in the Sun's magnetic field. The grainy visual texture of the photograph depicts the actual appearance of the sun's visible surface or photosphere. Called granulation, the shapes --each about the size of Texas-- are similar to the action we see in a pot of boiling water. Wavy patterns among the plasma "grains" are shaped by convection and magnetic field lines.
We live in a universe of marvels. Take a look around!
For a very large collection of transit photographs from around the world, visit SpaceWeather.com.
See how the event looked through the eyes of NASA's orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.