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Venus Transit 6th June

For the latest update on the IAA Observing Event at Garron Point, including a go/no-go decision, see this thread on the IAA Forum...

 

The last chance until 2117 to see a Transit of the planet Venus - where Venus passes in front of the Sun - takes place on 6th June. The most favoured locations are Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand, but it is possible to see the some of the event from Ireland. However the choice of time and location is crucial, and Terry Moseley has put together an excellent article explaining the choices here....

Weather permitting there will be an IAA Public Viewing Event on the East Antrim coast - Terry has reconnoitred a number of sites considering a number of factors including visibility, accessibility and car parking and we have chosen Garron Point on the Antrim Coast Road as offering the best opportunity of any site on the Island of Ireland.

In the event of Sea Fog, always a possibility on this coast, a secondary site has been chosen at Ballycoose - aka Knock Dhu or the car park on the Feystown Road above Cairncastle. The sunrise is apparently just visible from this site if we use the southerly end of the car park for observing, and offers an elevation of 270m though the duration of visibility is some seconds shorter than Garron Point.

Note that even though the Sun will be low in the sky, the usual precautions still need to be observed - Never view the Sun directly with the naked eye or with any unfiltered optical device, such as binoculars or a telescope!

See here for safe viewing options....

Maps to the two sites are shown below - keep an eye on the forum for any last minute changes - all are welcome - we will assemble from 0430 BST onwards.

There is more information on the Transit on the Transit of Venus Website here...

In the weeks before the Transit, Venus is sinking in the NW sky after sunset and is growing larger whilst showing a decreasing crescent phase - see the excellent image from the IAA's John Hall right.

Image: Paul Evans 8th June 2004

Image: John Hall

 

Garron Point

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Ballycoose


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One last look at Venus before the Transit

IAA President Paul Evans managed to capture Venus and Mercury setting over the Antrim Hills just after sunset on 1st June - this was within 100 hours of the Transit! Venus and Mercury were within a degree of each other moving in opposite directions - Venus was 0.7% illuminated at this point, Mercury by contrast was 96% illuminated.

Venus and Mercury setting

Image: Paul Evans

IAA History

The eagle-eyed may have noticed a new tab on the drop-down menu - "IAA History". This is a work in progress - the Webmaster is pulling together, piece by piece, some items of history related to the past of the Association. Thus far we have records of Awards given by the Association together with past Presidents going back to the establishment of the Belfast centre of the Irish Astronomical Society in 1946.

In progress are the collection of all past officials and past speakers, as well as an improved archive of "Stardust", the quarterly magazine of the Association, so keep an eye on this new Tab - it will expand in months to come!

Membership

Members are reminded that membership fees will be due for the 2012/13 year as of 1st September. Rates are of course the same as last year and are as follows:-

Single membership: £20 or €25

Family Membership (all members of a family at one address): £25 or €30

This includes an unmatched programme of lectures, observing nights, other events and a subscription to our highly regarded quarterly magazine, "Stardust", delivered to your door.

You can now join or renew your IAA Membership online by PayPal or Credit or Debit card online here...

(c) Irish Astronomical Association 2012 - All Rights Reserved