Three stunning views of the transit

This was taken by the Japanese Hinode satellite. You can see more Hinode pictures here.

As always, click to enlarge.

Hinode is a joint JAXA/NASA mission to study the connections of the sun’s surface magnetism, primarily in and around sunspots. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages Hinode science operations and oversaw development of the scientific instrumentation provided for the mission by NASA, and industry. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., is the lead U.S. investigator for the X-ray Telescope.

And I couldn’t resist this one (you can see a ton of varied and cool transit pictures at Totally Cool

A plane flies past the planet Venus as it makes its transit across the sun over Vienna. HEINZ-PETER BADER/REUTERS

And yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day by Chris Hetlage:

In this sharp telescopic view from Georgia, USA, a narrowband H-alpha filter was used to show the round planetary disk against a mottled solar surface with dark filaments, sunspots, and prominences. Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Hetlage


  1. daveau
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I will absolutely guarantee you that the third picture is why Ben Goren wants a Hydrogen-alpha filter for his camera. He must have spent 45 minutes talking with AU astronomy students about it at Meteor Crater, the day before the eclipse. The reason it was only 45 minutes is because I insisted that we actually go see the crater before the place closed, since we had paid our admission and all.

    • daveau
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink


  2. David T.
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    So in these pictures would I be right in saying that Venus appears about 4x larger than its actual size in relation to the sun? (Sort of like the moon appears 400x larger than its actual size in relation to the sun).

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      min. Earth to Venus = 38M km
      Earth to Sun = 150M km
      150/38 = 3.95

      Therefore when Venus is between the Earth & the Sun it appears to be approx 4 times wider than if it were at 150M km distance

      • David T.
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I was thinking, just making sure I was calculating it right.

        When you shrink that venus dot down 4x and think the earth is about the same size it really puts things into perspective, shows just how insignificant we are.

  3. Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    These are beautiful–I love the plane cutting across in the one shot.

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      The people in that plane are probably unaware that their plane barely missed Venus. (At least, if you believe the caption of that photo).

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        I’m assuming it’s one of Xenu’s interstellar DC-8s.

  4. Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “Hinode” [日の出] of course being Japanese for “sunrise” (literally the “coming out” of the sun).

  5. LicoriceAllsort
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Do any others look at these photos and think of this?

  6. Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    My favourite, here.


  7. saguhh00
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Another victory for science. When has religion given us anything even remotely like this?

    • isomorphismes
      Posted June 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      A 125-year occasion of everyone marvelling at Nature is probably a great time to poke a stick in the eye of the other side of a debate.

  8. Mary Gnusader Canada
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Mind-blowing stuff!

  9. isomorphismes
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    First time I took the care to notice sunspots!

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