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I’ve held a planet’s shadow in my hand. How you can too.

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posted on Mar, 29 2012 @ 10:49 PM
Sorry no photographic proof from the last time though I’m expecting to have some in June this year.
It sounds almost unbelievable doesn’t it?
Well, it is something that you will be able to do too, if the conditions are right where you are this June 6th. I highly recommend that you do it if you can. It’s hard to explain why, but it feels special knowing I’ve done such a thing that sounds so amazing and I wanted to share this feeling with you.

8th of June 2004, I had set up an eclipse viewer also known as a pinhole projector outside in order to view the Transit of Venus safely. That occurs when the planet Venus passes in front of the Sun, from our view on Earth. It’s not something that happens very often, as Earth and Venus do not share the same orbital plane.

The last Transit of Venus before the 2004 Transit was back in December 1882.

The next Transit of Venus will be in 105.5 years in 2117, then 8 years after that in 2125, then another 121.5 years after that, then 8 years after that one, with this pattern repeating over and over.
8, 121.5, 8, 105.5, 8, 121.5, 8, 105.5, 8, 121.5, 8, 105.5 etc

For those of you who might be around long enough, and for anyone else who is interested, NASA have a full list of Transits of Venus from 2000 BCE to 4000 CE on their website as well as a short description of the transit:
& of course, there is also the wiki:

The eclipse viewer/pinhole projector was made using two A4 sized sheets of card. One white sheet, placed flat and a black one, stuck down to one side of the white sheet forming a hinge join. I made a small round pinhole in the centre of the black card. The Idea was to place it on a table and hold the black card at an angle so the Sun shone through the hole onto the white paper.

It was cloudy where I was when Venus began crossing the Sun but I did get a few breaks in the clouds when the black dot of Venus’ shadow could be seen in the round projection of the Sun on the white paper. By the time the transit had begun, because of the angle of the Sun, I had to modify the projector by sticking the white card on a wall and holding the black card freely in my hand.

Next time, I plan to use a telescope to project the Sun onto a card attached to a frame that moves with the telescope so it won’t matter what angle the Sun will be at.

Anyway, at some point, I had the idea to use my hand as a screen for the bright circle the Sun was projecting through the tiny pinhole in the black card. Then as the round light of the sun was shining in a circle on my hand a small dark dot within that circle could be seen, that was the shadow of Venus.

That was how I held the shadow of the planet Venus in the palm of my hand. And that is how you can do it in June this year, weather and your position on Earth at the time permitting.

I missed my chance of holding Mercury’s shadow during the last Transit of Mercury in 2006. Thankfully they happen more frequently than the Transit of Venus, about 13 to 14 a century, so I’m hoping to hold it too during the next one in 2016 and or after that the one in 2019.

If you miss the 2012 Transit of Venus, you’ll have to wait 105 and a half years to catch the next one for the chance to hold her shadow in your hand. So get your pinhole cards ready and perhaps even head on down to Australia for an even better opportunity to view this magic moment.

posted on Mar, 29 2012 @ 10:55 PM
My birthday is June 5th.

Oooh I'm excited!

posted on Mar, 29 2012 @ 11:03 PM
reply to post by Hammaraxx

Wow, thanks for posting this. Now I'm hoping for a clear day so I can make this happen!

To the 2nd poster in the thread: My bday is also June 5th. Let's do this! ;oP
edit on 3/29/2012 by gemineye because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 29 2012 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by Hammaraxx

Sure... how much did Venus weigh? Just kidding... that's pretty damn cool! I'll have to make a note of the date, and demonstrate that to my grandson.

Star and Flag for you my friend.

See ya,

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 07:49 AM
reply to post by RomeByFire

Mine is June 6
cool beans

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 09:27 AM
Awesome thread dude. I was wondering where the hell this thread was going, lol. Cool little project that I might try to do with my kids. Thanks!

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by Hammaraxx

Excellent post, my friend. I can't believe I never thought of this before.
I also love how you put this in Philosophy and Metaphysics.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 03:31 PM
Mine is June 7th
Cool thread.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 04:27 PM
wow this is really awesome

tho if its visible in austrailia is seems doubtful that it will work in canada as well?

how long does the transit take?
edit on 30-3-2012 by trust_no_one because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 06:53 PM
reply to post by Q:1984A:1776

Originally posted by Q:1984A:1776
I also love how you put this in Philosophy and Metaphysics.

Thank you for noticing. I was sure this was the right forum choice for the subject.
I’ve contemplated the significance of holding Venus’ shadow many times since doing it.
On the surface the act is really a simple one to perform. Although, when you consider all the factors that play a role allowing you to see/do it (time, place, the weather, and your freedom for activity etc.) it is actually a pretty rare event in your lifetime.

To hold the planets shadow is actually something very special although only you can decide its meaning to you.

I also felt that the concept of holding the shadow of a planet in ones hand was closely related to the concept of the Shaman touching the Moon with their shadow during a partial Lunar eclipse which I read about in HOW THE SHAMAN STOLE THE MOON by William H. Calvin (about half way down)

Touching the Moon with my shadow is something else that I would like to do someday. I’ve only tried to do it once but the conditions were not right, too cloudy. It is something I do intend to try again one day.

posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:05 PM
Never in a million years would I ever thought of coming up with that idea but thankfully we have you Hammaraxx right here on ATS to enlighten us with your information!


posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 08:49 PM
reply to post by trust_no_one

Originally posted by trust_no_one
tho if its visible in austrailia is seems doubtful that it will work in canada as well?

how long does the transit take?

The Transit takes just over 6 hours, from June 05 22:09:38 to June 06 04:49:35 Universal Time (±7 min depending on your location). So, don’t worry about being in Canada, you should still be able to view it and hold Venus’ shadow.

Global visibility of the Transit of Venus of 2012 June 5/6
Image by Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC),

The global visibility of the 2012 transit is illustrated with the world map... The entire transit (all four contacts) is visible from northwestern North America, Hawaii, the western Pacific, northern Asia, Japan, Korea, eastern China, Philippines, eastern Australia, and New Zealand. The Sun sets while the transit is still in progress from most of North America, the Caribbean, and northwest South America. Similarly, the transit is already in progress at sunrise for observers in central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and eastern Africa. No portion of the transit will be visible from Portugal or southern Spain, western Africa, and the southeastern 2/3 of South America.
~ Fred Espenak

More Transit of Venus 2012 Online Resources
Australia (includes a countdown to the 2012 Transit.):
Australia, New Zealand, Fiji & Papua New Guinea city times:
Canada (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada):
USA (City times):
Live webcast of the Transit on the day:

posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 08:54 PM
Pretty cool.

posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 06:33 PM
Yes! The Transit is currently underway.
Here are a few webcam live streams I've found so far.

cosmiclog.msnbc Live Stream]

We're lucky to have a clear sky in Melbourne and I've set up the telescope. I'll post some photo's soon.

edit on 5/6/2012 by Hammaraxx because: Added 2 More Webcam Links

posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 06:46 PM
Very cool. I'm stuck at work but I was stupid enough to put on my shades and stare at the sun for a few seconds through the tinted office windows. I saw venus! it was awesome! Totally do not recommend looking at the sun with shades on although you can get away with it once or twice for about 5 seconds at a time.

Also, my birthday is June 3rd. Thread just needs a poster who's b-day is the 4th and we'll have a straight flush ATS style!

posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 06:49 PM

Originally posted by Hammaraxx

This is basically what I'm seeing now, using half of some binoculars.
Patchy clouds, but occasional clear spots.

posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 07:29 PM
reply to post by BASSPLYR

Wow, be careful, your eyes are precious.

I noticed a few years ago, during a partial Solar Eclipse, that you can safely view the Sun from inside the office through the reflection in an old CRT computer monitor. Something with low reflection is ok. But the pinhole method is pretty safe and it works well.

The clouds just covered the Sun here in Melbourne, just as I was about to take photos

We'll see how we go over the next 4 hours.

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