Expedition for Venus Transit 2012

On the morning of 06th of June 2012 Sri Lanka witnessed a rare event of the astronomy calendar, the transit of planet Venus over the solar disk. Provided the difference of the eccentricity and the deviation of the Venus’s orbit from those of the Earth, the alignment of these celestial bodies is rare and hence occurs in pairs with a period of 112 years.

The Mathematical & Astronomical Society (MAS) of University of Colombo had made arrangements for the coverage of this last Venus transit of the century for us, earthlings. MAS had 2 teams deployed at 2 locations in the island for the observation of this rare astronomical phenomenon, next of which is to happen in 2117. There was a team located at the University premises in capital Colombo while another team, was on an expedition at Trincomalee in the eastern coast of the island together with Professor Chandana Jayarathne.

working at venus transit

working for the live webcast before Venus transit

As usual Spode’s law in astronomy came into effect at both the locations, as the team in Trincomalee had few layers of clouds across the horizon for almost a couple of hours after the dawn whereas it was rainy in the early morning in Colombo and clouds persisted more than half the observable time of the transit. Nevertheless waiting paid off finally and it was possible to play with telescopes, cameras and lenses.

MAS also offered a live broadcast through internet during the transit with live feeds from telescopes mounted in Trincomalee and Colombo along with an educational discussion as the Venus was traversing though the Solar disk. Despite the clouds and other technical difficulties MAS members managed make quality images of the Venus transit, especially with the contact 3 and 4.

Colombo outreach event for the Venus Transit 2012 at university of Colombo

Colombo outreach event for the Venus Transit 2012 at university of Colombo

Additionally there were outreach activities, especially in Trincomalee for students of the schools in the vicinity and there were extending queues of students flocking together at the observation
site, located close to the Uppuweli beach in Trincomalee. Safe observational techniques were used during this course and students were made aware of the transit and its significance.

Expedition team at Trincomalee

Expedition team at Trincomalee

A detailed report with more pictures is available here :- http://astronomad.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Venus_Transit_2012_Full_Report_MAS_UoC.pdf

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