After all the anticipation and wait, the day finally arrived. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as the next transit of Venus will happen in the Christmas of 2117. The weather decided to play menace, with threatening clouds and high heat. However, we weren’t just going to cringe and we went to the planned location with a camera and solar filter anyway. With the clouds showing up every now and then, the temperature at 96 F, and after 958 photos it was a tough day, but in the end it was well worth the pain. Here are few of the memorable photographs from the rarest of the celestial event of our time.
On June 5, (or June 6, depending on your Geo-location) the lovely and beautiful Venus will pop up in-between the Earth and the Sun, eclipsing a tiny portion (1/32 the size of the solar disk) of the Sun. The rarest of all eclipses, known as the “Transit of Venus,” last happened in 2004. So, you may think — why is it labeled “rare,” as it is repeating after only 8 years (not so significant compared to the average human life-span)? Well, it is predicted that the next transit will only happen again in December 2117 which is about 105 years from now, making this transit of Venus the last one of this century. As it turns out, this rare celestial event is also one of the most accurately predictable one! The transits happen in pairs which are separated by 8 years and the pattern of paired-transit itself repeats every 243 years.
I consider myself very lucky to have witnessed the longest Solar Eclipse of the 21st century on July 22, 2009, which I saw from Varanasi, India. Scientists have predicated that such an event is not going to repeat until June 2132. I was reminded of my experience of that amazing celestial event, when I once again observed an annular solar eclipse the day before yesterday during sunset, which was partially visible from Dallas, Texas. The following post is an account of my experiences of the solar eclipse in 2009.
Coincidentally, I was already in India during that time, so I decided to travel to Varanasi, which is one of the oldest cities in the world, to observe the eclipse. The magnificent show of nature, lasted for 6 minutes 38 seconds in places which coincided with the point of maximum eclipse. The eclipse was visible from a narrow corridor through northern Maldives, northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, central China, and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati.
(Continue to read more about the event, some more photographs and about solar eclipse photography)
I was waiting patiently for something interesting to happen on the street, looking through the viewfinder of my camera while squatting on the small staircase on the rooftop of my home in Kolkata. It was a summer afternoon and the heat had ensured that most humans were inside their adobe, leaving the streets empty. After a long wait, I finally saw two boys (friends I assume) approaching on a bicycle. Although the subject was not very interesting, I almost felt like I hit upon an oasis after the long wait, prompting me to immediately visualize the scene in a very idyllic setting — I didn’t care about the details any more, all I wanted was to capture the feeling. I felt that the best way to capture the feeling at that moment was to move away from a sharp photograph. I reduced the shutter speed and shook the camera just a little to get the impressionistic effect.