Transit of Venus as seen from JSC

The Transit of Venus event as seen from Rocket Park at JSC. Photo credit: Mark Sowa/JSC.
The Transit of Venus event as seen from Rocket Park at JSC. Photo credit: Mark Sowa/JSC.
On June 5 at sunset, the planet Venus passed between the Sun and Earth, producing a silhouette that no one alive today will likely ever see again. The event lasted approximately seven hours, and planet Venus appeared as a black circle gliding across the face of the sun. The Transit of Venus is among the rarest astronomical phenomena and won't happen again for more than 100 years. The last time this event occurred was on June 8, 2004.

This very rare occurrence comes in pairs, each pair separated by more than a hundred years. The June 2012 transit is the second of the 2004-2012 pair and won't be repeated until the year 2117.

Mark Sowa, JSC photographer, captured some images of the stellar event from Rocket Park using a Nikon D3 with a 600mm lens with a 2x converter (~1200mm). Camera was set to ISO 200 at 1/8000 second with an aperture of f/45 on daylight white balance.

“I knew a lot of folks from across the globe would capture clear photos of Venus transiting the sun, so I wanted to capture something that also reflected upon JSC,” Sowa said. “After scouting various locations with my co-worker Tom Scarsella, we realized the Mercury Redstone rocket would line up perfectly to the setting sun. I thought the clouds along the horizon would block the view, but in turn they only enhanced the photo. The JSC Photo Lab did a great job processing the images and getting them out onto the Web. It gave JSC some good exposure during this rare celestial event.”

Neesha Hosein
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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Updated: 06/20/2012