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ARTICLE: Venus Transit 2004
by Lucien Grober

Click here for Luxemburgish Version

AAL's Transit Observation Results


Check out the reports and pictures from our members and friends in the forums (Sightings) and the Gallery click on Transits

Divx video from the AAL observation site. Thanks to our member Georges Kessler!

A special thanks to all the people involved!

1) A rare phenomena

Venus will undoubtedly put it's mark in astronomy's history books when it passes in front of the Sun on June 8. 2004. A Transit of Venus is indeed so rare, that the last passage occurred as far back as 1882. As the chronicles tell us, we owe the first prediction of this rare phenomena to Kepler in 1631.
However, the first observations were made by Horrocks and Crabtree during the transit of December 4. 1639 from Hoole in England.

As the centuries rolled on, the observations of the Transits of Venus regularly saw important scientific expeditions set off to remote places of the world to determine the astronomical unit or distance between the Sun and Earth ( see Special Topic " The adventurous search for the astronomical unit")

Nowadays, the astronomical unit has been fixed by sending powerful radar pulses to Venus and measuring the time it takes for the waves to bounce back to Earth. That distance is now known to be 149.597.870 Kms.

The transit of December 6. 1882 was also the first one enabling the general public to participate either indirectly via the press or by observing in its own right.
This year's transit can be watched entirely on our globe from China to Westen Europe, thus involving a large part of the world's population.
The next transit will take place on June 6. 2012. However it will not be observable from Luxembourg. After that there will be no more until 2117.

2) Important safety warnings

When it comes to observing the Sun or a Transit, uncompromising safety measures have to be taken to avoid harm to your eyes:

a) Visual observation : Only with special eclipse shades ( do not use those ones you still have from the 1999's solar eclipse because it does no more protect you properly )
b) Protect your front lenses of binos or telescopes with a specially coated film ( transmission 1/100.000 )
c) Use special tools like " solar scope "
d) Use special solar telescopes equipped with H- alpha filters.

3) The observation program of the Astronomes Amateurs du Luxembourg (AAL) in partnership with the "Musée d'histoire naturelle"

The observations of our club are part of ESO's VT 2004 Network.

Our club will set up it's public transit observatory beside the chapel of St. Donatus between Beidweiler and Eschweiler on June 8. 2004 from 06:30 A.M. on.
Amongst the different instruments there will be solar shades, specially protected binos and telescopes.

The general public and media are welcome to share with us this event. No specific knowledge is required to participate.

Due to the size of Venus, the planet can be seen with solar shades already. It's size will be 57.8" or roughly 1/30 of the sun's diameter.

Main telescopic events will be the determination of the first contact, the second contact with the mysterious black drop effect, third contact and finally the fourth contact.
Herafter the main transit data ( all times in Central European Sunlight Saving Time ):

1. contact ( transit begins ) : 07:19 53 s with a solar altitude of 15.5 degrees
2. contact (planet fully within solar disc) : 07:39 39 s with a solar altitude of 18.6 degrees
Maximum of transit: 10:22 38 s with a solar altitude of 44.6.degrees
3. contact (planet touches disk's limb): 13:03 58 s with a solar altitude of 63 degrees
4. contact ( transit ends): 13:23 26 s with a solar altitude of 63.6.degrees

4) Weather forecasts

Relying on statistical documents, the transit date will precede a spell of usually cool and clouded weather taking place before the summer solstice. There might be a fair chance to observe this historic event, at least partially.

Venus Transit Links:

ESO'S VT 2004 Site

Musée national d'histoire naturelle, VT-2004 Node for Luxembourg

VT-2004 Network Members for Luxembourg

Naturschoul Lasauvage Luxbg.

Site de Schifflange Luxbg.


astro!info VT Site

German Site with many Links and Information

Site in french language

Passage de Vénus devant le SoleiI IMCCE

Transit Information in english

Venus 2004 website in french, english and portuguese

Transits of Venus - The Quest for the Solar Parallax

Transits of Venus and Mercury -1000 to + 4000

Welkom op dé Vlaamse website over de venusovergang van 8 juni

De Nederlandse transit website


ESO's VT Webcast

Klipsi's VT Webcast

Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers (LU)

Lycée Technique Josy Barthel (LU)

Live Coverage from Exploratorium Edu

DER TRANSIT LIVE IM WEB - lots of Links to Livecasts

Venus transit observed by TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer)


Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers Report

Lycée Technique Josy Barthel Mamer Report

Naturschoul Lasauvage Luxbg. Fotoe vum Venus-Transit

Venus transit on 8 June 2004 observed by the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE)

Images from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST)

Webcast Images and Movies from Oslo

SOHO movie (2.4MB)

The 2004 Transit of Venus Spaceweather Gallery

Atmosphere of Venus Image


ESO Video Clips and Animations

Venus Transit 2004: A Tremendous Success

About the Author - Lucien Grober
Language may vary from the one used in the article.
Lucien is an industrial engineer and has been an avid amateur astronomer since 20 years.
He is AAL member since 1980 and club secretary since 1997.

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October 2021 Starting out with Astrophotography
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May 2008 De Summerstärenhimmel
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September 2006 Ein aussergewöhnlicher Abend mit John Dobson in Saarlouis
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April 2006 Total Solar Eclipse 2006
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May 2004 Venus Transit 2004
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April/May 2002 Die Roche’sche Grenze
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Apr/May 2001 Das Foucault'sche Pendelexperiment
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Feb/Mar 2001 The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
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Jan 2001 Die Jagd nach Exo-Planeten
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Sep/Oct 2000 Entdecker des Sonnensystems
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Jun/Jul 2000 Comet Linear Special
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Apr/May 2000 The Adventurous Search For The Astronomical Unit
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Mar 2000 Why the moon always shows us the same face
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