Transit of Venus across our view of the sun

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Comments (18)

Ian Stehbens on June 7, 2012

This is my attempt at photographing the transit of Venus. It was photographed at 8:30 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012 from Mooloolaba, Queensland.

The transit of Venus is quite significant in Australian history because it was in 1769, that Captain James Cook, Joseph Banks and Dr Solander and their crew were sent to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus as part of an international cooperative effort to calculate the distance from earth to sun. Having accomplished their purpose in Tahiti, they then sailed on in search of "The Great South Land" and in April 1770 saw the east coast of Australia... and the rest is history!

Ian Stehbens on June 7, 2012

In the 18th Century, astronomer Sir Edmond Halley realized that by observing transits from widely spaced locations on Earth, it would be possible to triangulate the distance to Venus. The idea galvanized scientists, who set off on expeditions around the world to view a pair of transits in the 1760s. James Cook was sent to Tahiti, a place as alien to 18th century Europeans as moon or Mars. He succeeded in observing the transit, but the international experiment did not succeed in calculating the distance due to the inadequacies of measuring and recording the image that was seen. It took another 2 centuries before modern telescopes were able to provide the data sufficient for the calculation.

Cook's voyage along the east coast of Australia, was a momentous exploration for Europeans and resulted in the colonisation of Australia.

My photograph was taken from the east coast of Australia, at a place that was observed by Cook and his crew on May 9th, 1770.

gezginruh on June 7, 2012

Dearest Ian,

WOWWWW!!! This is a great chance!!!! The transit of Venus was yesterday morning in Istanbul. But unfortunately the weather was rainy. Really a spectacular view. Thank you for the sharing

Warm greetings

jeff_msn123 on June 7, 2012

Great capture of such precious chance. LIKE

Cheers, Jeff

Ian Stehbens on June 8, 2012

Dear .

I was very fortunate that a man with a telescope was prepared to let us observe the transit and to allow me to photograph and create this image. It was a significant moment.


Ian Stehbens on June 8, 2012

Thanks Jeff. For those of us who live on the east coast of Australia, this has special significance because of the 1769-70 voyage of Captain Cook and our subsequent British colonial history. I won't get another opportunity!



bdeh on June 8, 2012

Great capture Ian, you'll never see this again. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on June 8, 2012

Never again, Berend. I am pleased I took an interest in photographing the event.


Geerten on June 9, 2012

wow, lucky you!! great. indeed a lot of important history's come together in this image, very special

bluenose11 on June 9, 2012

Hi Ian Stehbens, Just wonderful, well captured

Greetings from Toronto- Anna

Brian Gymer on June 11, 2012

Ian you were lucky to witness it rained here..Brian.

Cris Brazzelli on June 11, 2012

Hi Ian, what filter did you use if I may ask?

Ian Stehbens on June 12, 2012

Greetings Geerten. I am delighted to be able to share the image with you. I was fortunate.


Ian Stehbens on June 12, 2012

Hello Anna. It is lovely to receive your appreciative comment and greetings.

Thank you.


Ian Stehbens on June 12, 2012

It was a beautifully clear and gentle day, all day, Brian, but the weather before and since has been less pleasant. Glad that I could record the transit, thanks to another who had a telescope.


Ian Stehbens on June 12, 2012

Hi Cris,

As for filter, I was simply using a polarizer for the photography; the image was generated by reflecting a telescopic image onto a rubber membrane.


Cris Brazzelli on June 13, 2012

That is indeed a curious technique. I hope you can show me how to do it one day.

Ian Stehbens on June 13, 2012

Here is one method that works well, Cris.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on June 7, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens