I’ve got an image of the Venus Transit that I want to share with you.
No, it’s not an ultra-high-res image from some NASA spacecraft. No, it wasn’t taken in exotic narrow-band wavelengths to reveal strange details on the Sun’s photosphere and corona. It didn’t even have airplanes dramatically passing through the field of view.
Nope, my new favorite image of the transit was captured by the Wheeler family, who drove to the Dimple Dell Recreation Center in Sandy (our south-valley viewing location for the transit) in hopes of seeing a rare celestial marvel.
It had been a dismal afternoon. The wind was howling and it was COLD. The skies were lead-gray with heavy, turbulent clouds.
Most maddening, phone calls and texts coming in from people in the Provo/Orem area, just 20 miles south of us, were telling tales of fantastic views of Venus gliding majestically across the Sun.
The Wheeler tribe, consisting of Alan and his wife, Rocio, and their sons Ivan and Itzhak, pulled up in a big SUV and they approached me with questions about whether or not I thought we’d be able to see anything.
It occurred to me that even though I was stuck in Sandy, they didn’t have to be. I shoved some solar viewing glasses in their hands and said, “Leave here now. Get back on the freeway and head south until you can see the Sun shining. When you can see the Sun, find a place to pull over and watch the transit. Get moving! Skedaddle!” Which they did.
And then about an hour later they came back. They were so excited!
They’d gone down I-15 into Utah County, found sunlight, and watched the transit. Best of all, Alan Wheeler had some kind of “Aha!” moment and tried to photograph the transit by holding one lens from the solar viewing glasses in front of his camera lens.
Holy Cow! It worked! He had no tripod or sun-tracking hardware. He had no custom solar filter. He had no monster telephoto lens on his camera. He totally winged it, and yet, he got the shot! That little black dot on the Sun is Venus! Amazing!
That’s something everyone in the Wheeler family will remember for a very long time.
And if that isn’t enough wonderfulness for you, at about 8:15 the Sun was low enough in the west that it peaked out from beneath the cloud layers and gave those of us still there a terrific view. The low angle of the Sun and the dark skies above made for a very dramatic experience.
It was completely wonderful!
Thanks for coming, everyone!