This movie shows the transit of Venus on 5-6 June 2012 as seen from SWAP, a Belgian solar imager onboard ESAâ€™s Proba-2 microsatellite. SWAP, watching the Sun in EUV light, observes Venus as a small, black circle, obscuring the EUV light emitted from the solar outer atmosphere - the corona - from 19:45UT onwards. At 22:16UT - Venus started its transit of the solar disk
The bright dots all over the image ('snow storm') are energetic particles hitting the SWAP detector when Proba-2 crosses the South Atlantic Anomaly, a region where the protection of the Earth magnetic field against space radiation is known to be weaker.
Note also the small flaring activity in the bright active region in the northern solar hemisphere as Venus passes over. Towards the end, you can see a big dim inverted-U-shape moving away from the Sun towards the bottom-right corner. This is a coronal mass ejection taking off.
Last contact for 105 years
After seven hours of dedicated observing â€“ often grabbing opportunities between breaks in the cloud â€“ our Svalbard team watched Venus leave the solar disc. The next transit of Venus will not be visible from Earth until 2117.
Third contact - can you see the black drop effect? Credit: Michel Breitfellner and Miguel Perez Ayucar
Venus Express and the transit of Venus
Venus Express project scientist HÃ¥kan Svedhem watches the transit
ESA's Venus Express project scientist HÃ¥kan Svedhem observes the transit of Venus from Svalbard as Venus Express â€“ the only spacecraft orbiting Venus at the moment â€“ prepares to take its solar occultation measurements. During these measurements sunlight will filter through Venus' atmosphere, revealing the concentration of different gas molecules at different altitudes. This technique is also used to probe the atmospheres of planets outside of our Solar System â€“ exoplanets â€“ to determine their potential habitability. Simultaneous ground-based measurements will be compared with Venus Express data to test techniques used to characterise rocky Earth-sized planets.
Proba-2′s ringside seat
Proba-2 continues to watch the solar spectacular from its ringside seat in low-Earth orbit.
Transit of Venus on ESA TV!
Our luck continues in Svalbard and between patchy cloud we are being treated to splendid views of Venus as it passes in front of the Sun. Here's a shot through the ESA TV camera...look closely, it's approaching the 11 o'clock position!
“We got it!”
credits: Michel Breitfellner and Miguel Perez Ayucar/ESAC.
It may be cloudy, but we were still able to see some of the first moments of the 2012 transit of Venus here in Svalbard thanks to ESAC'sÂ Michel Breitfellner and Miguel Perez Ayucar, who haveÂ solar and optical telescopes equipped with cameras. Their images from Svalbard and from colleagues located on the other side of the world in Canberra, Australia, will be uploaded hereÂ throughout the night, so do keep watching!
Proba-2 sees Venus approach the Sun
First glimpse of Venus by ESA's Proba-2 space satellite
Proba-2's SWAP imager sees clearly the first signs of the Venus disc in its field of view, at 1945 UT. The Venus disc projection is visible at a distance a little less than 1 solar radii; note this is not an interaction with the solar corona, but the absorption of EUV radiation of the Venus disc between the Sun and the SWAP imager.
Local transit celebrations
No doubt the explorers of the long transit expeditions of the 18th century found ways to entertain themselves while they waited to make their precious measurements. Here in Svalbard the locals are counting down the final hour to transit with renditions from the local choir, husky rides, and hot chocolates all round!
There is certainly a feeling of excitement and celebration of this historical event, despite heavy cloud cover.
Transit minus 60 minutes
With an hour to first contact, the Svalbard ground teams are making their very last preparations and hoping the breaks in the clouds are favourable for viewing some â€“ if not all â€“ of the transit tonight.
Appetites for Venus and transits were whet during the public lecture program held earlier this evening, which saw over 50 locals turn out to learn about the rare astronomical event, hoping to witness it for themselves.
Svalbard: home to satellite tracking station
Set far within the Arctic circle, the midnight sun makes Svalbard the perfect location to witness the whole of the transit of Venus tonight. But did you know that this location is also home to the Svalbard Satellite Station complex? Operated by Kongsberg Satellite Services AS (KSAT), it is the only satellite station that can track all 14 daily passes of polar-orbiting satellites, which included ESA's Envisat until the mission ended last month.
In this view, four domes of the tracking station are just visible.