Equipment failures prevented me from getting decent photos of the Transit of Venus on Tuesday, but the family and I still had fun spotting the shadow of Venus against the orange disc of the sun with the solar shades I picked up.
Given it would be over a hundred years before the next transit, and the kids were too young to catch it the first time around, I thought it might be a good experience for them. I took a long lunch break from work and rode out to Peoria’s Lakeview Museum and planetarium to pick up solar viewing shades, and borrowed a telescope from the science class at the school I work for.
The telescope was meant to project an image of the sun on some poster board, but I could not get a good image. It turned out the telescope was missing a lens or an eyepiece and had no focus. I improvised with my 55-250mm camera lens, but its results were sketchy at best.
At least the solar shades worked out. We expected Venus’s silhouette to be a bit bigger given the illustrations I had seen, but we spotted it. The Squirt noticed it first, in fact, and then the rest of us knew what to look for.
I didn’t know the Lakeview Museum existed until Monday night, and had no idea Peoria had a planetarium. My oldest son found the schedule I picked up, and he wants to go check it out. So, as a bonus, we now have another family event planned for some day in the near future.
All in all it was a fun night, and the kids got to learn something. Given even their own children may not be around for the next Transit, I hope it’s a memory that will stick with them as they get older.