Venus transits the sun, 5 June 2012:

The 2012 transit of Venus occured at a more favorable time of day than the 2004 transit (see below). This time the transit started before sunset, and was still going on at that time. (The sun is setting behind a tree in the last of the three photos above.)

One can clearly see Venus and its progress across the face of the sun. Also visible are five sunspots.

Starting just after 6pm EDT, there was time to set up a small telescope to observe the transit. The image from the sun was projected against a white piece of poster board. Many neighbors and a number of passers-by gathered to watch.

And of course many videos of the event were soon posted.

Venus transits the sun, 8 June 2004:

These pictures were taken at approximately 7AM EDT 8 June 2004 from our attic window in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA. The transit was already well under way by the time the sun rose here. Venus is the dark spot near the right edge of the sun.

We used a pair of binoculars to project an image of the sun against a sheet of paper. These images were captured by taking a picture of the projection with a digital camera. The sun is bright enough that internal refelctions within the binoculars produce a secondary image.

There were several tricks of patience required to do this on the spur without any real equipment. One must align the binoculars and hold them and the paper onto which they project steady. One must focus the image the binoculars cast, and maintain the separation between binoculars and paper once focussed. This is moderately challenging physcially, as we had to hold things at awkward angles for our location. Ironically, the hardest part in taking these images proved to be convincing the autofocus of the digital camera to actually focus on the image on the paper. The real thing was not as fuzzy as it appears here.

The bottom picture shows the end of the transit, just as Venus hits the edge of the disk of the sun.

Also see the reconstruction of the transit of 1882 (uses real photos taken at the time).

I would expect animations of the 2004 transit to appear on the web shortly...

Like this one