The transit of Venus, 2012 June 5–6

Paper by Peter Macdonald (JBAA 121, 3, 2011) describing the circumstances of this year’s transit and its visibility from the British Isles:

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DON’T ever look at the Sun without proper eye protection.


DON’T view the Sun through sunglasses of any type (single or multiple pairs) or filters made of black & white or colour photographic film or any combination of photographic filters, crossed polarisers or gelatin filters, CDs, CD-ROMs or smoked glass. These are NOT safe.


DO view the Sun ONLY through special filters made for safe solar viewing, eg aluminised Mylar filters or black polymer filters, identified as suitable for direct viewing of the Sun, bearing the CE mark AND a statement that it conforms to European Community Directive 89/686/EEC or use a welder’s glass rated at No 14 or higher. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.


Do check filters fore any damage BEFORE use. DON’T use them if they are scuffed, scratched or there are any pinholes in them.


DO place any filter firmly up at your eyes BEFORE looking at the Sun and DON’T remove it until AFTER looking away.


DON’T stare through the special filter for more than 3 minutes at a time trying to locate the planet while it is in transit. Intermittent use of a filter over several hours is the best way to view the event.


Even with the special filter placed over your eyes, DON’T ever look at the Sun through any optical instrument eg telecope, binoculars or camera. Such devices concentrate the Sun’s harmful radiation and will cause severe eye damage in a fraction of a second. Filters identified as suitable for direct viewing of the Sun are NOT safe for use in conjuction with any optical instrument.

If you are not certain that a filter is approved and safe, or you have any other doubts DON’T USE IT

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