On 6 June, an event that takes place only four times every two centuries will enthral the world’s astronomers, as it has ever since the 1600s – but now it can provide priceless data in the hunt for habitable planets in deep space and in re-measuring the distance of the sun from Earth.
Venus will appear as a tiny speck on one side of the Sun in a few weeks and will slowly traverse the solar disc for a few hours. The movement of that little black dot may seem insignificant. But it is one of the rarest sights in astronomy, an event known as a transit of Venus. Miss this one and you will have to wait until 2117 for the next.
Image credit: NASA/LMSAL
As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible. On average, there are 13 transits of Mercury each century. In contrast, transits of Venus occur in pairs with more than a century separating each pair.
For Northern Hemisphere locations above latitude ~67° north (including the Philippines) all of the transit is visible regardless of the longitude.
A lot of astronomy-enthusiasts globally are preparing for this rare event. Some are even planning to travel in places where the transit will be fully visible.
As part of this preparation, visibility maps of the transit were created by volunteer groups to guide local observers. One of the efforts is called the Transit of Venus Project which is part of the Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) program. AWB is a global collaboration in astronomy.
Aside from providing useful information to the public about this event, the TOV Project also aims to form a collection of translated maps of the 2012 transit of Venus for different languages so that the transit of Venus will be enjoyed by more people around the world. Of course, some people would appreciate a map in their own native language.
Michael Zeiler of Eclipse-maps.com (and also one of the curators of the TOV Project website) sent me a message via Twitter asking for help with translating a summary map of the transit of Venus (June 5-6, 2012) into Filipino.
Here is a copy of the map:
These are the phrases to translate: World visibility of the transit of Venus on June 5 & 6, 2012 Venus overhead at transit maximum Entire transit visible Transit not visible Transit starts before sunset and ends after following sunrise Transit starts before sunrise and ends after sunset Transit visible from sunrise until end Transit visible from start until sunset Venus touches Sun’s disk at sunrise Venus within Sun’s disk at sunrise Venus within Sun’s disk at sunset Venus touches Sun’s disk at sunset
I made a draft of the translation in Filipino and consulted some professors from the Filipino Department of UP Diliman. Upon deciding that it the translated words were good enough, I emailed everything to Mr. Zeiler and he produced this map containing the translated phrases.
6 June 2012 Transit of Venus Visibility Map in our local language, Filipino. Credit: (map) Michael Zeiler/(translation) Raven Yu
Please take note that some of the phrases were not translated into its direct meaning but more of its contextual meaning so as not to confuse the map users.
Check out this link to view the translated maps of the 2012 transit of Venus for different languages.
If your language is not provided, you can help add a new map by following the simple instructions at this page.
You can also find local contact times of the transit at http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/.
Remember that it is not safe to view the sun directly because it might damage your eyes. Read here for tips on how to safely view and photograph the transit using the right equipment and proper eye protection.
Don’t miss this rare spectacle! 🙂 Clear skies!