Video – NASA | SDO’s Ultra-high Definition View of 2012 Venus Transit. (June 5 2012).

Seeing these pictures is like a time machine. We link onto those who have seen it years ago, as well those who will see it centuries from now.” (link)

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.

On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event–the transit of Venus across the face of the sun.  This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years.  The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum.  The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light.  304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.

Fig. – Handout image by NASA (click to enlarge) shows the planet Venus at the start of its transit of the Sun, June 5, 2012. One of the rarest astronomical events occurs on Tuesday and Wednesday when Venus passed directly between the Sun and Earth, a transit that won’t occur again until 2117, 105 years from now. The first observation of the Transit of Venus was made by Salford stargazer William Crabtree in 1639 (mural drawing at Manchester Town Hallby by Ford Madox Brown – image from Wikipedia).