
The 2012 International Transit of Venus Reobservation Undergraduate Thesis 2009 by Matthew Cooper Supervised by Dr Craig Roberts 
Venus in transit * 
Collaborating data Collaboration of transit
observations and results For 2012, it would be ideal to have collaboration
between different observers around the world, with a common location to send
observation data. This could be achieved by setting up a web site in which
all observers of the 2012 transit can deposit videos of the transit, images,
and any timing results collected. The web page should include a program to
calculate the Astronomical Unit, or link to such a program. One example of an
online site where a user can enter transit timing results and calculate a
value for the Astronomical Unit is Steven van Roode’s Online Parallax
Calculator, found at http://www.transitofvenus.nl/parallax.html.
A detailed set of mathematical formulae to
accurately derive the AU from Halley’s method is examined in Venustransit
2004 by Heinz Blatter. The mathematics is quite complex, but the formulae
take into account more variables that affect the result. This leads to a more
accurate solution of the AU. Venustransit 2004 can be found here. Conclusion Observing the transit of Venus in 2012 will be of
benefit to any student or professional with an interest in astronomy, as it
will serve as a modernday spectacle showing how science has progressed since
early astronomers used the transits of Venus to determine the scale of the
solar system. A modern day reobservation of the transit of Venus
should build on the previous work of the astronomers who observed transits
throughout the previous centuries, as well as recent observations of the last
transit. It should utilise the modern technology available in order to
produce a better result of the astronomical unit. Observing the 2012 transit using video image capture
through a telescope will provide a means of permanently recording the results
of the transit, with the benefit of postprocessing of the event to determine
the astronomical unit as possible. Matching time through digital insertion
will provide timing quality that will lead to better results than were
possible in the times before such technology, since such methods are already
widely used to accurately time occultations of planets and other stellar
objects. It is beneficial for science to have a permanent
record of such an event in digital form that can be returned to and
reevaluated in the future. Such data could be highly useful for astronomical
education, generating interest in astronomy and the solar system, and
continuing a welldocumented history of transit observations since 1639. Further research A potential area for further research is in
calculating the astronomical unit in 2012. Formulae behind calculating this
value should be carefully examined, ensuring that all assumed values about
the geometry of the planets and the Sun are valid in June 2012, as much of
the current literature and calculation guides available refer to the 2004 transit.
Also, calculations of the Astronomical Unit (AU) are performed for one pair
of locations at a time. If many places observe the transit, many different
possible combinations of AU calculation are possible. An efficient method
should be devised to choose pairs of observations from locations as far
separated as possible, and perhaps averages made to produce a final mean
Astronomical Unit value for 2012. 
Quick Facts
about the 2012 Transit of Venus Transit will commence at approximately 22:00 (Universal Time) Transit duration will be about 6 hours 40 minutes (Times above are approximate and will vary according to observer’s
location) For Sydney: First contact: 8:16 AM Last contact: 2:44 PM 



Matthew Cooper 2009 Last modified 30 October 2009 