Jodrell Bank Observatory - Transit of Venus 2004

Observing the Transit

The Sun is a very dangerous object to observe as it can easily damage your eyes. You should never look directly at the Sun and this page is provided to show alternative ways in which to enjoy the transit.

You can make your own 'helioscope' with a telescope, binoculars or even a shoebox. With a telescope, use the sun's shadow to point the telescope. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN, ESPECIALLY THROUGH A TELESCOPE! Put a piece of white card or paper a couple of inches away from the eyepiece and move the telescope around until you can see the full disk of the sun. Once you can see the full image, sharpen the image by using your telescope's focus dial.

Animation showing how to make a pinhole camera from a shoeboxYou can do the same thing with some binoculars, but remember to cover one of the eyepieces over, or else you will see two images. If you don't have access to either a telescope or a set of binoculars, make a pinhole camera. Poke a small hole in a shoebox and point this towards the sun; you should be able to see the sun's image projected onto the far side of the box.

However you observe the sun, remember that YOU MUST NEVER LOOK AT IT DIRECTLY. You should be able to see Venus moving across as a small dot.