On June 5, 2012, at precisely 22:06 UT, Venus began its transit of the sun’s disk as viewed from the 1700-meter high Mount Wilson Observatory atop the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, California; the last time it will happen until 2117. AWB founder and President, Mike Simmons joined astrophysicist and space science producer for Discovery News, Ian O’Neill as AWB video hosts for the event. Venus’ first contact with the solar limb, and its progress across the sun’s granulated, shimmering surface, was broadcast from Mt. Wilson’s 150’ solar telescope, the world’s largest of its kind. Sharp, H-alpha images were also viewed through many historic masterpieces of the telescope maker’s art from the 19th and 20th Centuries, mounted on the observatory grounds under the day’s nearly cloudless skies.

Since Galileo Galilei’s first astronomical observations in 1609, Venus transits, which come in pairs separated by a few years, have only been visible from Earth on six occasions. Of critical importance was Captain James Cook’s Pacific Ocean cruise to observe the April 13, 1769 Venus transit from Tahiti to hone his era’s astronomical measurements of the Earth-Sun distance. According to Ian O’Neill the June 5, 2012 sightings will serve as a precision analog for calibration of the Kepler Space Telescope’s occultation search for exo-planets.

Mt. Wilson Observatory Director, Dr. Hal McAllister, said “It is wonderful watching this gem of a thing happen, live before our eyes.”

This short video features some of the days highlights from the Transit of Venus that was broadcast from Mt Wilson to over 600,000 remote viewers around the world.