Will residents of Southeast Michigan be able to see the transit of Venus across the sun, or will clouds block the view?
On June 8th, 2004, the planet Venus will cross between the Earth and the sun. The last time this event occurred was over 120 years ago, on December 6th, 1882. Similar to an eclipse, Venus will be visible as a dark spot moving across the disk of the sun. However, because Venus appears much smaller than the moon when viewed from Earth (Venus will be 25 million miles away; the moon is relatively close at 240 thousand miles), it won't have the same impact as a total solar eclipse.
The entire transit of Venus across the sun will take over 6 hours. However, since the transit begins at 05:13 UTC (1:13 am EDT), it will still be night in Southeast Michigan. While we won't be able to see Venus enter the sun's disk, we may be able to see it exit the disk at the end of the transit--as long as skies are clear.
The image to the left (full size) shows the percentage of cloud cover forecast by the National Weather Service for the final hour of the transit, 7 am EDT, June 8th, 2004. In Southeast Michigan, Venus will begin to exit the sun's disk at approximately 7:05 am EDT, and complete its exit at 7:25 am EDT. The table below, courtesy of NASA, shows the sunrise and transit times for a number of cities in Southeast Michigan. Also included is a link to the complete 7-day forecast for that location.
For additional information, please see the transit of Venus site from NASA. Also, remember to never look directly at the sun, not even "just a glance". Information is available on how to safely view the transit.
|City||Sunrise||Venus's exit begins||Venus's exit ends|
|Ann Arbor||05:56 am EDT||7:05:22 am EDT||7:25:25 am EDT|
|Detroit||05:54 am EDT||7:05:23 am EDT||7:25:26 am EDT|
|Flint||05:54 am EDT||7:05:17 am EDT||7:25:20 am EDT|
|Livonia||05:58 am EDT||7:05:22 am EDT||7:25:25 am EDT|
|Port Huron||05:52 am EDT||7:05:20 am EDT||7:25:23 am EDT|
|Saginaw||05:54 am EDT||7:05:13 am EDT||7:25:17 am EDT|
|Sterling Heights||05:56 am EDT||7:05:21 am EDT||7:25:24 am EDT|
|Warren||05:56 am EDT||7:05:22 am EDT||7:25:25 am EDT|
Image Caption: Forecast cloud cover (percentage)
The above image is the forecast percentage of cloud cover valid for the final hour of the transit. This forecast was last updated at 5:31 pm Tuesday, November 1st, 2005. Additional forecast images are available for Southeast Michigan and the entire United States. Click on image to enlarge (9kb)