Transit of Venus at Sunrise from Leipzig


Transit of Venus at Sunrise from Leipzig

Transit of Venus behind Communication Tower
Transit of Venus behind Communication Tower, Leipzig: Wednesday 6th June 2012
Canon 5D MarkII, 600mm lens + 2x teleconverter

Kaz and I left Aarwangen in Switzerland at 8am on Tuesday 5th June, heading to Stuttgart to stay with our friend Ingmar nearby in Brackenheim. From there I had hoped to see the transit of Venus from a local winery but the weather was not looking good. The cloud forecasts said I needed to be a lot futher east to beat an approaching front. So I made a last minute booking (thank heavens for euro rail passes!) and headed to Leipzig in East Germany. Here's what my day looked like:

  • 7:30am Say goodbye to Fran and Roger in Aarwangen, Switzerland.
  • 12:10pm Arrive in Stuttgart, pickup big heavy camera lens and even bigger, heavier tripod to hold it.
  • 1:50pm Leave Stuttgart, change trains in Frankfurt.
  • 8:00pm Arrive in Leipzig, catch S-bahn and check in to hotel.
  • 9:00pm Walk down the road and scout out location I found online, the Monument to the Battle of Nations. Still cloudy.
  • 10:30pm Finally get some dinner and then return to room and prepare and test gear for the early sunrise.
  • 1:00am Exhausted, I lay in bed for two and half hours but could not sleep anyway. Some clear sky overhead.
  • 3:30am Get up, hike with 25kg of cameras, lenses and tripods down the road.
  • 4:00am Arrive at the Monument and find a position on the side high enough to see sunrise.
  • 4:50am Sunrise begins and I can just see the sun through some high clouds on the horizon. Camera snaps away madly and there is Venus too!
  • 5:20am Two german guys arrived with beer and cigarretes, having walked 3km to see the transit. Not sure what they were hoping to see without filters! I share the view through the camera and my solar filters.
  • 6:00am High cloud too thick now to see the last hour of the transit so I pack up and head back to hotel.
  • 7:00am Breakfast for 20 minutes and then download photos and send to Solent syndication agent in the UK.
  • 8:00am Checkout and head to Leipzig station for train back to Stuttgart.
  • 2:00pm Arrive in Stuttgart (cloudy and raining) and return camera lens and (heavy) tripod to Delight Rental Services. Glad to get all that off my back!
  • 4:30pm Meet Kaz and Ingmar in Brackenheim
  • 8:00pm Grill Party (bbq) with friends in Sindsheim
  • 11:00pm Finally crawl into bed after a crazy 40 hours of travelling and no sleep!


First View of the Transit at Sunrise
First View of the Transit at Sunrise
Canon 5D MarkII, 600mm lens + 2x teleconverter


Canon 5D MarkII, 600mm lens + 2x teleconverter

I have had many crazy adventures chasing astronomy events for photography but this was right up there! Certainly I got a little lucky, especially since it was only clear in Leipzig for just a few hours, but of course I did everything I possibly could to increase my chances. Weather forecasts can be amazing sometimes!

My observing location for the transit, on the left hand side above the grassy bank.
Völkerschlachtdenkmal: the Monument to the Battle of Nations (Leipzig, Germany)

These are rare events - the next transit of Venus is not until December 2117. So now when people ask where I was for the transit of Venus in 2012 I will say I was perched on the side of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, the Monument to the Battle of Nations, in Leipzig.


Your shots are excellent - and can I detect a hint of green flash? Am I imagineering this?

Green flash + ToV = Unique...but are my eyes deceiving me?

Nice lamellar refraction effects too.

Thanks Torc. Sorry you got clouded out :-(

Definitely a green rim on the top image (in the larger version). I've seen it even stronger on some images of the transit on Project Asterisk.

I like how the distortions of the sun's edge line up with the cloud layers.. the atmospheric variations causing the clouds also cause the varying levels of refraction.