Flight to Venus

October 27, 2014


Photographer: Bob Fugate; Bob's Web site
Summary AuthorBob Fugate

Shown above is a UPS MD-11 jet caught in front of the Sun during the 2012 transit of Venus, the black dot on the right side of the solar disk. It was captured from Continental Divide, New Mexico on June 5, 2012. The aircraft was flying at 37,000 ft (11,278 m), at a range of 71 mi (114 km). I had been shooting the transit all afternoon, and late in the day, when the Sun was but 3.5 degrees above the horizon, I noticed a short contrail approaching the Sun from the left. When it got too close to the Sun to watch further I monitored live view on my camera. I had time for only one shot! Note that sunspot group 1493 is just below the jet. Of course, always use extreme caution when looking toward the Sun. For more pictures of the transit and information about this photo and the crew of the plane click here.
Photo details: Nikon D800 camera; Nikon 400 mm  f/2.8 lens; with internal 1000X neutral density filter; 1/4000 sec. exposure; ISO 100; f/5.6.