Trevecca Nazarene University

Science professor captures Venus transit

When the planet Venus crossed the sun on Tuesday, June 5, Trevecca science professor Matthew Huddleston was prepared to record this special event because Venus’s orbit will not line up across the sun again until 2117. Capturing this rare event was part of the kind of ongoing research that Huddleston conducts with his students.

Using a camera purchased only a week before the Venus transit, Huddleston attached the camera (a Nikon D5100) to the University’s Lunt telescope, an LS60T model, which is kept in the observatory in the Greathouse Science Building. Huddleston explained that the Lunt telescope he uses can be “double-stacked” with extra filters that enable the user to see more details of the sun. Here is how the Lunt telescope works: Using its tunable filters, the user can select out wavelengths of light that correspond to the exact wavelengths emitted by hydrogen gases on the sun. He took the photos at different settings, and those photos are clear and beautiful. (See the links below to more of his photos.)

Huddleston uses the telescope with students in his Basic College Physics class and the Earth and Space Science class. He says, “We’re always exited to study the incredible features on the sun with our telescope, and I’m especially grateful that we were ready to capture such a rare transit as this. As an extra bonus, it was my wife’s and my anniversary Tuesday, so Venus gave us a kind of celestial anniversary present!”  

To view all of the photos captured from this event, please visit the Trevecca Nazarene University photo album on facebook.

For more information about the photos or his research projects with students, contact Huddleston at mhuddleston@trevecca.edu