This image of the black dot of Venus silhouetted against the sun for the first time in 122 years was recorded from the MIT campus early on the morning of June 8 by Steve Slivan, a research specialist in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). As seen from Earth, the sun is only about a half a degree in diameter (three of them would fit across a dime held at arm's length), and Venus appears about 30 times smaller still, so an 8-inch telescope was used as if it were a very long telephoto lens of focal length 2000 mm on a regular 35 mm SLR camera. For this image Slivan used a full-aperture solar filter (so as not to burn up the camera) and an exposure of 1/30 second with Kodak Ektachrome 400 Professional color slide film.
Slivan took the photo during an observation session for members of the MIT community organized by
EAPS graduate students Mike Person and Susan Kern with the assistance of Professor Jim Elliot of EAPS and physics, at the suggestion of Professor Walter Lewin of physics. Photo / Stephen Slivan