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I just got back from observing the Transit. Dozens of us had telescopes set up on a nearby mountaintop overlooking the Manhattan skyline, and perhaps a hundred other people showed up to look through them.

It was very hazy at first, and we saw the sun rise out of that, rather than over the horizon. But the moon was nice and clear higher in the sky, so we had reason to hope. At first I was (carefully; don't try this at home) looking through an unfiltered telescope, as the sun's red light was so attentuated that nothing could be seen through the filters. Clouds drifted across the sun revealing limited swaths of it at any one time, but suddenly we could see Venus in one of those swaths. Over the next twenty minutes the sun brightened to a yellowish orange, and later it suddenly and dramatically shifted to white as it came fully out of the haze.
In addition to Venus two small sunspots were visible at the center of the solar disk, and later on I noticed a lighter solar region near Venus which sounds like it was a solar storm. A local museum offered the use of a solar telescope with a hydrogen alpha filter, which showed this storm more clearly, as well as revealing a small prominence flaming on the solar limb.

I did not witness third contact and so did not see any of the predicted optical effects, but a casual survey did not turn up anyone else in attendence who observed them, though many were looking. I did watch fourth contact, as Venus finally slipped off the edge of the sun, to return again in eight years.

My wife came to see the Transit, and brought our little boy, now five weeks old. He may or may not get to see such an event again during his lifetime, but we'll be able to tell him that he saw the Transit of Venus today.

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