2012 Transit of Venus

Time lapse of the 2004 transit of Venus. (Image credit: Antonio Cerezo, Pablo Alexandre, Jesús Merchán y David Marsán.)

This event is now sold out. We will be able to admit a small number of unregistered guests to the stadium, but only after we admit those who have pre-registered. Free glasses will be provided to all those who are admitted, whether registered or not. We have no glasses to distribute prior to the event.

For those who would prefer to view the transit from home, please consult this page for a list of ways to view the transit safely:


You can also view the transit online. We have assembled a partial list of sites which will be streaming the transit live. You can access the list here:


On June 5, 2012, the planet Venus will pass across the face of the Sun. This phenomenon, called a ‘transit of Venus’, has not happened since 2004 and will not happen again until 2117. For most of us, this is our last chance to see this spectacular celestial event.

The transit of Venus can be seen with the unaided eye, if special precautions are taken, such as wearing ‘transit glasses’ that make it possible to look directly at the Sun without injuring your eyes.   The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (DI) at the University of Toronto has produced 43,000 pairs of transit glasses and distributed them across Canada and to select destinations internationally.

Nationally, these glasses are available from local universities and branches of both the Royal Astronomical Society (RASC) and the Fédération des astronomes amateurs du Québec (FAAQ).

If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, we’d like to invite you to the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium on June 5th to observe the transit with us!

Register Now!




June 5, 2012 — Come Watch the Transit With Us!

Starting at 5:30 p.m. on June 5th, 2012, astronomers will be on hand at Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto to lead the public in viewing the transit of Venus.  Activities at this event will include:

  • Free transit glasses – free transit glasses will be provided to the first 4000 guests.
  • Door prizes – available for those who pre-register for the event, bring their tickets, and have them scanned upon entry to the stadium.
  • Ask-an-Astronomer – astronomers from the University of Toronto will be ready to answer any questions you might have about the transit or any other topic in astronomy.
  • Telescopic viewing of the transit – we will have special solar telescopes set up to allow you to view the transit in spectacular detail–plus, whatever else is visible on the Sun’s surface that day, including potentially flares and sunspots.
  • Planetarium shows – we will be staging special transit-themed planetarium shows on-site all evening.
  • Public talk and question period – want to know more about how transits are being used today to find potentially life-bearing planets orbiting other stars?  This is the talk for you!
  • One-Act Performance from the play ‘Transit of Venus’  – Act Two of Maureen Hunter’s play ‘Transit of Venus’:  Six years before the start of Act Two, Guillaume Le Gentil de la Galasière left his home and his young fiancee, Celeste, to track the transit of venus in India. Now returning home 3 years later than planned, he he must face the consequences of his lengthy absence.
Dress rehearsal for the play 'Transit of Venus'.

Dress rehearsal for the play 'Transit of Venus'.

All events will be suitable for all ages–bring the whole family!


This event is brought to you by generous contributions from the University of Toronto’sDunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Department of Alumni Relations, and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of SkyNews Magazine in providing door prizes for this event.
Register Now!




Viewing the Transit With Transit/Eclipse Glasses

Please consult the brochures below for instructions on how to view the Transit of Venus safely using transit glasses (also called eclipse glasses).


Transit Brochure -- English


Transit Brochure -- French


Transit Brochure -- Spanish




Transit Brochure -- Chinese

Chinese (Traditional)

Chinese (Simplified)






English text prepared by Michael Reid.  Translations by Abdul Mroue (Arabic), Alice Chow and Jeffrey Fung (Chinese), Rémi Lacasse (French), Mariangela Bonavita (Italian), Slavek Rucinski (Polish), Daniela Gonçalves (Portuguese), Linda Strubbe and Maria Montero-Castaño (Spanish), and Quang Ngyuen Luong (Vietnamese).

Black-and-white versions of these brochures, suitable for printing and photocopying, are available here:

English French
Spanish Vietnamese
Portuguese Chinese (Traditional)
Italian Chinese (Simplified)
Polish Arabic

Resources for Teachers

Grade 9 Science

We have put together a worksheet that grade 9 science teachers can use with their students to investigate transits. The worksheet emphasizes conceptual understanding and is entirely non-mathematical. The worksheet builds on the idea of the transit of Venus to encourage students to think about ongoing searches for planets in other solar systems–the so-called ‘exoplanets’. The worksheet is available here:

Grade 9 Science Transit of Venus worksheet

This worksheet can be paired with a transit simulator that students can build themselves. The transit simulator can be built inexpensively using materials available from The Home Depot and Michael’s craft store. Detailed instructions about how to build and use the transit simulator, as well as a parts list, are available in this paper:

Transit Simulator Instructions

A copy of the presentation made by Dr. Michael Reid of the Dunlap Institute for the 2012 Eureka conference of the Toronto District School Board can be found here:

Eureka 2012 — Incorporating Transits into Grade 9 Science

Grade 12 Physics

We have also put together a more mathematically intensive worksheet suitable for use in Grade 11 or 12 physics classes. It is available here:

How Far is the Sun – Worksheet 










(Header image Credit: Wikimedia Common user SimonP)