Transit of Venus AND Sutro Tower Serendipitously Photographed from Bernal Hill

On Tuesday evening I went up the hill to see if anyone brought a big telescope to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the sun.

I arrived with a pair of cheap cardboard eclipse-viewing glasses that I’d used (and shared) a few weeks earlier for the partial solar eclipse, another a well-attended astronomical event on the hill. The transit of Venus brought out a smaller crowd, but one nice genleman there had set up a telescope on a tripod and attached a camera.

He was happy to let several of us random neighbors take a look through the viewfinder, and there were apparently quite a few more throughout the day, as he writes on Flickr in the comments:

I spent yesterday afternoon freezing on a wind swept hill in San Francisco imaging the Transit of Venus. I almost packed up my gear and equipment but decided to stay until the sun dropped below the horizon, the ToV will never occur again in our lifetimes. Just before the sun set in aligned perfectly with a very large and iconic tower, The Twin Peaks antenna, which wasn’t planned, Although some high clouds blurred the image a bit, the wait and was worth it. I suppose a big part of photography is luck.

Ironically, I planned on shooting at a different location which was about 30 miles away. When I arrived I discovered that I forgot my solar filter and had to race back to San Francisco to retrieve it. I headed for a large hill top park in my neighborhood with a clear view of the Western horizon. This is a popular park where people love to walk their dogs. I estimated about 300 people got a view trough the telescope which they weren’t expecting. Apollo must of been with me yesterday, a near disaster turned out to be the best option.

Amazing story, amazing luck, and an amazing shot!

PHOTO: Clifton Reed

9 thoughts on “Transit of Venus AND Sutro Tower Serendipitously Photographed from Bernal Hill

  1. Forgetting your solar filter was no accident. Just destiny’s way to have you share with us what otherwise would not have been possible. You where reimbursed for your generosity via a magical landscaped background. Had you tried to plan this, it would not have turned out as it did. This is how life is lived on life’s terms. It is a good life.

    • Well said.

      I think of the distances of the elements of this photo and boggle… Two miles to Sutro, 25 million miles to Venus, 93 million miles to the sun. All lined up on our little hill.

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