Venus Transit 2012






Venus Transit Conference in Tromsø

Transit of Venus

'Top sites to watch the transit'

The rarest Eclipse

Astronomer without Borders


Transit of Venus

Event Locations

Local news about the Venusfestival:

Avisa Finnmarken

Vardø Videregående skole

Pater Maximilian Hell:

Wikipedia (norwegian)

Wikipedia (english)

Wikipedia (hungarian)

Jesuitter i Norge

Hugarian schoolproject:

Class 10A of the Széchenyi István Gimnázium in Sopron, Hungary


Travel to Trondheim

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five

Part six

The Hell Game




New book about historic Venus Transits

Chasing Venus, The Race to Measure the Heavens







E-mail to the Venusfestival in Vardø:




2012 Transit of Venus viewed from Maximilian Hell's historical site



On 6 June 2012 transit of Venus can be observed in the northern hemisphere. Venus transit has a cycle of 243 years and 6 June 2012 is 4 and the last passage in this place.
The map was made by M. Zeile / and

The entire transit of Venus is visible from Vardø on the 6th June 2012 between 0:04:46 to 6:52:23. At the same time that most of the western world does not have this capability, cf. the map above.

The next two (in 2117 and 2125) takes place in December and since the sun is below the horizon in the north, it means that the next time the transit of Venus can be observed from the northern area will be in 2247, ie about 235 years.

Transit of Venus and Vardø

Transit of Venus on 3 June 1769 set Vardø on the world map when the Jesuit priest Maximilian Hell (Hell Pater) observed the transit of Venus here. This was during the Enlightenment and one was concerned with the distances in the universe. Several nations sent astronomers to the northern hemisphere to observe the transit. Father Hell's observations was the most accurate as he could observe both the external and internal ingress and egress on the Solar disc.

Hell's report about the Venus transit was published in Hafnia (the Latin name for Copenhagen) in 1770 and the report was given to his principal - King Christian VII.
Hell's observations enabled a calculation of the solar parallax, so that the average distance from Earth to the sun could be calculated. Hell describes his calculations in 'The Parallaxi, Solis ex Observationibus Transitus Veneris Anni 1769', which he publishes in 1772 in Vienna. He compares the data with results from other observations, review critical weaknesses and choose to base his calculations on his own data and Captain Cooks data from the Tahiti observation.
Hell calculated the values ​​of respectively 8.7 'and 152 216 760km, amazingly accurate.
Todays 'truth' - 8.79415" respectively.
149 597 870 km.



It was the Danish-Norwegian King Christian VII, who asked Father Hell's services in connection with transit of Venus. The fortress in Vardø - Vardøhus Festning - was chosen because of the midnight sun gives additional period of observation, and because a successful observation would mark the easternmost parts of the Danish-Norwegian kingdom, and the latent threat that was there through the Swedish and Russian expansion zeal. The king asked Hell to come, involved the same time that he was beyond the statutory prohibition against Catholics and Jesuits. Violations could lead to the death penalty for "monks, Jesuits, etc. papistiske priests" who were encountered in the kingdom. After half a year of travel the expedition arrived in Vardø at the 11th October 1768.

With the fort commander Major C.H. Eckleff and his fifty knights, Hell built the observatory as an extension of the bailiff's house, at the center of the town hall square.

This was the first astronomical observatory established in Norway, cf. illustration to the right which is signed by Assistant Sajnovics.




Nothing remains today but the place is marked with memorial plaques at City Hall wall. One set up at the request of the Hungarian Embassy and the other at the request of the Slovak Embassy.
A chapel was also arranged. The waiting period from October to June, Hell engaged in observations of the Aurora Borealis, sea water phosphorescence and polar area's flora and fauna.

Father Sajnovics conducted an extensive comparative linguistic research of the Sami language. And the result of Sajnovics language studies showed clear links between the Sami and Hungarian, and that both belong to the Finno-Ugrian group of languages.

The rest of his stay in Vardø and the return trip to Copenhagen was one long triumphal procession of Jesuit priest and his entourage.  In more recent times, a crater on the moon is named after Hell, which shows his scientific importance.

Maximilian Hell was born in Selmecbánya / Schemnitz in Hungary (now Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia), and had his work in Austria-Hungary at the Vienna Observatory. There are thus three European countries that perceive Father Hell as their own national hero.

The Austrian and Hungarian ambassadors have confirmed that they are going to Vardo, while awaiting a response from the Slovak ambassador.

MBK Friendship Society in Norway and Norwegian Hungarian Association (NUFO) also wants to unveil a memorial plaque of honor to Hell and Sajnovics.

The Cityhall wall (facing north) after the Venus Transit in 2012

The new plaque is doneded by 'the Hungarians in Norway' in commemoration of Maximilian Hell and Janos Sajnovics's expedition to Vardø in 1768-1769.



Experience the 2012 transit of Venus on a historic site in Vardø









 in Vardø




Vardøhus Fortress

Steilneset Memorial

Pomor museum


Bird Sanctuary


at Hornøya



Tourist Route

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