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The transit of Venus a dazzling sight (pictures)

At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, hundreds gather to watch Venus pass between the Earth and the sun, which won't happen again until 2117.

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James Martin
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1 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Transit of Venus

This afternoon, Venus began its "transit" across the face of the sun as the planet passed directly between the Sun and Earth, a rare and spectacular sight for skywatchers. The next transit will take place in 2117.
While in Los Angeles for the Electronics Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, we paid a visit to the Griffith Observatory, where hundreds gathered to gaze through homemade telescopes and the observatory's own powerful eyes.
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2 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, where hundreds of people gathered Tuesday on the lawn to see Venus as it passes between the Earth and the sun.
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3 of 20 NASA/SDO, AIA

Venus approaches the Sun

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite captures Venus transit approach.
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4 of 20 James Martin/CNET

No. 14 welder's glass filter

Hobbyist astronomers brought dozens of telescopes to the lawn in front of the Griffith Observatory. Here, CNET's Daniel Terdiman hold a filter of No. 14 welder's glass, which provided a perfect viewing filter.
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5 of 20 James Martin/CNET

No. 14 welder's glass filter

This cropped RAW photo was taken with a Canon 5DMKII and a 200mm lens at 3:36 p.m. PT through the No. 14 welder's glass filter at the Griffith Observatory.
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6 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Griffith Observatory's Coelostat

Griffith Observatory's Coelostat telescopes projects an image of the sun directly into the west rotunda of the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky.
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7 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Coelostat throught the iPad

CNET's Daniel Terdiman take a photo of the Griffith Observatory's Coelostat projection with an iPad. Venus is visible in the lower right corner of the inverted telescope image.
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8 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Spectrohelioscope

The Spectrohelioscope is a telescope with a hydrogen-alpha filter. Sunlight is projected from the roof, through the filter, and can observe any wavelength of sunlight.
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9 of 20 James Martin/CNET

The Spectrohelioscope

Looking into the spectrohelioscope projection, you see red light from hydrogen atoms. The black dot is Venus seen against the red colored Sun.
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10 of 20 NASA/SDO, HMI

Transit of Venus

Ultra-high definition view of 2012 Venus Transit in the 304 Angstrom filter by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
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11 of 20 James Martin/CNET

LA from above

Downtown Los Angeles is seen from the Griffith Observatory in the hills.
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12 of 20 NASA/SDO, HMI

Venus Transit

NASA's Solar Dynamics observatory satellite captures the 2012 Venus transit on June 5, 2012.
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13 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Griffith Observatory lawn

The Hollywood sign visible in the background, the lawn at Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory was filled with hundreds of of people and telescopes there to observe the transit of Venus across the sun.
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14 of 20 James Martin/CNET

The Sun through a No. 14 welder's glass filter

This cropped RAW photo was taken with a Canon 5DMKII and a 200mm lens at 4:14 p.m. PT through a No. 14 welder's glass filter at the Griffith Observatory.
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15 of 20 James Martin/CNET

No. 14 welder's glass filter

This cropped RAW photo was taken with a Canon 5DMKII and a 200mm lens at 4:15 p.m. PT through a No. 14 welder's glass filter at the Griffith Observatory.
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16 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Griffith Observatory in the Los Angeles hills

The Griffith Observatory perched in the Los Angeles hills hosted hundreds of people to watch the transit of Venus Tuesday.
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17 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Deck at Griffith Observatory

Dozens of telescopes were brought out and people lined up to watch the transit of Venus from the Griffith Observatory Tuesday.
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18 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Projected image

A telescope projects an image of Venus passing between the Earth and the sun on Tuesday on the deck at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
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19 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Looking skyward

People lined up to see the transit through telescopes on the deck at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles onTuesday.
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20 of 20 James Martin/CNET

Starring at the Sun

Many spent the afternoon laying on the lawn at Griffith Observatory looking at the sun through filtered glasses.

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