Helioviewer and YouTube user atomlibre1 shared a video of the planet Venus moving across the SOHO LASCO C3 coronagraph’s field-of-view.
At the very start of the video the bright planet is already well within C3’s view. Coronal streamers are visible as well as a coronal mass ejection or CME at the end of the video. Planets and comets are often observed by LASCO, which views as far out as 30 solar radii (a solar radius is almost 700,000 kilometers) in distance out from the sun over 2 million kilometers. The planet is so bright, too much for C3’s CCD, that lines extend out from either side giving almost a flying saucer shape. Venus and other planets are often mistaken for flying saucers.
A close-up view of Venus showing the extended nature of Venus in C3 was shared by user RAPTURE5770.
The time and direction of planets moving through C3’s view (called a transit) are well known and calculations of past and future transits can be found on the website devoted to comets observed by LASCO especially sungrazers. This particular transit of venus will be in C3’s field-of-view from July 18, 2011 until September 15, 2011. Thanks for sharing atomlibre1 and RAPTURE5770!
For more about the rare event of Venus transits of the sun seen from Earth check out TransitofVenus.org.