Most of the attendees were doubtless locals, drawn to Ames from various spots around the Bay Area. But two hardcore skywatchers came all the way from Spain.
Oscar Martin Mesonero and Pablo Gonzalez Pena are from Salamanca, which missed the entire seven-hour transit. The two came to California because they could see most of the transit from here, and because they figured the weather would cooperate.
"I'm an eclipse chaser," Martin Mesonero said, adding that he's planning to go to Australia to view a total solar eclipse this November.
He saw the 2004 Venus transit in Spain, but with relatively rudimentary equipment. He and Gonzalez Pena brought a bunch of high-tech, high-performance gear to California with them to document this transit, the last one they'll ever see.
"This is the first time I've taken good pictures and good video," Martin Mesonero said.
Back in New York, younger Venus observers were ecstatic as well.
Lauren Aldorody, 17, said there was just something extra special about watching Venus pass in front of the sun that sets it apart from other celestial events.
"This is probably the top," Aldorody said. "I haven't really seen much, just a few lunar eclipses, but this is way cooler."
SPACE.com assistant managing editor Clara Moskowitz and staff writer Denise Chow contributed to this report from New York. Senior writer Mike Wall contributed from San Francisco.
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