Fri, Jun 01, 2012
Phenomenon Won't Be Seen Again For More Than A Century
Scientists and amateur astronomers around the world are preparing to observe the rare occurrence of Venus crossing the face of the Sun on 5-6 June, an event that will not be seen again for over a hundred years. A transit of Venus occurs only when Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. Since the orbital plane of Venus is not exactly aligned with that of Earth, transits occur very rarely, in pairs eight years apart but separated by more than a century.
The last transit was enjoyed in June 2004 but the next will not be seen until 2117.
The 2012 transit will be visible in its entirety only from the western Pacific, eastern Asia, eastern Australia and high northern latitudes. For the US, the transit will begin in the afternoon of 5 June and for much of Europe the Sun will rise on 6 June with the transit almost finished. If you are observing the event please remember – NEVER look at the Sun with unprotected eyes, through ordinary sunglasses or through a telescope, as this will cause permanent blindness. (NASA image of Venus)
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