Monday, June 4, 2012

The Transit of Venus

"Once in a lifetime opportunity" is often an over used sentence, but it really applies to what's going to happen this June 6th: the planet Venus will appear to move across the Sun from our perspective. Call it a "Venus Eclipse" if you will, with the difference to normal eclipses being that the planet is too far from us to appear to block out the Sun.
Instead, we will be able to observe its small disk crossing in front of our bright star. 

The orbits of the Earth and Venus make this a rare event. It happens in a regular pattern, with two transits taking place within 8 years of each other, and then long gaps of either 121.5 or 105.5 years. The last one was in the 8th of June of 2004, and almost 8 exact years to the date we have the next one. If you miss this chance, you will have to wait until December of 2117, which might cause an inconvenience.

Where to see it?

Well look at this map and check if you will be able to observe it from your location. 

Make sure you know what you're doing if trying to view the Sun through any magnification device!

Are you in the shadow zone of the map like I am? Well, we will have to settle for broadcasts. Many TV channels will certainly take an interest in such a rare piece of news, but if you're like me, you'll wanna follow this online. NASA will be covering the event in full, as well as many people streaming from their telescopes, for example, one of my favorite YouTube scientists, Thunderf00t.

Whatever you do to follow this, and you should, enjoy yourself and remember all the details.
Later in life, you will be able to say "I saw the Venus Transit of '12! Oh yeah I was there...!"


  1. It would be awesome. I doubt I'll be able to see it live being in the sunrise zone (I ain't likely to see a sunrise) but I'd love to see it.

  2. If I hadn't have slept in, I might have seen it xD

  3. I saw it through a telescope with a special filter and was not that impressed. If you missed it, you didn't miss much.

  4. Yes, the imagery might not be spectacular, but it goes beyond a little dark dot in fron of the sun... as an astronomical event, it was amazing. Venus is a world about the size of the Earth, and that is how we would look like if we were far away being observed by a space ship. It puts things into perspective.