Transits of Venus: The rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena

The transit of Venus will be visible on June 6 this year. The next transit will be visible only in 2117, followed by another opportunity in 2125.


A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2004 lasted six hours). A transit is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon. While the diameter of Venus is almost four times that of the Moon, Venus appears smaller, and travels more slowly across the face of the Sun, because it is much farther away from Earth. Observations of transits of Venus helped scientists use the principle of parallax to calculate the distance between the Sun and the Earth.



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