In pictures: It’s been 10 years since the last ‘Transit Of Venus’, our last view until 2117

Unless you were born yesterday, you will probably never experience a transit of Venus again. Only seven of them have ever been observed and the next is in 2117.

So here are some beautiful images to celebrate the moment, ten years ago today, when on June 5, 2012, it was possible to see the second rock of the sun pass in front of it, as seen from the third rock of the sun.

A transit of Venus across the Sun occurs when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. It can be seen as a small black dot moving across the surface of the sun. During transit, Venus had an apparent diameter of nearly 58 arcseconds, which is about 3% of the Sun’s apparent diameter.

A transit of Venus occurs twice in eight years and then not at all for 105 years. The last time it happened was on June 5/6, 2012 and the next time it will happen will be December 10/11, 2117. It will be followed by another on December 8, 2125.

Given that it is only observable from the dayside of the planet, a transit of Venus can therefore happen once or even twice in a lifetime. Or it could happen exactly zero times in a person’s life.

So the 2012 transit of Venus was a huge event for an entire generation of sky watchers and wildlife enthusiasts, especially those who missed the 2004 event. Crowds gathered at observatories around the world, sunscreens in hand, hoping to glimpse the majestic event.

It was largely a Pacific event, visible in New Zealand, Japan, and much of Australia and eastern Asia, as well as the most northwestern parts of North America. In Europe too, a glimpse of IT was caught in the morning.

Some of the best views were from above the clouds of one of the world’s largest volcanoes. “I went to Mauna Kea in Hawaii because it was one of the best places to see the entire transit, which was centered over the Pacific Ocean,” said Tom Kerssastronomer and author of The Squirrel Who Looked At The Stars† “About 300 to 400 people gathered at the visitor center, which is 9,500 feet above sea level.”

It was a poetic place to observe such a powerful and fleeting event. “I remember thinking Venus was the most volcanic world in the solar system and there I was on one of the biggest volcanoes of them all,” Kerss said. “A transit of Venus is the closest our planet can ever get to another planet. In a brilliant moment, I could almost imagine seeing another volcano on Venus pointing at me.”

Cherry was 26 then. He will be 131 by the time the next transit of Venus comes. He took the fantastic photo at the very top of this article, which also shows significant solar activity as the transit of Venus occurred.

Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was the first to predict a transit of Venus. He was born and died between two transit periods, so he never saw one.

From Earth, it is only possible to see two planets traveling across the Sun’s disk: Venus and Mercury, the innermost or “lower” planets. The outer planets seem to move only behind the sun from Earth’s perspective.

The last transit of Mercury took place on November 11, 2019 and will then take place on November 13, 2032. They are more frequent and happen about 13 times per century. Venus is five times the diameter of Mercury, so a transit of Venus is much more dramatic than a transit of Mercury.

The transit method is primarily how astronomers find exoplanets. NASAs Kepler Space Telescope observed nearly 200,000 stars in a small patch of sky between 2009 and 2018, looking for a slight dip in starlight as planets passed over their host stars.

Kepler found no fewer than 2,392 exoplanets this way. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is now doing the same thing, and some think it’s as many as 12,519 New Expo Planets by 2024

It is possible to see transits from other planets, although you cannot see a transit of Earth through the sun unless you are on Mars or further away. The next passage of the earth as seen from Mars will take place on November 10, 2084.

Perhaps people will see it from a Mars base, 33 years before Venus next makes a journey across the face of the sun.

I wish you a clear sky and big eyes.


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