Transit of Venus

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Witness a twice in a lifetime spectacle.

On Wednesday 6 June 2012 the solar system's second planet will pass directly in front of the sun. Known as the "transit of Venus" it is one of the rarest predictable astronomical phenomena.

As physicist Andrew Steele explains, transits of Venus follow a strange cycle. Due to the nature of the planet's orbit in relation to the Earth’s, transits occur in pairs, separated by almost exactly eight years before a gap of over a century.

The last transit occurred in June 2004 but, after Venus passes across the Sun on 6 June, we will have to wait another 106 years until the next transits in 2017 and 2025.

To view the phenomena from the UK you'll need to get up bright and early at around 5am. If you're anywhere else check out this global visibility map from NASA.

For more information, and further tips on how to observe the transit safely, visit www.transitofvenus.org.

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Space & Time

Details

Type:
Demo
People:
Andrew Steele
Location:
Oxford, UK
Published:
2012
Filmed:
2012
Credits:

Lab, Camera, Action!

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Related Links and Media

  • Global view of the surface of Venus.

    Image: NASA
    Licence: Copyright free

  • The orbital position and rotation of the planet Venus shown at 10 Earth-day intervals from 0 to 250 days.

    Image: NASA
    Licence: Copyright free

  • Venus Orbit

    Image: Lookang
    cc_by-sa License: Creative Commons

  • Terrestrial planet size comparisons: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars

    Image: NASA
    Licence: Copyright free

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