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Venus Transit

Venus Transit

Venus Transit image, the striations of lines were caused by cloud cover.
Image Credit: Sylvie Beland

On June 5, 2012, you will see the planet Venus as it moves across the face of the early morning sun. This astronomical oddity has played a very important role over the last few centuries in giving scientists a way to understand the size of the solar system. On December 6, 1882, the transit made the front pages of every national and international newspaper! Thousands of photographs were taken with improved calibrations. Only a few astronomers were trusted to carry out the complex calculations from the resulting data. In 1896, Simon Newcomb's value, a distance from Earth to Sun of 92,702,000 plus or minus 53,700 miles, was adopted by the international scientific community. Today most textbooks report the Astronomical Unit (or AU) as "93 million miles."

The Venus transit has continued to yield fascinating new information for scientists and the public. Take this unique opportunity to make your own observations and calculations. Information and how to make your own calculations is all part of the larger Sun-Earth Day-Shadows of the Sun.

Read more about Sun-Earth Day

Venus Transit Phone App

A new fun fact page on The Space Place tells all about the upcoming Venus transit on June 5 and how to view it safely. Although the next Venus transit won’t happen until 2117, other more common types of eclipses happen a lot more often, and you can learn about them here too.

Nov 8, 2011
Asteroid 2005 YU55 passes 0.85 times the Moon’s distance from the Earth. At approximately 400 meters in diameter, this object is relatively large as NEOs go and will be bright enough (mag 11) to be seen in small telescopes. The JPL Horizons web interface is a great way to find your local viewing circumstances.

Dec 10, 2011
Some portions of a total lunar eclipse will be visible in the pre-dawn sky across much of North America. The eastern half of the US will experience the penumbral phase to, further westward, partial umbral phase. The western half of the US will experience at least some degree of totality.

Contact Times (UT)

P1 11:33:36 UTC
U1 12:45:43 UTC
U2 14:06:16 UTC
Greatest 14:31:49 UTC
U3 14:57:24 UTC
U4 16:17:58 UTC
P4 17:29:57 UTC

June 5, 2012
The Transit of Venus. Happens only twice in 100 years. More information can be found at NASA Goddard

May 20, 2012
The centerline for a spectacular annular solar eclipse extends through the Western United States. In the U.S., the path of annularity crosses Lake Tahoe as well as a number of National Parks including Lassen, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, and Chaco Canyon. Partial phases will be widely observable across much of the U.S.