If you weren’t born yesterday, you won’t see another transit of Venus. Seven of them have been seen, and the next one will be in 2117.
These images are to commemorate the moment ten years ago today, when the second rock of the Sun passed in front of it.
When Venus crosses the Sun, it is called a transit of Venus. You can see it as a small, black dot moving across Sun’s face. The apparent diameter of Venus during transit was almost 58 arcseconds. This is approximately 3% of its apparent diameter.
The Venus transit occurs twice every eight years, then it does not happen again for 105 years. It last occurred on June 5, 2012, and it will again occur December 10, 11th, 2117. The next one will occur on December 8. 2125.
Because it is only visible from the day-side, a Venus transit can occur once in a lifetime or twice. It can also happen only once in a lifetime.
The 2012 transit of Venus was an incredible event for a whole generation of sky-watchers as well as nature-lovers, especially those who missed the 2004 event. Solar filters in hand and eager to catch a glimpse, crowds gathered at observatories around the globe.
It was mostly a Pacific event and visible in New Zealand, Japan, large parts of Australia, East Asia, and the northernmost parts of North America. It was also visible in Europe in the morning.
The best views are from high up on the highest peaks of one of the largest volcanoes in the world. “I went to Mauna Kea, Hawaii, because it was one the best places to view the entire transit which was centred above the Pacific Ocean,” stated Tom Kerss astronomer and author The Star-Watching Squirrel. The Visitor Center is located at 9,500 feet above sea level and hosts 300-400 people.
It was a beautiful place to watch such a fleeting and powerful event. Kerss said, “I recall thinking about Venus as the most volcanic planet in the solar system, and there I was on the largest volcanoes of them all.” “A Venus transit is the closest our planet has ever been to another planet. One moment was so beautiful that I almost imagined seeing another volcano on Venus point back at me.
Kerss was 26 years old at that time. By the next Venus transit, Kerss will be 131. He captured the amazing image at the top of the article. It also shows significant solar activity as the transit of Venus was occurring.
Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer, was the first to predict that Venus would transit. He was born during two transit periods and died before he saw one.
It is possible to only see the Sun’s outer planets from Earth: Venus and Mercury, the “inferior” or inner planets. From Earth’s perspective, the outer planets only appear to pass behind Sun.
Mercury’s last transit occurred on November 11, 2019, and will occur again on November 13, 2032. They are more frequent, occurring about 13 times per century. A transit of Venus has five times the size of Mercury so it is more dramatic than a Mercury transit.
Astronomers use the transit method to find exoplanets. NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope surveyed almost 200,000 stars over a small area of sky between 2009-2018, looking for a dip in starlight when planets transit their host stars.
Kepler discovered 2,392 exoplanets in this manner. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, (TESS), is currently doing the same thing and some believe it could find as many 12,519 more expoplanets in 2024.
Transits can be seen from other planets. However, you cannot see one of the Earth’s orbits through the sun unless your are on Mars or farther out. The November 10, 2084 Transit of Earth from Mars will be the next.
Humans might be able to see the one from Mars-base 33 years before Venus makes her next trip across the face the Sun.
I wish you clear skies, wide eyes and clear skies.