28 May 2012

Transit of Venus

In two weeks time (June 6, 2012, Wednesday) Venus, who has been glittering in the evening sky over the past few months will transit the Sun for the second time this century. The last time the transit occurred was on June 8, 2004. For those who missed it last time better catch it this time or you will never get another chance to see it. The next transit will occur only on December 11, 2117.

An animated view of Venus Transit in 2004

This year’s transit will occur between 3:39am IST to 10:19am IST. We would only be able to see it only after sun rise which is approximately 5:30am IST.

A transit is nothing but an occultation (just like an eclipse) when a planet (usually Mercury or Venus) comes in between Earth and Sun. Unlike the Moon, the planet cannot block the entire Sun since it is very small from Earth’s perspective. Hence we can see the planet only as a tiny dot over the Sun.

Best way to look at the transit is by using an Eclipse Shades or Welder’s Glass. DO NOT look directly into the Sun as it may cause damage to your eyes. Neither try to look at it using Sun Glasses as it does not block out the Sun’s brightness completely.

Venus Transits Past, Present and Future

Below are the three images of the upcoming Transit that I took using the application 'Stellarium'. The first image is how the transit will look at sunrise (5:40am IST). The second one is at 8:00am IST and the third is at 10:00am IST. Click on the images to get a clear view of the transit.

Transit at 5:40am IST

Transit at 8:00am IST

Transit at 10:00am IST