Venus Transit: World to witness rare astronomical event on June 5-6

Monday, June 04, 2012
Washington: For those who often eager to have a glimpse of something unusual among the celestial bodies, June month may bring about some mysterious coincidence that world might ever seen.

Sky-spectators on all seven continents will get a chance to witness an astronomical rarity on June 5 or 6, the transit of the planet Venus.  It is just like the last time anyone alive today will have a chance to view one because after this year's transit of Venus, the next one is in 2117.

Transits of Venus have happened only six times since the phenomena was first observed with a telescope in 1639 and only once since the invention of the television.

In 2004 when Venus passed across the face of the sun (seen from Earth for the first time since 1882) people around the world turned has turned out.

Venus appeared in silhouette, casting a small black dot on the sun.

It's a rare event, but remarkable that it not necessarily a spectacular one.

The event is interesting, in part, because it is so uncommon.  Transits occur in pairs, and the pairs are separated by more than a century.  The upcoming transit bookends the transit of 2004.

David DeVorkin, the senior curator of the history of astronomy at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has cautioned that the key is to view safely.  One should not stare directly at the Sun, but one can use glasses and telescopes with protective filters.

The event is important in the sense that it can unfold some unknown facts about the black hole, planets, asteroid and other celestial bodies as scientists in previous centuries used the transits to answer questions about the solar system. 

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