Rare Celestial Wonder: Venus Passes in front of the Sun!
31 May 2012

Venus Crossing in front of the Sun
The images, taken through a telescope, on 8 June 2004, show the planet Venus passing in front of the Sun. Venus is visible in silhouette, as a black dot. A special filter was used, to reduce the Sun’s intense glare, and block its harmful radiations.
Photo by Aymen Ibrahem, Senior Astronomy Specialist

On Wednesday, 6 June 2012, Venus will pass in front of the Sun. This is a very rare astronomical phenomenon, known as the transit of Venus. During a transit, Venus is visible as a black dot, moving slowly across the Sun’s disk. The coming transit of Venus will be visible worldwide, in all continents. In Egypt, it will be observable from sunrise, occurring at about 5:00 a.m., and will last over 100 minutes.

Caution: Never observe the Sun with your eyes or through any optical aids. The Sun can be only observed through special instruments. Observe the Sun only under the supervision of astronomy specialists. 

Venus transits occur in pairs of events separated by about eight years, and these pairs recur every 105.5 or 121.5 years. For instance, a transit of Venus occurred on 8 June 2004, eight years ago, while the transits of the last pair were on 9 December 1874 and 6 December 1882. The next pair of Venus transits will be the transits of 10 December 2117 and 8 December 2125. The reason for the rarity of Venus transits is that the plane of Venus’ orbit is tilted at a small angle to Earth’s orbital plane.

Interestingly, the Venus transit of 2004 was entirely visible in Egypt, and lasted more than six hours. The Planetarium Science Center (PSC) organized the Venus Transit 2004 festivity, a public observing session, to observe and document the spectacular event. Hundreds of the Library visitors watched the celestial showpiece through special instruments, under the supervision of astronomy specialists.

The international astronomical community will celebrate the Venus transit of 2012. Around the world, thousands of amateur and professional astronomers will observe the event.
The PSC is pleased to invite you to join Venus Transit 2012. The public observing session will be conducted at the BA Plaza, on 6 June, from 6:00 a.m. to 6: 50 a.m. This will be the last Venus transit in the 21st century. Mark the date of the lifetime experience!

Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem
Senior Astronomy Specialist
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