A Rare Transit of Venus

On Wednesday 6th June our nearest planetary neighbour Venus, passed across the face of the Sun in what is known as a transit. Such an astronomical event is rare, and made for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those senior King David School students that had the chance to observe the 2012 transit of Venus. Using an 8-inch reflecting telescope fitted with a special solar filter, students were able to track the motion of the black disk belonging to Venus (see photo taken by Justin Kanowitz).

Whilst a transit of Venus did occur in June 2004 (and they do occur in pairs), there will not be another transit of Venus until 2117. Though this may seem surprising as Venus and our Earth align every 584 days in the same direction towards the Sun, the plane of their respective orbits are slightly tilted. A transit can only happen when Venus passes between the Earth and Sun, whilst also positioned in the same plane as Earth’s orbit.

Three photos are attached. Photo 1: KDS students observing the transit of Venus; Photo 2: Justin Baigel with KDS students observing the transit of Venus; Photo 3 (expertly taken by Justin Kanowitz) shows the black disk of Venus moving across the face of the Sun.

Milorad Cerovac, Senior Science Coordinator

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