Preparing for the Transit of Venus

Photographic plate of the 1882 transit of Venus.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Venus will be in transit across the Sun this coming Tuesday. This extremely rare astronomical event occurs as Venus travels across the surface of the Sun and occurs in a pattern of 8-105-8-122 years. The previous transit happened in 2004 and before that, in 1882. The next one happens 122 years from now, so unless you plan on living until 2117, Tuesday’s transit will be the last one in our lifetimes.

To prepare you for the transit, Sky and Telescope Magazine has a great primer on how the transit works and why it’s such a rare phenomenon, as well as a three-part series on the historical sightings of the transit – from Johannes Kepler to Captain James Cook’s expedition to Tahiti on the HMS Endeavour.

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