6 June 2012
If you miss this transit of Venus, you’ll have to wait more than 100 years for the next one
A transit of Venus occurs when Venus is observed from Earth to move across the face of the Sun. The first transit since 1882 occurred on 8 June 2004. The next transit will occur on 6 June 2012 and if the sky is clear will be visible in Sydney from 8.16am (1st contact) and ending at 2.44pm (last contact).
Transits of Venus currently occur in the following pattern of time: 8 years, 121.5 years, 8 years, 105.5 years, 8 years, 121.5 years, 8 years, 105.5 years, etc.
The last transit of Venus occurred in 2004 – before which the previous two transits occurred in December 1882 and December 1874.
Transits of Venus are historically important events. They are especially important for Australia as James Cook’s main reason for undertaking the voyage on which he charted Australia’s east coast was to observe the 1769 transit from the island of Tahiti. By observing a transit, astronomers could for the first time calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun with some accuracy.
If you miss the 2012 transit of Venus, you’ll have to wait until December 2117 and December 2125 for the following transits….
Sydney Observatory will have special programs available on 6 June 2012 to give you the best chance in Sydney of experiencing this once- or twice- in a lifetime event. Details will be available closer to the date.