For a handful of hours in June 2012, Venus’ orbit carried it directly across the face of the Sun, providing a spectacular backlit view visible from Earth. Only six transits of Venus have been recorded since the possibility for such events was first discovered in 1639. During the four transits occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of astronomers worldwide coordinated their efforts, using their observation data to calculate the size of the solar system. The 2012 transit was viewed by thousands using telescopes, binoculars, and solar glasses, and was photographed by satellites and astronauts on board the International Space Station.
This latest Astro Bulletin from the American Museum of Natural History's Science Bulletins program is on display in the Hall of the Universe until October 8, 2012.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at http://www.amnh.org/sciencebulletins/.