Transit of Venus - June 8, 2004

Venus in transit across the Sun

June 8, 2004 transit of Venus

At rare intervals, we get to see Venus cross in front of the Sun and a transit of Venus occurs. This image was taken during the June 8, 2004 transit. No one alive today had witnessed a transit of Venus, because the last such event occurred over 121 years ago. Transits of Venus always occur in either December or June, and occur in pairs 8 years apart. The last pair of transits took place in 1874 and 1882. There will be another transit of Venus on June 6, 2012. After that, the next pair of transits will occur in the year 2117 and 2125 (both during the month of December).

Johannes Kepler made the first transit prediction for Venus, mathematically determining that such an event would occur on December 6, 1631. He passed away before that date, and as far as we know, no one observed the event in 1631. Kepler did not forecast the next transit that occurred 8 years later. The event was nearly missed, except that a month before it occurred Jeremiah Horrocks realized just in the nick of time that another Venus transit was imminent. Horrocks and a friend of his were the only persons to observe the 1634 transit. Although Horrocks died at the early age of 22, he achieved astronomical immortality as one of only two people known to have observed a Venus transit during the 17th century.

This image was taken with a ToUcam web cam on a Takahashi FS-78 refractor at prime focus with a solar filter over the telescope. I traveled to the Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to capture this image, and to observe the transit in its entirety.

The Sun & Venus
June 8, 2004
Image by Sid Leach
Mauritius Island

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