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Transit of Venus on June 6, last in this century

Chennai, June 3 (): The rarest of transit of Venus will be seen on 6th June, Wednesday. This is going to be once in a lifetime experience for most of the people as the next transit will be seen only after 113 years in 2117.

Venus will cross in between Sun and Earth on 6th June Wednesday morning and seen as a small black dot against the disk of the Sun. This rarest of predictable celestial phenomena occurred previously in June 2004. Venus transit occurred four times in 243 years and in pairs. This will be the last transit for this century. The next pair of transits will occur in December 2117 and December 2125.

The Venus transit can be visible from the western, north-western part of most North America, Pacific Ocean, Japan, north-eastern Asia, New Zealand, eastern Australia, and high Arctic locations including Greenland and Iceland. In North America, north-western South America, and the Caribbean, the transit will be visible on 5 June until sunset. From sunrise on 6 June, the end of the transit will be visible from the Middle East, South Asia, most of Europe and east Africa. The transit will not be visible from western Africa and most of South America.

The event can be seen in Chennai from sunrise till 10.22 a.m. and the maximum visibility at 7.02 a.m. on June 6, 2012. It would be visible as a dark spot in the foreground of the bright solar disk. Like any solar phenomenon, it is dangerous to view the transit of Venus with the naked eye. Looking at the sun won’t cause pain, but it can cause blindness.

To watch a transit is to observe an image of the Sun projected onto a screen through telescope, binoculars, pinhole or reflected pinhole. A special awareness programme will be arranged at the B.M. Birla Planetarium, Periyar Science and Technology Centre, Gandhimandapam Road in Chennai.

In New Delhi on Wednesday, the Nehru Planetarium will have telescopes with solar filters to safely observe the transit.

Dr N Rathnasree, director of Nehru Planetarium, Delhi said that Venus transit had provided an opportunity to make measurements of the distance between Earth and Sun in the 18th and 19th centuries.