News & AnalysisAstronomy

Venus's Rare Sun Crossing May Aid Search for Exoplanets

Science  11 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6082, pp. 660
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6082.660

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Summary

Early next month, skywatchers will get their second—and final—chance this century to observe a rare mini-eclipse in which Venus crosses in front of the sun. As seen from Earth on 5–6 June, the silhouette of Venus, as big as a large sunspot, will adorn the sun's orange disk with a fleeting beauty mark. Venus's passages, or transits, occur in pairs spaced 8 years apart every 105 or 122 years. The next transit isn't until 2117.

  • * Ron Cowen is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes about physics, astronomy, and the history of technology.