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This picture shows what a transit of Venus might look like. The big black dot near the bottom is Venus. The yellow arrows show how Venus will move during the transit in 2004.
Click on image for full size
This illustration is original Windows to the Universe artwork created by Randy Russell. The image of the Sun is courtesy SOHO (ESA & NASA); information on the apparent size and path of Venus courtesy Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC.

Transits of Venus

Sometimes the planet Venus gets between Earth and the Sun. When it does, we see a black dot move across the Sun. The black dot is Venus. Astronomers have a name for this. They call it a "transit" of Venus. A transit is like an eclipse of the Sun.

Transits of Venus don't happen very often. The last one was way back in 1882!

There will be a transit of Venus on June 8, 2004. There will be another one June 6, 2012. The next transit after that won't happen for a very long time.

NASA has a web site with lots of news about the transit in 2004.

In the past, astronomers made some measurements during a transit. Those measurements helped them figure out how far away Venus is. They also helped scientists figure out how far Earth is from the Sun.

Last modified May 24, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA