Venus Transit of June 5, 2012
Next  Venus Transit  Event Occurs in 2117!

 

Once again, residents of New Mexico will be hoping for clear skies on the afternoon and evening of June 5 when the Venus Transit will occur.  An astronomical "transit" is defined as the passage of a smaller celestial body or its shadow across the disk of a larger celestial body.  In this event, the orbits of both Earth and Venus will be lined up with the solar disk and Venus will cross the face of the sun. 

Transits of Venus are very rare, occurring in pairs that are separated by eight years.  The previous transit occurred in 2004 (the first Venus transit to be widely photographed), but the next event won't happen until 2117!  Unlike the recent solar eclipse, the event is widely visible across much of the globe. 

In Albuquerque, the transit begins at 4:05 MDT.  At that point, the sun will be 49 degrees above the horizon in the southwest sky.  The time of the transit is nearly 7 hours but in New Mexico, Venus will be about three-fourths of the way across the sun when it sets.  The table below shows a representation of the path of Venus across the when viewed from Albuquerque.

   
 ingress exterior  ingress interior  transit center  egress interior  egress exterior
 4:05 pm MDT  4:23 pm MDT  7:27 pm MDT  8:18 pm MDT  sunset
             

Do not look directly at the sun to view this event.  If you still have your solar glasses or filters from the recent solar eclipse, you may use those. Safe viewing tips from NASA are available here. Without magnification, Venus will appear to be quite small (1/32 of the sun's apparent diameter). The transit of Venus is best viewed directly when magnified, which demands a telescope or binoculars with a solar filter.

 
For more details on the Venus transit, and for information on viewing the event in Albuquerque, please visit The Albuquerque Astronomical Society's website.
 

NASA has a website dedicated to the Venus transit.

Detailed charts are available here.

NASA will also support a webcast during the event.

 

For some images from 2004 Venus transit, see the NASA Science News and the NASA Astronomy picture of the day.
 

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