Thanks to resident and amateur astronomer, Steve Taylor, we all can get a marvelous glimpse of the transit of Venus from yesterday evening.
People around the world waited eagerly for June 5 when the planet Venus crossed the face of the sun and partially blocked its light from reaching Earth. This alignment is rare, coming in pairs that apparently are eight years apart but separated by more than a century.
The most recent transit of Venus was a thrilling sight in 2004. In Taylor's photographs that accompany this article, Venus is the black disk moving across the sun.
Historically, this rare alignment is how humans measured the size of our solar system, according to an online source TransitOfVenus.org. The view is like a front row seat to the transit method, by which humans now find planets around distant stars, according to the site's details.
The entire transit lasted a little more six hours, from about 6 p.m. until sunset.
Yesterday, Christine Douglass, manager of public relations for the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminded everyone that the following devices will not protect eyes during this type of environmental incident and in eclipses: sunglasses, binoculars with filters, neutral density filters, or exposed photographic or radiographic film.
The next transit won't occur until December 2117, making this occurence the last chance for anyone alive today to see such a development.
By the way, that next transit is 38,536 days and 11 hours away from the posting of this article!
Did you know Venus, as the second planet from the sun, is named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty? The planet—the only planet named after a female—may have been named for the most beautiful deity of her pantheon because it shone the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers, according to Space.com.
In ancient times, Venus was once thought to be two different stars, the evening star and the morning star—that is, the ones that first appeared at sunset and sunrise, according to Space.com. In Latin, they were respectively known as Vesper and Lucifer.