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Venus Alignment between The Earth and Sun

Jun 4, 2012

A transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes directly between the sun and earth.  This alignment is rare, coming in pairs that are eight years apart but separated by over a century. 

The most recent transit of Venus was a thrilling sight in 2004.  After the June 2012 transit of Venus (the last one in your lifetime), the next such alignment occurs in 2117.

Location, location, location.

Whether and when you can see the 2012 transit of Venus depends on your location.  Key highlights include the four "contacts" near the beginning and end of the transit when Venus appears to touch the edge of the sun.  Most of North America sees the beginning of the transit in the afternoon and evening (find a clear western horizon!) on June 5, whereas much of Eurasia sees the end of the transit in the morning (find a clear eastern horizon!) on June 6.

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So, is the transit of Venus visible June 5 or June 6?

It depends on your time zone.  Generally, for the Americas where it is visible (blue colors on map below) the 2012 transit occurs the evening of Tuesday, June 5, 2012.  For Eurasia and Africa where it is visible (sage colors on map), the latter part of the transit is seen the morning of June 6, 2012.  Map courtesy of Steven van Roode.

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