The good folks at the Sydney Morning Herald have set up a live feed from the Mauna Loa Exploratium in Hawaii so that you don’t you blind in viewing this celestial occurrence which last took place in 2004 but is not due to re-occur for another 105 years.
We’re just over an hour into the event which is due to continue for the next six hours. The best places to view this occurrence are the Western Pacific, East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. Whilst, Gizmodo explains just why the Venus transit is one of the most important events in scientific history as it provides interplanetary perspective.
Transits of Venus were scientific gold for early astronomers, who used them to derive an accurate measurement of the size of the solar system. By noting the time each planet took to go around the sun, and then crunching that data via methods developed by 17th century mathematician Johannes Kepler, these telescope-equipped boffins could determine each planet’s relative distance from the sun, as measured in terms of astronomical units (the distance from the Earth to the Sun). Collecting such data during a transit was the reason Captain Cook was able to travel halfway around the world from London to Tahiti in 1769.
Talking of history, did you know that Captain Cook stumbled upon Australia in 1770 after travelling east from Tahiti where he viewed Venus’ transit in 1769. Venus is roughly the same size of Earth so this celestial event also makes a good point of just how small and insignificant we really are in the whole scheme of things.
The Sydney Morning Herald published an instructive video last Monday on how to view the transit without damaging your eyes. Worth a look.
The Transit of Venus website, who reminds us we only have 38537 days 8 hours until the next transit, contains comprehensive information including when are the best times to view the event in your neighbourhood.