Across the globe, lucky observers with clear skies witnessed Venus fly by as a small black dot on the sun's surface, bidding goodbye to its neighbor, the Earth, for some 105 years.
Planetariums and observatories were filled with sky watchers to view the hours-long celestial phenomenon, which will not recur until 2117.
Observers in north and Central America, and the northern-most parts of South America viewed the celestial event just before sunset on Tuesday.
The far northwest of America, the Arctic, the western Pacific, and East Asia witnessed the entire transit. In Hawaii, one of the best places to see the whole event, the university's Institute of Astronomy set up telescope stations on Waikiki beach. Viewers also thronged observatory of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Mauna Loa, 3,400 meters above sea level, reports said.
Many people wearing protective glasses in the Australian city of Sydney cheered when they saw the planet moving across the Sun. In South Korea, about 300 people, including high school students, gathered in front of a science museum in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi province, to view the century's last Venus transit.
UK and the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and eastern Africa waited for local sunrise to try to see the closing stages of the transit.
Every 19 months Venus passes between the Earth and the sun. Since the orbit of Venus is tilted relative to that of the Earth, most of the time, the planet passes just above or below the sun. However, it is only during the transit of Venus does it pass directly between the earth and the sun.
According to scientists, transits of Venus come in pairs spaced eight years apart. The time between the pairs is 122 years and then 105 years. Tuesday's transit is the second of the 2004-2012 pair. Due to this pattern, only seven Venus transits, including the recent one, have been gazed since the invention of the telescope.
The planet, often mistakenly referred to as the "morning star" or "evening star" due to its bright appearance, took about seven hours to travel across the face of the sun.
by RTT Staff Writer
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