Venus Transits Sun Creating Solar Spectacle

[youtube_video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgngMbb3A5g[/youtube_video]

Video courtesy of NASA/SDO 

Earth’s tortured twin, the planet Venus, transited in front of the Sun on Tuesday, June 5 starting at around 6:05 p.m. EDT. The event was captured by a wide range of amateur astronomers as well as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory or “SDO” which captured the planet’s journey in the video above. 

The transit of Venus is a pretty rare occurrence. How rare? According to information on NASA’s SDO website – it has only happened seven times since the invention of the telescope – which happened (contrary to those that think it was Galileo Galilei) in 1608 by Hans Lippershy. This particular alignment of planetary bodies – is among the rarest in nature, with dates between each varying greatly.

As with most things in science, the terminology used to describe events such as this – is more clinical. Rather than calling the point when Venus enters in front of the Sun “entry” and the point when it departs “departure” – these two events are dubbed “ingress” and “egress” respectively. From a scientific and astronomical point of view – these two events are very important. They were one of the earliest ways scientists used to determine the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

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