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Transit of Venus 2012 in Pictures (Gallery)

Venus Crescent Before the Transit

Kevin Reardon

This picture shows Venus as a full 360 degree "crescent." It was taken about 30 hours before the start of the transit with Venus at an angular separation of about 2.3 degrees. The crescent was only about 230 degrees on 02 June. The full 360 degree ring is made possible by the scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere opposite the bright part of the arc produced by reflected illumination by the Sun. The image was obtained with the 76 cm Dunn Solar Telescope through a 50Å FWHM filter using the italian IBIS instrument. The thickness of the arc is only about 0.5 arcseconds.

Hubble Telescope and Venus Transit

NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

During the transit of Venus across the Sun's face on June 5-6, 2012, the Hubble Space Telescope will be looking in the opposite direction -- at the Moon. Hubble cannot look at the Sun directly, so astronomers are planning to use the Moon as a mirror to capture reflected sunlight and isolate the small fraction of the light that passes through Venus's atmosphere. Imprinted on that light are the fingerprints of the planet's atmospheric makeup. This is an experiment to see how well Venus's atmosphere can be studied spectroscopically, as a proxy for transit observations of extrasolar planets.

Venus Transit 2012 Global Visibility Map

F. Espenak, NASA GSFC

The map shows the global visibility of the Transit of Venus of June 5-6, 2012.

Last Chance for You to See Venus Cross the Sun (Infographic)

Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor

If you miss it in June you won't have another opportunity until the year 2117.

Venus Transits: 2004 and 2012

NASA

This still from a NASA video shows the positions of Venus on the face of the sun at various stages during the transit of Venus on June 5, 2012, as well as on June 4, 2004.

Transit of Venus 2012 Diagram

F. Espenak, NASA GSFC

This diagram shows the predicted path of Venus across the sun's face on June 5-6, 2012.

Venus Transit 2nd Contact: NASA Webcast

NASA

Venus fully enters the sun's disk in this view of the June 5, 2012 Venus transit from a telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, during a NASA webcast. Venus appears at lower left, a position created by the telescope itself. Venus was actually at upper left at the time.

Capturing Venus Transit From ISS

NASA

This is a sample low res test image from NASA Astronaut Don Petttit shot from onboard the International Space Station on June 5, 2012. Petttit, who had the foresight to bring a solar filter for his camera, will be capturing the June 5 Venus Transit from the International Space Station with the images downloading in almost real-time. He will photograph through the European Space Agency-built "cupola", removing the scratch panes to get crisp, clear images.

En Route

NASA

Venus begins to cross the sun at 7:30 p.m. on June 5, 2012, in a rare transit seen from atop Mount Mauna Kea, Hawaii, in this still from a webcast broadcast by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

Atop Mauna Kea

NASA

Another image of Venus crossing the sun from the perspective of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, at about 7:40 p.m. ET.

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