Transit of Venus: your last chance to see it before 2117

Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 09:30 in Astronomy & Space

Rare journey will help scientists learn more about planets far beyond our solar systemA small black dot will grace the face of the sun as it rises (over Europe) on Wednesday, when Venus makes a rare and historic journey across the burning disc of our parent star.Few people alive today will have another chance to witness the transit of Venus, as the laws of orbital mechanics do not bring the planets into position again until December 2117.In previous centuries, nations dispatched astronomers to their farthest territories to record the transit in progress. In doing so, they embarked on the first global scientific collaboration in history and answered the pressing question of the size of the solar system.This year's observations from powerful telescopes will help scientists learn more about planets far beyond our solar system, and may even help spot those with atmospheres that are similar to Earth's and capable of...

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