This rare astronomical event can be viewed without a telescope. The next transit will be visible only in 2117, followed by another opportunity in 2125.

The Breakthrough Society, a national organisation working towards popularising science, conducted an educational awareness program on the transit of Venus across the Sun to take place on June 6 at the Marina Beach in the city on Sunday. The event was organised to spread awareness of the historical and the scientific significance of the astronomical event.

At 3:30 a.m. on June 6, Venus will be seen as a black spot passing over the disk of the Sun and will complete its transit at 10:10 a.m. However, the planet passing across the Sun will be visible only past sunrise, at approximately 5:30a.m., in Chennai. This is one of the rare astronomical events that can be viewed without the aid of a telescope.

At the awareness campaign, members of the society distributed solar filters and gave out necessary precautions when viewing the transit of Venus. Telescopes were set up for the people to have a look at the craters on the moon and planets like Saturn and Mars.

Outlining the importance of this particular astronomical event as being the first international collaborative expedition, George Joseph, convener of the Breakthrough Science Society, said, “The timing of its entry and exit [out of the disk of the Sun] can help determine the distance between the Sun and the earth. It accounts as one astronomical unit.”

The last transit of Venus was in 2004. After this year, the next transit is expected to take place in 2117. Therefore, for the current generation, June 6, 2012, would be the last opportunity to witness this astronomical event.

Though most of the world would be able to view the transit of Venus, most of South America and the Western section of Africa would not be able to observe it. India would be able to see two-thirds of the event, though, given its size, would be different when viewed from different parts of the country.

Having conducted observation camps and programmes in schools and university, the Breakthrough Science Society hopes to bring people together at the Elliots beach on June 6 to witness the event through telecopes or solar filters.

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