NASA website will carry images captured by Hanle observatory

Want to watch the rare sight of Venus passing across the face of the sun from the comfort of your home? All you need is the browser on your computer, a smartphone or a tablet, as several observatories across the world, including the one at Hanle in Ladakh, will, on Wednesday, stream live images of the phenomenon on the internet.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bangalore runs the Hanle observatory. Vigyan Prasar, a body under the Department of Science and Technology and the Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi will set up telescopes there to observe the transit.

The facility's communication link will be used to upload the images captured by telescopes.

In addition, the transit will observed at Merak, a city some 170 km away from Hanle, and at the Kodaikanal solar observatory in Tamil Nadu, according to T.P. Prabhu, senior professor and dean at the IIA.

The images from Hanle will be among those available on website http://venustransit.nasa.gov/, created by U.S. space agency NASA.

The transit will be in progress when the sun rises over India on June 6. The webcast from Hanle will start at 5.30 a.m. (IST).

For those who want to watch the entire spectacle, which will be seen again only in December, 2117, there are webcasts that start even earlier. The one hosted by NASA from Mauna Kea in Hawaii is scheduled to get under way by 3.15 a.m. (IST).

The planet will complete its passage across the sun by about 10.20 a.m.

In earlier centuries, scientific interest in observing transits of Venus was based on accurately computing the distance between the earth and the sun, which would help determine the size of the solar system.

This time, scientists wish to use the information they gather to better understand planets discovered around faraway suns.

Transits of Venus are so rare that it would be a crime to squander such an opportunity, says U.S. astronomer Jay M. Pasachoff, in a recent article in Nature. “One never knows what will prove vital to future research.”

Venus won't move across sun again for at least another 105 years

Data from the phenomenon will shed light on other solar systems

Keywords: Venus transit