It was the seventh transit visible since Kepler first predicted the phenomenon in the 17th century
From the U.S. to South Korea, people around the world turned their attention to the daytime sky on Tuesday, and early Wednesday in Asia, to catch the rare transit of Venus. The next one won't be for another 105 years.
For astronomers, the transit was also an event they hoped would spark curiosity about the universe and our place in it.
Sul Ah Chim, a researcher at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute in South Korea, said he hoped people see life from a larger perspective, and “not get caught up in their small, everyday problems.”
“When you think about it from the context of the universe, 105 years is a very short period of time and the Earth is only a small, pale blue spot,” he said.
Those in most areas of North and Central America saw the start of the transit until sunset, while those in western Asia, the eastern half of Africa and most of Europe could catch the transit's end once the sun came up.
While astronomers used the latest technology to document the transit, American astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station took photos of the event and posted them online.
Online streams with footage from telescopes around the world proved popular for the U.S. space agency, NASA, and other observatories. A NASA stream midway through the transit had nearly 2 million total views.
In Los Angeles, throngs jammed Mount Hollywood. Minutes before Venus first touched the outer edge of the sun, Sousa's “Transit Of Venus March” blared.
It was the seventh transit visible since German astronomer Johannes Kepler first predicted the phenomenon in the 17th century. Because of the shape and speed of Venus' orbit around the sun and its relationship to Earth's annual trip, transits occur in pairs separated by more than a century.
Clouds obscured the view in Tokyo, but students and other viewers under clearer skies in southern and western Japan used dark lenses to gaze at the sun. One child said it looked as if the “sun had a mole on its face.”
“I'm sad to see Venus go,” electrical engineer Andrew Cooper of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii told viewers watching a webcast of the transit's final moments.
PTI reports from New Delhi:
A cloudy sky restricted visibility in Delhi and some other parts of northern India for some time.
Describing the cosmic event as “awe-inspiring,” Nehru Planetarium Director N. Rathnasree said the event had a wonderful connection with modern-day research.
“It is exciting to see such an event,” said Class X student Soumaya.
“It is too good to resist. It is awesome,” said school teacher Nisha Gupta.