Gear up for a rare event, the Transit of Venus

When it comes to the matters of space, things immediately pop into the Venn of ‘once in a lifetime'. Brace yourselves for Wednesday's big space event: The transit of Venus. The last transit for the century, you'd rather see it now than wait for another 100 years. Said to be the rarest planetary alignment, the Transit of Venus occurs in pairs, with 8-years in between them, this is the last pair for this century. According to B. G. Sidharth, Director-General, Birla Science Centre, “The transits of venus occur when the planet Venus (Sukra) comes in between the Sun and the Earth, the venus would appear as a small black dot on the face of the sun. From India the transit is expected to be in progress before sunrise.” The next such event will take place only after 105 years or so. According to Raghunandan Kumar, secretary, Planetary Society India, in the history of mankind traced back to 5000 years, such an event has occurred only 53 times and was recorded only about six times. “Venus has a stronghold on men, even Shakespeare was inspired by Venus,” he laughs. “Nobody alive will see this celestial event again,” adds Raghunandan Kumar.

He adds that such transits are rare. The first recorded transit occurred in the year 1631. Viewers can see that the black dot crawls across the sun slowly for about four and a half hours before disappearing. What happens is that Venus gets right in front of the sun and then moves across and crawls out. Unlike a total eclipse of the sun, which is visible only within a long narrow track traced by the moon's shadow, during the 2012 transit of Venus the entire hemisphere of Earth facing the sun will get to see at least part of the planet's solar crossing. For more information, experiments and research possibilities visit: daytimeastronomy.com, sunderstanding.com, navnirmiti.org, ournewplanets.com. Contact: 929044405, 8099953536

Time and Place

In Andhra Pradesh and many states across India, the Sun will rise around 5.42 a.m. So you can view the transit from 5. 42 a.m. to 10.19 a.m. The Planetary Society of India with the AP State Council of Science and Technology has set-up 23 venues across Andhra Pradesh to view this event. In Hyderabad, filters are available at:

Amravati Talent School, Sitafal Mandi, Secunderabad

Delhi School of Excellence, Attapur

Chaitanya Residential School, Uppal

DTDC Courier, Mehdipatnam near syndicate Bank

DTDC, Vijayangar Colony

DTDC, Chaitanya Puri

Dos and Don'ts

The event shouldn't be seen with naked eyes or photographic films or smoked glass. Eclipse goggles certified by doctors only should be used. It is advised to see the event through images projected on a screen through binoculars, a telescope or through proper solar filters.

Research frenzy

Buzz is that the transit will help scientists gauge the atmosphere of the Venus. According to reports the Hubble Space Telescope will use the Moon as a mirror to study the light reflected from Venus to understand the atmosphere of the Venus.