Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Transit of Venus, 2012

Credit: Geoffrey Wyatt, Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum

Geoffrey Wyatt’s prize-winning image of the 2004 transit was taken with a special filter that only allows through the red light of hydrogen atoms. Credit: Geoffrey Wyatt, Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum

By Nick Lomb

Transits of Venus allowed astronomers to calculate the scale of the solar system, and led to the discovery of Australia. On 6 June this year Australians and New Zealanders will have a ring-side view of one of the most famous events in astronomy – and the last one for another 105 years.

Dr Nick Lomb spent 30 years as an astronomer at Sydney Observatory, which is part of the Powerhouse Museum, and is still closely associated with it. His book Transit Of Venus: 1631 to the Present is published by NewSouth and Powerhouse Publishing, and provides the full story of the transits of Venus (see Sydney Observatory will run programs associated with the transit of Venus on 6 June 2012, including safe solar viewing if sky conditions permit. For details, see

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.