Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Star Chart for June

By David Reneke

Find out about the transit of Venus and download the Sydney Observatory's star chart for June.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It’s a twice in a lifetime moment. On Wednesday morning, June 6, an event that takes place only four times every two centuries will enthrall the world's astronomers, as it has ever since the 1600s.

People all over the world will be craning their necks to get a look at one of the rarest sky events possible, the Transit of Venus – and nobody alive will ever see this again. The next one will be in 2117.

Australian astronomer and writer for Australian Science magazine Dave Reneke said Australia, New Zealand, East Asia and the western Pacific are the best locations for viewing all of the 2012 transit, which starts soon after sunrise and finishes in the afternoon.

For people in the United States watch for it on Tuesday afternoon, June 5. Most other parts of the world will see some of the transit, with the exception of West Africa and most of South America.

“A transit of Venus is when the small disc of Venus passes in front of the Sun. The event takes several hours and has only been viewed 6 times in recorded history,” Dave said. “The last was in 2004 and was watched by millions who used telescopes to project images of the Sun's disc and the dot of Venus on to cards or electronic monitors”

Dave also said it was the reason Lieutenant James Cook came to the southern hemisphere to view the transit of 1769. “By comparing northern observations...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.