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Venus Transit 2012: Live Coverage Of Tuesday's Astronomical Event

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Kristin Moore
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« on: June 09, 2012, 06:12:50 pm »

Evening Star

Photograph by H. Baesemann, Blickwinkel/Alamy

Venus hangs low in the evening twilight near a razor-thin crescent moon in an undated picture taken from Troms County in northern Norway.

As a prelude to this week's transit, nighttime observers may have noticed that Venus seems to be sinking toward the western evening horizon, as the planet appears to approach the sun.

Transits of Venus are so rare because the planet's orbit is tilted just over three degrees from the plane of the solar system. This means that most of the time Venus passes above or below the sun's disk, as seen from Earth.

On average, we see four transits of Venus within 243 years. The events happen in pairs spaced eight years apart, separated by more than a century. (Related: "Venus Spinning Slower Than Thought—Scientists Stumped.")

Published June 4, 2012
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