Venus sails across sun in rare display

Transit events happen in pairs separated by more than a century

By Meghan Rosen, 15:57 PM December 13, 2012

2012 SCIENCE NEWS TOP 25: 22

Millions of eyes followed Venus’ steady June voyage across the sun’s surface, the coal-black dot sailing in front of a blazing golden orb (SN: 6/30/12, p. 11). The spectacle was the second in the recent pair of Venus transits; the first was in 2004.

At the beginning and tail end of Venus’ six-hour journey in 2004 — before and after the planet was completely silhouetted by the sun — astronomers saw something they had been hoping for: Faint wisps of Venus’ upper...

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