Transit of Venus

What is it?

When Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun it appears as a black dot moving across the face of the sun. Jeremiah Horrocks, a British Priest, was the first to make a recorded observation of the transit of Venus in 1639. He used his observations to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun which is now called the Astronomical Unit (AU).

Image courtesy of:

Image courtesy of:

This alignment seldom occurs and has a strange frequency pattern. It occurs in a pair that are eight years apart but separated by more than a Century. This strange pattern is due to the fact that Venus is inclined to the orbit of the Earth so even though Venus passes in front of the Sun every 1.6 years it is usually just above or below the Sun and due to the Sun’s glare invisible to us.If Venus and the earth orbited the sun in the same plane as the sun, transits would happen frequently.  However, the orbit of Venus is inclined to the orbit of earth, so when Venus passes between the sun and the earth every 1.6 years, Venus usually is a little bit above or a little bit below the sun, invisible in the sun’s glare.

Consolidation of experiences

For the 2012 Transit of Venus which occurred on June 5th/6th, the OAD was asked to serve as a collection point for the many photos, stories and experiences from all around the world. To achieve this quickly and easily people have been asked to send their reports/photos/experiences (in pdf format if possible) to

This webpage will be used to consolidate all the experiences collected at that email address. Below is snapshot image showing where we have received stories from. Click on the image to view the actual map with links to the respective reports.


Acknowledgement must go to our intern Susan Wilson for sifting through the many emails received and putting together the links on Google maps.