Venus Transit 370.
(photo credit: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters)
From 5:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Israelis can watch the planet
Venus pass directly in front of the sun in a once-in-a-lifetime
The “Venus Transit” of 2012 will occur eight years after the
most recent event, but it will take 105 years – in 2117 – for it to happen
again. The phenomenon occurs four times in 240 years. Israel is among the
countries where the phenomenon will be visible.
As Venus is much smaller
than the sun (and the Earth), it blocks out only about three percent of the
image of the sun – so the sky will not become darker or the air colder as in
other types of eclipses. A small dark disk passing over a small part of the sun
will be visible without any patterns due to the thickness of the
The phenomenon of Venus Transit was predicted in 1627 by
German astronomer Johannes Kepler, but he didn’t live long enough to see it
To avoid damaging your retinas, do not peer through dark
glasses, digital camera or old camera film. Taking a peek for a split second can
cause permanent loss of vision from exposure to the sun’s powerful
Instead, one can face the opposite direction, make a pinhole in a
piece of cardboard and put another piece behind that to let the image through
But the best viewing option is to watch a broadcast
of the event from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, the Bareket
Observatory or the Givatayim Planetarium.
Israel is a good place for
viewing the Venus Transit (via professional observatories) but it will take
longer here. It will not be easily visible in the skies over South America,
Portugal and part of Spain and southern and western Africa.