Amateurs take their shot at Venus in transit (pictures)
Setting up shop
On June 5 (and June 6 in some places), the world gets to witness a once-in a-lifetime celestial happening -- the transit of Venus, a super-rare astronomical event in which it's possible to view Venus' passage across the sun from Earth.
Why "once in a lifetime?" The transit of Venus "occurs in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits 8 years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years," according to Bill Nye's Planetary Society. The last transit took place on June 8, 2004, and the next transit occurs on December 11, 2117.
We've already seen some great shots snapped by CNET photographer James Martin today at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, but we astronomy geeks at Crave wanted to see even more. So we scoured Flickr and found a few nice people around this vast Earth willing to share shots of the silhouetted Venus journeying across the sun. We also mixed in a couple of NASA grabs for good measure.
Photographer H.L. Tam captured some amateur astronomers setting up a telescope with a solar filter at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.
Planes and stars
Peeking from the porch
Venus passes through the wilderness
DIY Venus viewer
Venus saves the day
Through the looking glass
View from Venus
This NASA artist's conception of the view of the sun from Venus gives a better idea of the scorching hot viewing experience from that planet. Venus' carbon dioxide-infused atmosphere creates a mega greenhouse effect that keeps the surface temperature a sizzling 752 degrees Fahrenheit.
Have a look at CNET's additional transit of Venus gallery, including a few more action shots and a unique perspective from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Taking the heat
Using an extreme ultraviolet filter, NASA observers captured this image of Venus passing the sun near the upper chromosphere and lower transition region. "The bright areas show places where the plasma has a high density," NASA explains of the violent surface of the sun.
Check out this video of a sped-up Venus trotting in front of the sun, courtesy of NASA: