Yesterday we had a rare cosmic event in the sky, the Venus Transit. If you missed it, you’ll have to hang around until 2117 to catch the next one.
Transits happen when a planet crosses between Earth and the sun. Only Mercury and Venus, which are closer to the sun than our planet, can undergo this unusual alignment.
With its relatively tight orbit, Mercury circles the sun fast enough that we see the innermost planet transit every 13 to 14 years. But transits of Venus are exceedingly rare, due to that world’s tilted orbit: After the 2012 Venus transit, we won’t see another until 2117.
Luckily, we have a huge number of amateur and professional astronomers and photographers who were there to catch the event. Here are a smattering of images of Venus passing in front of the sun, from NASA’s Flickr pool. It’s fantastic to see some planetary scale from our sister planet. Hope nobody blinded themselves in the process. Pretty amazing!