Photos by P.R. Nandhinee

Many people in Chennai gathered at the beaches and Birla planetarium at the early hours of June 6, 2012. They were there to watch the magnificent phenomenon repeat itself for the last time in this century. Those few lucky people caught a glimpse of the Venus transit, that is the Venus moving across the sun.
The Venus transit occurs four times every 243 years, so we get to experience two Venus transits per century and the latest, being the last one for this century.

The photo here shows its view from the Elliott’s beach, where  the Tamil Nadu Astronomical Society, Exnora International and Breakthrough Science Society joined hands to give the science enthusiasts the opportunity to witness this breathtaking event through their programme ‘Observe Venus in Transit ‘ .

These organisations arranged to put up many types of telescopes, big and small, including solar telescopes, that gave an awesome view of the transit.

The transit of Venus occurs in patterns – 2 transits with 8 years interval and then gap of 121 ½ years and another 2 transits with 8 years interval and then a gap of 105 ½. The last transit before this occurred on June 8, 2004. The only other planet transit that can be observed is that of the Mercury, since Venus and Mercury are closest to the sun. But, Mercury transits occur more often, that is, 13 times in a century.

According to the handout given at the event, the next Mercury transit will occur in 2016.

For those present at this skywatching programme, it was an opportunity of the life time. Everyone wonder if they would live to see the next Venus transit, which will be occurring in 2117 and later in 2125, And now, do not miss the Mercury transit that is due to occur in 2016.