Today, June 5th, astronomers and space enthusiasts will be able to experience the transit of Venus, a rare planetary alignment that helped scientists map out our solar system many years ago. The second since 2004, the phenomenon won’t occur again until December 2117.
For centuries, astronomers have studied the transit with the goal of estimating the distance between Earth and the sun. Explorers competed for viewing locations, and watched the Venus crossed the sun over a six hour period.
Modern technology has allowed scientists to reach more accurate readings of the distance between our world and the sun, as well as the other planets in our solar system, but the transit of Venus remains an iconic event in astronomic development. The occurrence also aids astronomers in their search for other planets outside our solar system today.