Catch this rare celestial event because it’s the last one to occur this century; the next one happens in 2117 which means we’d be way up there or way down here, beneath our feet (perhaps you know where).
As Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, it appears as a black mole on the face of the giant, orange fireball. Historically, Venus transits were used to realistically approximate the size of the Solar System. The Venus transit in 1882 was used to calculate the distance between the Earth and Sun. NASA’s Kepler mission hopes to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars by looking for the same transits as this.
This is the 2004 Venus transit captured by NASA’s TRACE satellite (Credit: NASA).
Jeremiah Horrocks made the first known observation of the transit of Venus in 1639 from his home near Preston in England, as visualized by artist J.W. Lavender in 1903. His friend, William Crabtree, also observed this transit from Broughton, near Manchester (images from Wikimedia commons).