The Transit of Venus will take place on 6 June 2012, when the planet Venus crosses the face of the Sun.
This event has particular significance for New Zealanders, as in 1769 a Transit of Venus was the reason Captain James Cook first explored the Southern Pacific, and with the aid of the Tahitian navigator Tupaia travelled on to New Zealand.
The 2012 transit is perfectly timed for observers in New Zealand, as long as the weather is fine. You’ll need a clear view of the sun – but remember not to look directly at the sun without special viewing glasses. Your best chance to get a really good look is to attend one of the many public transit viewing events hosted by local astronomical societies and observatories around the country.
We’re providing special video forecasts for the Transit of Venus, so tune in to MetService TV to find out where the best viewing conditions will be around the country. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, Carter Observatory will be live-streaming the event on site, as will the University of Canterbury on their website: http://www.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/venus_transit/
If you’re keen to learn more about the Transit and where to view it, here are some helpful websites to visit:
Stardome Observatory – Auckland: http://www.stardome.org.nz/
Carter Observatory – Wellington: http://www.carterobservatory.org/
Mt John Observatory – Lake Tekapo: http://earthandskynz.com
Radio New Zealand – excellent lectures: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/lecturesandforums/transitofvenusarchives