On June 6th 2012 the world will witness a different kind of solar eclipse known to astronomers as Transit of Venus. It will be seen as a black dot, move slowly across the Sun and many people will be getting up very early indeed, on that day, including Tanzania where we shall see the ending at Sun rise between 6:34 am up to 7:49 am.
The event has got a long history which goes beyond observation of the transit itself and beyond laws of science we already know today. For over 250 years, the most powerful nations have been sending their best astronomers to sail across oceans and climb over mountains, just to glimpse such an event.
It started way back in 1631, when Johannes Kepler (the guy who gave us his three laws of planetary motion) predicted that Venus would come in between the Earth and the Sun on Dec 6th 1631. Unfortunately it was not possible to watch it in Europe as it was going to occur at night.
Then came a clever young man known as Jeremiah Horrocks, who calculated that these transits actually occur in pairs and the next one would occur on Nov 24th 1639. Despite the fact that he was the first, along with his friend, to observe the Transit of Venus he had however made a wrong assumption on his calculation of Earth-Sun distance which was 96 million km.
Horrocks was a brilliant scientist, could even calculate planet orbits when he was just 17, and was a bridge between Kepler and Newton, but tragically died at the age of 22!
Now continue to explore more adventures related to previous transit of Venus and understand how we calculated the Earth-Sun distance we know today at Transit of Venus 6th June 2012 book in English by NCRA, click other languages to read in other translated languages or click Transit of Venus – A triumph of Science Article by Dr. Jiwaji.