The Transit of Venus

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Horizon, 2011-2012 Episode 14 of 15

Duration: 59 minutes

Liz Bonnin presents a Horizon special about a rare and beautiful event in our solar system, one that we should all be able to see for ourselves - the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. It will start just before midnight of the 5th of June, and won't happen again for more than a century.

Liz is joined by Lucie Green and Helen Czerski to show why the transit is such a remarkable event - transforming our understanding of our own solar system as well as helping scientists hunt for alien life on distant planets, hundreds of light years away.

  • How to view the transit of Venus

    How to view the transit of Venus

    From pinhole cameras to image projection, there are a number of ways to view the transit of Venus. But remember, the Sun can cause serious damage to your eyes and you must never look directly at it with the naked eye, through binoculars, or through a telescope. Follow the clip above to find out more. If you can't view the transit from your location, you can watch the live webcast from the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii!

    2012 transit of Venus: live webcast
  • Why is the transit of Venus so rare?

    Why is the transit of Venus so rare?

    Only two transits separated by eight years happen every hundred years or so. This is because of the relative positions of Earth, Venus and the Sun and because Earth and Venus travel around the Sun at different speeds.

    Why is the transit so rare?
  • Venus: an extreme environment

    Venus: an extreme environment

    Although Venus is a similar size to earth, it couldn't be more different. Its surface is an extreme environment; its enormous surface pressure and planet-warming runaway greenhouse effect have turned Venus into a hellish place.

    Find out more about Venus from the BBC's space site


Series Editor
Aidan Laverty
Liz Bonnin
Helen Czerski
Lucie Green


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