Remember the wonderful transit of Venus in June of 2012, when this world – next inward in orbit around the sun – passed directly in front of the sun as seen from Earth? On that day, astronomers would have said that Venus was in inferior conjunction to the sun. Both Venus and the Earth are moving, and so it takes 584 days – or about 1 year, 7 months – for Venus to gain a lap on Earth and pass between us and the sun again. It has now been 584 days since that 2012 transit of Venus, and this inner planet crossed, more or less, between us and the sun today (January 11, 2014). Shahrin Ahmad in Malaysia captured Venus about 8 hours before inferior conjunction.
At this 2014 inferior conjunction of Venus, the planet did not pass directly in front of the sun. A transit of Venus is a very rare event. It won’t happen again until the year 2117. On January 11, Venus passed about 5 degrees N. of the sun as seen from Earth. Shahrin Ahmad wrote:
Around 12.30 p.m. local noon time, there was a brief of good seeing, and probably the best one so far. Suits nicely as a parting shot. After that the sky seeing began to deteriorate really fast!
Even without stretching the original photo, we can easily see how the crescent has reach beyond 180 degrees around Venus.
0.4% illuminated and 5.1 deg from the sun.
This is the closest Venus I’ve ever imaged (apart from 2012 transit, but even during that time I didn’t follow its path few days before the transit). A personal record for me.
And a beautiful photo of Venus, Ahmad. Thank you for sharing!
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.