By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT — Stargazers across the Sultanate of Oman are in for a treat when the transit of Venus, a planetary spectacle that won’t occur again until 2117, takes place in Oman this morning. “Today is a special day for all astronomers, and all who are curious of the wonders in the sky as Venus will on the path of the Sun offering a cosmic spectacle today morning starting at 5.20 am along with the Sun rise and will last till 8 am,” Marwan A Shwaiki, Curator at the PDO Planetarium, said.
Such transits happen when a planet crosses between Earth and the Sun. Only Mercury and Venus, which are closer to the Sun than Earth, can undergo this unusual alignment. The last Venus transit was in 2004 — above, the planet glides across the rising Sun in a picture taken during the event from the North Carolina coastline. “After 2012, we won't see another transit of Venus until 2117”.
“People watching this event through some form of safe solar viewer will see the small, dark silhouette of Venus crossing the Sun's face over the course of about six hours. Although the effect won't be visually impressive, that black dot against the Sun is a remarkable thing to see,” Marwan said. Venus is Earth’s second-closest neighbouring planet.
However, one should not look at the Sun without the aid of a scientific spectacle made for the purpose. “Don’t stare directly at the Sun without eclipse glasses, a properly filtered telescope or a strong welding visor. This can cause permanent eye damage,” Marwan left precautionary note.
The PDO Planetarium has arranged special view of this celestial wonder at the Amerat Park at 5.20 am today. People can be present at the park to catch a glimpse of the same till the Sun gets brighter towards the morning, he added.