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Delhiites enthralled by century's last Venus transit

Wednesday June 06, 2012 06:14:14 PM, IANS

New Delhi: It was a breathtaking experience for sky gazers here Wednesday when Venus - the second planet from the Sun and the Earth's neighbour - crossed the Sun's face in a once-in-a-lifetime celestial phenomenon.

Initially, clouds did play spoilsport hiding the Sun but soon it came out shining brightly giving a clear view of Venus crossing it.

The transit started at sunrise and ended at around 10.20 a.m. with Venus appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's surface during its transit, one of the most eagerly-awaited celestial events.

Public viewing of the rare occurrence, which will not happen again until 2117, were organised at the Nehru Planetarium with telescopes, projections and solar filters put up at the Teen Murti lawns here.

"I was awestruck. It was a special moment that I will never forget in my life," gushed Ramandeep Singh, a Class 9 student of Gyan Mandir Public School in west Delhi.

Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years. The last transit was in 2004.

A large number of people gathered at Teen Murti lawns to watch the celestial spectacle.

Anuradha Sharma, a housewife from Gurgaon, along with her two children came all the way from Gurgaon in order to not to miss the lifetime event.

"I did not want to miss this chance as we won'tbe able to see it again in our life," she beamed.

According to scientists, transits of Venus occur only on very rare occasions when Venus and the Earth are in a line with the Sun.

At other times, Venus passes below or above the Sun because the two orbits are at a slight angle to each other.

"Our main motive was to let the people see and experience the Venus transit. We have provided projector equipment, telescope, solar filters and even introduced a dark room so that more and more people are able to see the event comfortably," N. Rathnasree, the director of the Nehru Planetarium, told IANS.

"There are many students who have come here to calculate the distance between Earth and Venus and take required measurements of this historical event," she added.

Some people were initially disappointed by the clouds.

Said Swastika Sharma, chemistry teacher at the DAV School, Vasant Kunj: "I came at 6 a.m. and was a bit disappointed because of the cloudy weather. But later the Sun came out and we were able to watch the transit through a pinhole camera, telescope and solar view goggles.

"On the whole it was quite a fascinating experience," she said.

There were long queues as lot of people turned up to watch the event.

"I am waiting in the queue for 20 minutes and don't know when my chance will come," said Sanchi Singh, a Class 5 student, nervously.

There were some people who were happy to have watched both the transits of the century.

"I watched the Venus transit in 2004 in Holland. Last time it was a much better view as I could see the Venus coming over the Sun but it was not possible this time because of cloudy weather," said a tourist from The Netherlands.






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