The Transit of Venus: Where to See It

Transit of Venus, 1882
Students at Vassar College, New York, acquired this image of the transit of Venus on December 6, 1882. Small specks on the Sun's face are photographic flaws, not sunspots.
Courtesy Vassar College.
No one alive today has seen this sight, and it happens only twice this century. For the first time since 1882, Venus will glide across (transit) the face of the Sun on June 8, 2004, taking a little more than 6 hours to complete its journey. The entire transit is visible from Europe, Africa (except the far west), the Middle East, and Asia (except the far east). For observers in eastern and central North America, the Sun rises with the transit in progress.

A magnified view of the Sun (which requires a proper solar filter) will reveal the black dot of Venus slowly moving across the Sun’s face from celestial east to west. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the transit is watching Venus enter and exit the solar disk — a process that takes about 20 minutes.

The tables on the following three pages give predictions of contacts (truncated to the whole minute) for a number of locations around the world. Page 2 lists cities in North and South America (and western Africa) where the transit is in progress at sunrise. Cities located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where the entire transit is visible are listed on page 3, while on page 4 are cities in Australia and southeast Asia where the Sun sets before the transit ends. All contacts are given in civil time, including daylight-saving ("summer") time where in use.

World map showing where the transit can be seen
The entire transit of Venus is visible from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. If you live outside these regions, the transit will either be underway at sunrise or interrupted by sunset.
Sky & Telescope illustration.
During the transit there are four instants when the disks of Venus and the Sun make contact with each other at a single point. Contacts I and IV occur just as Venus initially touches (I) or finally departs (IV) the solar disk. At Contact II Venus appears fully entered upon the Sun, and a thread of light is seen between the planet and the Sun's edge. At Contact III the reverse is true; Venus begins to leave the solar face and the last thread of sunlight separating the planet from the blackness at the edge of the solar disk vanishes.

Eye safety is a prime consideration when you’re viewing the solar surface (with or without Venus in transit). Always use a safe solar filter or an indirect projection technique, even when the Sun is low on the horizon. In the solar section of this Web site are numerous articles that explain solar filters and describe how to safely view the Sun

Weather also needs to be considered — you won't see the transit if it's cloudy at your observing site. Canadian meteorologist Jay Anderson has published some data and a weather map on his Web site.

Transit In Progress at Sunrise

Map showing height of the Sun at the end of the transit
As the Sun rises over North America on June 8th, observers in the eastern two-thirds of the continent will have a limited time to catch the transit before it ends. On the map above, each line shows how high the Sun will have managed to climb above the eastern horizon (black lines) by the time of fourth contact.
Sky & Telescope illustration.
In the following table, "--" indicates that the event takes place when the Sun is below the horizon.

Use Sky & Telescope's Almanac page to calculate the time of sunrise for your observing location on June 8, 2004.

Civil times of the transit are given throughout, including daylight-saving ("summer") time where in use. As the Sun rises at each of these places, Venus will already be visible as a black dot on the solar surface. Remember, always use a safe solar filter to view the event, even when the Sun is low in the sky.

Transit of Venus: Transit in Progress at Sunrise
 
Location
Contact I Contact II mid-transit Contact III Contact IV
Boston, MA -- -- -- 7:05 a.m. 7:25 a.m.
New York, NY -- -- -- 7:05 a.m. 7:25 a.m.
Washington, DC -- -- -- 7:06 a.m. 7:25 a.m.
Miami, FL -- -- -- 7:07 a.m. 7:27 a.m.
Chicago, IL -- -- -- 6:05 a.m. 6:25 a.m.
St. Louis, MO -- -- -- 6:05 a.m. 6:25 a.m.
Houston, TX -- -- -- -- 6:26 a.m.
Yellowknife, NT -- -- -- 5:02 a.m. 5:22 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB -- -- -- 6:03 a.m. 6:23 a.m.
Iqaluit, NU -- -- 4:20 a.m. 7:03 a.m. 7:23 a.m.
Halifax, NS -- -- -- 8:05 a.m. 8:25 a.m.
Ottawa, ON -- -- -- 7:05 a.m. 7:25 a.m.
Hamilton,
Bermuda
-- -- -- 8:07 a.m. 8:26 a.m.
Kingston,
Jamaica
-- -- -- 6:08 a.m. 6:28 a.m.
San Jose,
Costa Rica
-- -- -- -- 5:29 a.m.
Panama City,
Panama
-- -- -- 7:09 a.m. 7:29 a.m.
Caracas,
Venezuela
-- -- -- 7:09 a.m. 7:29 a.m.
Bogota,
Columbia
-- -- -- 6:10 a.m. 6:29 a.m.
La Paz,
Bolivia
-- -- -- 7:12 a.m. 7:31 a.m.
Sao Paulo,
Brazil
-- -- -- 8:13 a.m. 8:32 a.m.
Asuncion,
Paraguay
-- -- -- 7:13 a.m. 7:32 a.m.
Lima,
Peru
-- -- -- -- 11:31 a.m.
Marrakech,
Morocco
-- 5:40 a.m. 8:24 a.m. 11:06 a.m. 11:25 a.m.
Dakar,
Senegal
-- -- 8:25 a.m. 11:09 a.m. 11:28 a.m.
Tombouctou,
Mali
-- -- 8:25 a.m. 11:08 a.m. 11:27 a.m.


Transit Visible From Start to Finish

At some of the locations listed below, the Sun may be very near the horizon at either the beginning or end of the transit. Use Sky & Telescope's Almanac page to calculate the time of sunrise or sunset for your observing location on June 8, 2004.

Civil times of the transit are given throughout, including daylight-saving ("summer") time where in use. Remember, always use a safe solar filter to view the event, even when the Sun is low in the sky.

Transit Visible From Start to Finish
Location Contact I Contact II mid-transit Contact III Contact IV
Beijing,
China
1:13 p.m. 1:32 p.m. 4:14 p.m. 6:59 p.m. 7:18 p.m.
Hanoi,
Vietnam
12:12 p.m. 12:31 p.m. 3:15 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:19 p.m.
Bangkok,
Thailand
12:13 p.m. 12:31 p.m. 3:15 p.m. 6:01 p.m. 6:20 p.m.
Bombay,
India
10:46 a.m. 11:05 a.m. 1:48 p.m. 4:32 p.m. 4:51 p.m.
Calcutta,
India
10:44 a.m. 11:03 a.m. 1:46 p.m. 4:31 p.m. 4:50 p.m.
Tashkent,
Uzbekistan
10:17 a.m. 10:36 a.m. 1:18 p.m. 4:01 p.m. 4:20 p.m.
Tehran,
Iran
9:48 a.m. 10:07 a.m. 12:50 p.m. 3:32 p.m. 3:51 p.m.
Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia
8:18 a.m. 8:37 a.m. 11:21 a.m. 2:03 p.m. 2:22 p.m.
Amman,
Jordan
8:19 a.m. 8:38 a.m. 11:21 a.m. 2:04 p.m. 2:23 p.m.
Cairo,
Egypt
8:19 a.m. 8:38 a.m. 11:22 a.m. 2:04 p.m. 2:23 p.m.
Nairobi,
Kenya
8:18 a.m. 8:37 a.m. 11:22 a.m. 2:07 p.m. 2:25 p.m.
Abuja,
Nigeria
6:20 a.m. 6:39 a.m. 9:25 a.m. 12:08 p.m. 12:27 p.m.
Lusaka,
Zambia
8:18 a.m. 8:37 a.m. 11:23 a.m. 2:09 p.m. 2:27 p.m.
Pretoria,
South Africa
7:17 a.m. 7:36 a.m. 10:23 a.m. 1:10 p.m. 1:28 p.m.
Ankara,
Turkey
8:19 a.m. 8:38 a.m. 11:21 a.m. 2:03 p.m. 2:22 p.m.
Athens,
Greece
8:19 a.m. 8:39 a.m. 11:22 a.m. 2:04 p.m. 2:23 p.m.
Rome,
Italy
7:20 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:22 a.m. 1:04 p.m. 1:23 p.m.
Madrid,
Spain
7:20 a.m. 7:40 a.m. 10:23 a.m. 1:05 p.m. 1:24 p.m.
Paris,
France
7:20 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:22 a.m. 1:04 p.m. 1:23 p.m.
Berlin,
Germany
7:19 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:22 a.m. 1:03 p.m. 1:22 p.m.
Vienna,
Austria
7:19 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:22 a.m. 1:03 p.m. 1:23 p.m.
Dublin,
Ireland
6:19 a.m. 6:39 a.m. 9:22 a.m. 12:04 p.m. 12:23 p.m.
Glasgow,
UK
6:19 a.m. 6:39 a.m. 9:22 a.m. 12:03 p.m. 12:23 p.m.
London,
UK
6:19 a.m. 6:39 a.m. 9:22 a.m. 12:04 p.m. 12:23 p.m.
Reykjavik,
Iceland
5:18 a.m. 5:38 a.m. 8:21 a.m. 11:03 a.m. 11:22 a.m.
Oslo,
Norway
7:19 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:21 a.m. 1:02 p.m. 1:22 p.m.
Helsinki,
Finland
8:19 a.m. 8:38 a.m. 11:20 a.m. 2:02 p.m. 2:21 p.m.
Stockholm,
Sweden
7:19 a.m. 7:38 a.m. 10:21 a.m. 1:02 p.m. 1:22 p.m.
Warsaw,
Poland
7:19 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 10:21 a.m. 1:03 p.m. 1:22 p.m.
Kiev,
Ukraine
8:19 a.m. 8:38 a.m. 11:21 a.m. 2:02 p.m. 2:22 p.m.
Moscow,
Russia
9:18 a.m. 9:38 a.m. 12:20 p.m. 3:02 p.m. 3:21 p.m.
Murmansk,
Russia
9:18 a.m. 9:37 a.m. 12:19 p.m. 3:01 p.m. 3:20 p.m.


Transit In Progress at Sunset

In the following table, "--" indicates that the event takes place when the Sun is below the horizon. Use Sky & Telescope's Almanac page to calculate the time of sunset for your observing location on June 8, 2004. Note that the transit begins on the evening of June 7th in Alaska (east of the International Date Line).

Civil times of the transit are given throughout, including daylight-saving ("summer") time where in use. As the Sun sets at each of these places, Venus will still visible as a black dot on the solar surface. Remember, always use a safe solar filter to view the event, even when the Sun is low in the sky.

Transit of Venus: Transit in Progress at Sunset
Location Contact I Contact II mid-transit Contact III Contact IV
Brisbane,
Australia
3:07 p.m. 3:25 p.m. -- -- --
Darwin,
Australia
2:38 p.m. 2:57 p.m. 5:44 p.m. -- --
Melbourne,
Australia
3:07 p.m. 3:26 p.m. -- -- --
Sydney,
Australia
3:07 p.m. 3:26 p.m. -- -- --
Perth,
Australia
1:09 p.m. 1:28 p.m. 4:16 p.m. -- --
Auckland,
New Zealand
5:06 p.m. -- -- -- --
Tokyo,
Japan
2:11 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 5:13 p.m. -- --
Sapporo,
Japan
2:11 p.m. 2:31 p.m. 5:14 p.m. -- --
Nanjing,
China
1:12 p.m. 1:31 p.m. 4:14 p.m. 6:59 p.m. --
Harbin,
China
1:12 p.m. 1:32 p.m. 4:14 p.m. 6:59 p.m. --
Victoria,
Hong Kong
1:12 p.m. 1:31 p.m. 4:14 p.m. 7:00 p.m. --
Taipei,
Taiwan
1:11 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 4:14 p.m. -- --
Manila,
Philippines
1:11 p.m. 1:29 p.m. 4:14 p.m. -- --
Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
1:12 p.m. 1:31p.m. 4:15 p.m. 7:02 p.m. --
Magadan,
Russia
5:13 p.m. 5:32 p.m. 8:15 p.m. -- --
Vladivostok,
Russia
4:12 p.m. 4:31 p.m. 7:14 p.m. -- --
Fairbanks,
Alaska
9:13 p.m. 9:33 p.m. -- -- --
Nome,
Alaska
9:13 p.m. 9:33 p.m. 00:16 a.m. -- --

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