The events News (in Norwegian) Transit of Venus 2012 Transit of Venus 2004 Norsk Total eclipse 2015

You are here: Phenomena expected during the transit


The transit of Venus that took place on June 8, 2004 was the first time since 1882 that a planet with an atmosphere moved across the solar disk. During the five transits of Venus that had been observed prior to 2004 many people reported the occurrence of strange phenomena. For the first time these phenomena could be documented photographically.



During the transit we can only observe the black night side of Venus. But the planet is surrounded by a dense atmosphere. Some sunlight passes through these layers.

When Venus is very close to the solar disk, the outer layers of its atmosphere can be observed as a faint ring around the black disk of the planet. This atmospheric ring is described briefly in literature and drawings from previous transits, but it had never been imaged before June 8, 2004.

Studies of stellar light passing through the amospheres of planets during transits tell us a lot about the composition of the atmosphere and therefore about the conditions prevailing on the surface. When planets around distant stars transit their mother stars we have unique possibilites to find out if there is oxygen or water vapour in the atmospheres. The presence of such substances would strongly indicate that there is life on the planet!

During the transit: We see the atmosphere of Venus as a bright bow outside the solar disk. This image of exceptional quality comes from the 1 meter Swedish solar telescope on La Palma. Even on the solar disk the atmosphere of can be glimpsed.
Photo: Swedish Solar Telescope/Institute for Solar Physics

Photo of Venus taken June 6, 2004 – two days before the transit. As Venus moved closer to the Sun the planet was surrounded by a thin, bright brim gradually appearing around the planet. Here it is more than a half circle.
Photo: Odd Trondal

Venus imaged one day after the transit. The whole atmosphere can be seen as a glowing circle. This is a truly unique view!
Photo: Odd Trondal


When Venus is close to the solar limb it seems to stick to the limb. In earlier times this phenomenon made hard to clock exact times for 2. And 4. Contact. It was very hard to tell when Venus had left the limb since the area between Venus and the limb becomes black.

The reason for this phenomenon and its extent has been discussed. For the first time the phenomenon has been documented photographically. The atmosphere of Venus, optical illusions due to the extreme difference in brightness between the Sun and Venus in addition to turbulent air are popular explanations.

The black-drop-effect at 3. contact. Venus has almost reached the limb on its way out of the disk. The black Venus disk is “sticking” to the limb before they actually touch. This is called the black-drop-effect.
Photo: Jarle Aasland

Venus has moved further and is now longer circular due to the black-drop-effect.
Photo: Trond Hugo Hermansen

The black-drop-effect when moves onto the solar disk.
Photo: Brynjar Berg

Black-drop-effect when Venus leaves the solr disk.
Photo: Tore Rolf Lund/Horten Natursenter


Major celestial events in Norway 2010-2015

Eclipse shades for the events

It is important to get eclipse shades for the unique transit of Venus of June 6, 2012. If you miss this one, you will not have any other opportunity! More information about eclipse shades and solar telescope

Vårt magiske univers: Norwegian film about space

Magnificent images, movies accompanied by majestic music.

Extensive Norwegian DVD about space and eclipses.

Separate tracks about the eclipses in Norway in 1954, Turkey in 2006, the Arctic in 2008 and China in 2009.

News from space in Norwegian

News from space in Norwegian

Web sites News from space in Norwegian describes the spectacular total solar eclipse taking place on Svalbard and the North Pole on March 20, 2015.



Contact: Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard, P.O. Box 1029 Blindern, N-0315 Oslo, NorwayPhone: (+47) 992 77 172 E-mail: