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Tahiti offers best viewpoint for last transit of Venus this century

LONDON, England – On Tuesday 5th June 2012 the planet Venus is set to make a very rare passage across the face of the sun and experts have reported one of the best visibility viewpoints will be the Pa

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LONDON, England – On Tuesday 5th June 2012 the planet Venus is set to make a very rare passage across the face of the sun and experts have reported one of the best visibility viewpoints will be the Pacific region, between Tahiti and Japan.

The transit of Venus is one of the rarest events on the astronomical calendar. It occurs in a pattern and only takes place every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years.

The last transit was in 2004 and after an eight year hiatus 5th June 2012 will be the last chance this century to observe this spectacular phenomenon which will not take place again until 2117. This exceptional event was last observed in Tahiti and Moorea by Captain James Cook in 1769, during his first circumnavigation trip through the South Pacific Ocean.

CompStar (www.compstar-esf.org), an international symposium in astrophysics which focuses on the physics and astrophysics of compact stars, will gather around 250 researchers in Tahiti to study the transit. This study will be organised by Mr. Jérôme Margueron, a senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

A range of events will take place to honour the transit throughout 2012 including conferences at the University of Polynesia, an exhibition on James Cook’s circumnavigations and Polynesian dance shows as well as the official observation itself.

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