Sky & Telescope has a very cool video made from digitizing photographic plates taken in 1882. On December 6th, 1882, the planet Venus passed across the face of the sun. Astronomer David Peck Todd photographed the event from the Lick Observatory in California. A group of scientists discovered the 147 forgotten photographic plates and digitzed them into this amazing video of something no living human being has seen.
It’s been 122 years, but on June 8, 2004, Venus will again transit the sun. The prime location for viewing this event will be parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. Portion of the North America will be able to view the transit in progress at sunrise, while my side of the world can catch the beginning of the transit before sundown squelches the fun. So I am planning on enjoying a bit of this momentous event that no living person has seen before. I could go to India in a couple months – or maybe China.