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The June 5/6 transit of Venus captured the imagination as many thousands of people worldwide turned skywards to view the Sun. Motivated no doubt by the fact that this is the last time in a lifetime to view this rare event – the next opportunity is December 2117 - many amateur astronomers took the opportunity to record the phenomena…and record it they did as hundreds of excellent images were posted online during and after the event.

Some of the best images were obtained by orbiting spacecraft. One such spacecraft is NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which captured many images of the transit including this spectacular one showing Venus as it nears the disk of the Sun.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows Venus as it nears the disk of the sun on June 5, 2012 (NASA/SDO, AIA)

Another sensational image was capture by the Hinode spacecraft. This joint JAXA/NASA solar mission captures the moment just after external ingress (first contact) and before internal ingress (second contact). Note that both images for the Hinode and SDO spacecraft show masses of detail on the Suns surface and give some idea of how much larger the Sun is compared to Venus (and all other planets for that matter as well).

A stunning view of the transit of Venus captured by the Hinode spacecraft (JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin)

See also

Transit of Venus – June 5/6 2012