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On Tuesday June 8th 2004, the planet Venus passed between the Earth and the Sun, and obscured a small part of the Sun's disc for approximatly six hours. Such a pass is termed transit. Transits of Venus are a rare astronomical event, occuring every 120 years. Since the invention of the telescope in 1608, only five such transits occured. The most recent one occurred in 1882. The next one, to occur in 2012, will be only partially observable from Israel.

The transit of Venus played an important part in the history of science. Since the 1660's it was known that fine measuremnts of the transit could yield an accurate valule of the Astronomical Unit - the distance to the Sun, and hence allow us to deduce the distances to other planets, stars and galaxies. This task was finally achieved about a hundred years later, in 1769. Measuremens of the transit of June 3rd were carried our by a large number of astronomers who traveled to distant parts of the globe, and yielded the first accurate measurement of the Astronomical Unit.

Marking this rare event, the Tel Aviv University Astronomy Club held a special workshop, open to the public, in the Smolarz Auditorium on Tel Aviv University campus. Participation was free of charge.



The event took place with the the kind support of School of Physics and Astronomy, Wise Observatory, The Department Geophysics & Planetary Sciences, the Computing Division Video Team, Science Oriented Youth, NANA astronomy forum, IBM Israel, Prigat, the Friends of Tel Aviv University, and the Israel Internet Assocoation.

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