Venus makes a rare pass across the Sun

The planet Venus has moved across the face of the Sun in a rare astronomical transit which began at 23:00BST and lasted more than six hours until 05:30BST.

During the astronomical fly-by Venus appeared as a small, dark round spot.

This event will not happen again until 2117.

The planet Venus transits across the sun, as seen through a welding filter in Sydney
The planet Venus transits across the sun, as seen through a welding filter in Sydney Credit: Reuters

Stargazers on seven continents, including Antarctica, were able to see all or part of the Venus transit:

But they were warned not to look directly at the sun and to use special glasses to avoid damaging eyesight.

ITV News reporter Paul Brand reports:

Here is a look at Venus through the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory AIA instrument.

Even astronauts aboard the International Space Station joined in the event.

In an interview before the event, space station flight engineer Don Pettit said: "I've been planning this for a while. I knew the transit of Venus would occur during my rotation, so I brought a solar filter with me."

NASA have tweeted a link to some of the images taken from the ISS.

Children take turns to look at planet Venus transiting across the sun at a public viewing at the Singapore Science Centre.
Children take turns to look at planet Venus transiting across the sun at a public viewing at the Singapore Science Centre. Credit: Reuters

This map shows areas around the world where the transit could be viewed.

World visibility map for the transit of Venus
World visibility map for the transit of Venus Credit: NASA