Transit of Venus: Special events across Scotland to view this major planetary event

Scotland’s astronomers are calling all teachers, pupils and the public to get ready for the Transit of Venus on 8 June 2004. The transit happens when the planet Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a dark spot on the Sun's disk. It happens every hundred years or so and for centuries astronomers have been measuring the transit to calculate the distance to the Sun. The last transit was in 1882 so no-one alive today has seen this event. The transit lasts 6 hours and can be safely observed with simple equipment. IT IS NOT SAFE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.

John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, commented "It's wonderful to see how many events are going on across Scotland. This is one of those special astronomical events that capture's our imagination. I would encourage everyone to find out how to observe the Sun safely and then go out and enjoy it."

Throughout April and May, Edinburgh's team of Cultural Coordinators will also be encouraging schools to join in this opportunity to enjoy this rare astronomical event with its rich historical connections.


Image of the path Venus will take accross the Sun's disk

SOHO (ESA & NASA) image of the sun with the path of Venus during the transit superimposed.

Public Events Around Scotland

Astronomers and observatories throughout Scotland are running events in the build up to the event and on the day itself.

Getting ready for the transit...

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh, School of Education

Dundee's Mills Observatory

Glasgow Science Centre

8 June. On the day itself there are activities around Scotland:

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Centre

Isle of Skye

Dundee's Mills Observatory

Glasgow Science Centre

Coats Observatory, Paisley

More Information about the Transit of Venus

You can find out more about the Transit of Venus from the following websites:

European Southern Observatory
Society for Popular Astronomy
Universtiy of Central Lancashire (UK hub)


For more information on any of the Transit of Venus events please contact the host organisation:

Royal Observatory Edinburgh:
Tel: 0131 668 8404
E mail:

University of Edinburgh School of Education:
Tel: 0131 651 6612
E mail:

Dundee Mills Observatory:
Tel: 01382 435967
E mail:

Glasgow Science Centre:
Tel: 0141 420 5000 x310
E mail:

Coats Observatory, Paisley
Tel: 0141 889 3151
E mail:

Glasgow University:
Dr Alec Mackinnon (Conference Organiser)
Dept of Adult and Continuing Education
Tel: 0141 330 1857
E mail:

Cultural Coordinators:
Kate Marshall
Tel: 0131 469 3349
E mail: