ASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft launched in 2010 to study the sun, was on deck to capture Venus passing in front of the sun in stunning high-resolution. The spectacle won’t happen again for another 105 years.
The first scientific observation of a Venus transit took place in 1639, and there have been six other transits since then. Because of the orbital mechanics of our solar system, Venus can be seen crossing the sun’s disk from Earth in pairs of occurrences separated by eight years. There are gaps of either 105.5 or 121.5 years between one pair and the next. One transit took place in 2004, and today’s crossing was the second transit of the pair. The next transit won’t be seen until the year 2117 — thus, this was the last event of its kind that anyone alive today is likely to see.