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Venus Viewing Parties Celebrate Rare Celestial Sighting

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DAVIS (CBS13) – It was a celestial sight to see from Houston to Hawaii, and right here in Northern California. Thousands viewed the planet Venus on Tuesday as it passed between the sun and Earth.

venus transit dl Venus Viewing Parties Celebrate Rare Celestial Sighting

The planet Venus crosses across the sun on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. This photo was taken in Ione. (credit: Alvin Burk)

And we got lucky here on the West Coast, where it was prime viewing for an event so rare it won’t happen again for more than a century.

“It takes very precise alignment of the sun, Venus and the Earth and that exact alignment doesn’t occur all the time,” a Davis scientist said.

There was no shortage of amateur astronomers getting a glimpse first hand at UC Davis, and they were lining up for a look at Sac State too.

A cosmic wonder for sure, but a letdown for some at UC Davis.

“It’s a little dot – that’s it,” one disappointed spectator said.

Well, in Venus’ defense, it is 27 million miles away from us, and 1 million Venuses could fit inside the sun.

“It really puts you in perspective,” Matt Dahl said. “It kind of puts you in your place as far as ‘Wow. Things are big.'”

And this is a big deal. The last time it happened was in 2004, but we didn’t get the best view of it. The next time earthlings get a chance to take a look? One hundred and five years from now in the year 2117.

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