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Photos: Savoring the last transit of Venus until 2117

NASA image of the June 5, 2012 transit of Venus.
NASA
The transit of Venus, captured in Homer.
Courtesy Tehben Dean
Michelle Scannell and her sons Stephen, 5, and Liam, 7, view the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
People enjoying Alaska's great view of the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The transit of Venus, as seen through a telescope from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Jessica Swan and her children Nathan and Caleb enjoying Alaska's great view of the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Nathan. "Or maybe twice with advances in medical science."
Loren Holmes photo
Amanda Brown came to UAA to watch the transit of Venus, and to charge her crystals. June 4, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Robert Opalinski photographing the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012. Opalinski, an amateur astronomer, flew from Alaska to Arizona in 1986 to see Halley's comet.
Loren Holmes photo
Angela Dyer and her daughter Bryana, 3, view the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Patrick Farthing, 4, views the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Ron Marsh, chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of North Dakota, manages a live web stream of the transit of Venus from atop a parking garage at UAA. June 5, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
NASA image of the June 5, 2012 transit of Venus.
NASA

A freckle, a dimple, a mole, a tiny black disc: all of these words and many more were used on Tuesday to evoke an image of what it was like to watch the transit of Venus make its way across the face of the sun for seven hours. It was the last such transit until 2117.

A crowd of about 150 people gathered on the rooftop of a parking garage at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus to watch the solar display, and at about 2:10 p.m., a tiny black speck began to appear on the edge of the sun, like a single fleck of pepper on a perfectly round dinner plate.

The assembled crowd craned their necks upward, looking through solar viewing glasses, with others using telescopes and other devices specially set up for viewing the sun.

At 2:24, the entirety of the silhouette of Venus was within the sun, marking the true beginning of a transit that would be visible in its entirety during a clear day in Anchorage. The good weather had everyone in high spirits, with everyone from professional astronomers to children who were too young to have seen the last transit in 2004 looking skyward.

Read more about the once-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus, here.