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.