Stargazers could glimpse a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity next month when the Universe dishes out one of its most spectacular displays.
On June 6, Venus will pass in front of the sun creating a distinct round black spot large enough to be seen by the naked eye.
The Transit of Venus is among the rarest of astronomical events and will not be seen for another 105 years.
Martin Griffiths, a senior lecturer in astronomy at the University of Glamorgan is keen to ensure that nobody lives to regret missing it.
He said: “The entire transit will be visible from Australia and the Far East.
“Here in the UK, we will be able to observe the transit in the early morning.
“The sun will just be rising, at 4.57am to be precise, and the transit will already be in progress and moving towards its end.”
Only six transits of Venus are known to have been observed by humans before: in 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and, most recently, in 2004 making it rarer even than the return of Halley’s Comet, seen every 76 years.
The next transit will occur in the year 2117.
They occur in pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps.
Observers in Britain will notice the planet as a black disc against the brilliant face of the sun, weather permitting. It will be visible against the sun for about 50 minutes.
Among those looking forward to the transit is TV weather presenter and keen amateur astronomer, Sian Lloyd.
She said: “We’ve got a telescope in the garden and I’m fascinated in aspects of astronomy, particularly the International Space Station (ISS) which has been visible recently.
“And, of course, we’ve just had the biggest full moon of the year, which I have been very excited about.
“The great thing about Wales is that we have natural dark skies so we are privileged enough to be able to see these spectacular things from our countryside.”
In the 18th century explorers including Captain Cook travelled the world to make precise measurements of the Transit of Venus, enabling the scientists of the day to calculate the distance between the sun and the earth.
The transit is also big news in the world of astrology, according to horoscope expert Jonathan Cainer.
“Venus is the traditional planet of love, prosperity, creativity and popularity and the implication of Venus revealing itself indicates that we are all about to make great discoveries about ourselves,” he said.
“Individually we’ll discover hidden talents and secret gifts and how to best use them. Collectively we’ll discover new gifts and ways of being.”
The University of Glamorgan is arranging a public lecture detailing this year’s astronomical highlight, during which Mr Griffiths will outline the history of transits of Venus and their importance.
But he warned: “People should never observe the sun with the naked eye or a telescope, camera or other optical device.
“You could seriously damage your eyesight by doing so and it can even lead to permanent blindness.
“To observe safely go along to an organised event or even construct or purchase a simple projection kit.”
The university will also be arranging an observing session to watch the phenomenon, taking place from 4am on June 6 at the top of Bwlch y Clawdd mountain between Nantymoel and Treorchy.
A spokesman said: “This elevation will provide a perfect north east horizon to observe the rising sun.
“It is an open session and all are welcome to come along and view this fantastic phenomenon.”
The public lecture takes place in the Aneurin Bevan building on the University of Glamorgan’s Glyntaff Campus at 7.30pm on May 31.Transit of Venus, the transit of Venus, Martin Griffiths, university of glamorgan, spectacular displays, transits of venus <BR/>