Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT
Transit of Venus as Seen by Cassini
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Transit of Venus, as Seen by Cassini

December 21, 2012
This graphic shows the path of Venus across the face of the sun on Dec. 21, 2012, as will be seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in the Saturn system. This will be the first time a spacecraft has tracked a transit of a planet in our solar system from beyond Earth orbit. Venus will be moving from left to right across the field of view of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) instrument. The transit, as seen from Saturn, will take about 9 hours and 53 minutes. It will first go in front of the sun around 4:26 a.m. PST (12:26 UTC), as indicated by the first black circle on the left. The next dots indicate the planet's location at 6:55 a.m. PST (14:55 UTC), 9:19 a.m. PST (17:19 UTC) and 11:52 a.m. PST (19:52 UTC). Venus will be at the right side of the sun's disk at around 2:19 p.m. PST (22:19 UTC). From VIMS' point of view, the width of Venus will appear to be about 0.9 percent of the maximum width of the sun. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech