All eyes on Venus

All eyes on VenusKARACHI: Though partially cloudy weather threatened to ruin the show, Nature was kind enough to allow enough breaks in the clouds for astronomy buffs in the metropolis to feast their eyes — through filters of course — on the transit of the planet Venus early on Wednesday morning.

The celestial phenomenon was witnessed across the globe. While experts said Hawaii, Alaska, eastern Australia, Japan, the Korean peninsula and eastern China had the best seats in the house as far as viewing the whole event was concerned, Karachi was lucky enough to also witness the planetary transit.

The University of Karachi’s Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics had organised a public viewing of the event, in which Venus, the second planet from the Sun, passes between the Sun and the Earth, appearing as a black speck inching across the behemoth Sun.“The event started at sunrise, at which time Venus appeared as a dark spot on the Sun. The event was visible till 9.40am.About 50 or so people were present. It was partially cloudy but the Sun was visible at times and we managed to take pictures,” said Ispa head Dr Javed Iqbal while speaking to Media.

Excitement regarding the event was also high with the amateur astronomers’ community in the city.“We held a public event at Gulistan-i-Jauhar. Since it was a working day many people could not attend, but many children did drop by on their way to school. We got some good images,” said Zain Ahmed, a senior member of the Karachi Astronomers’ Society.

“The event was greatly anticipated since it won’t happen again for 105 years [the next transit is scheduled for 2117]. We had been building awareness about the phenomenon at our events over the past few weeks. There was definitely much excitement about the event. I enjoyed it a lot and it was memorable. We were not that worried about clouds, but there was heavy cloud cover in Lahore.” – Dawn