The best way to view a transit is by using a pair of binoculars and placing yourself in an open space, such as a rooftop. From a rooftop in Athens I viewed a transit during sunrise on a cloudless day. A transit is when one planet passes between another planet and the Sun. The object passing across the Sun appears to be a small black dot and can only be seen through protected measures. This occurred with Venus, the Sun, and Earth. There are two transits every 125 years. This means that every other generation gets a chance to view a transit. Two transits occur in one generation’s lifetime, but no generation gets the chance to view three. When the Greeks studied the planets they used the transit to explain changes in the earth such as natural disasters. The importance of a transit lies in how the Greeks interpreted them.
When Venus passed across the Sun it appeared to be a small black dot. This was due to the large size of the Sun. Though Venus is not the smallest planet, it paled in comparison to the Sun. In order to observe the transit we used two methods. One method was constructing a camera obscura. A camera obscura is a device used to capture a picture without looking directly at the scene. By using a small box we were able to cut out one end and replace it with a piece of paper, the opposite end had a small puncture in it. The punctured end was the side that was held up to the sun and the image was projected on the screen end. The problem with this method was that it had a limited distance between the hole and screen so the image was too small to see the small dot that was Venus. The more efficient method was to hold a pair of binoculars to the sun and display the image on a wall. The small dot was visible and our eyes were protected during the event. Viewing this event does not occur often and experiencing it on a rooftop in Athens was once in a lifetime.