And by beauty we mean 700 °F pressure cooker topped with clouds of boiling sulfuric acid. Nevertheless, Venus is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon and the occasional visiting comet or even rarer nova, and the closest planet to earth. Later today it will make a rare transit between the earth and the sun the likes of which will not happen for another century:
(Nat Geo) — The last Venus transit was in 2004—above, the planet glides across the rising sun in a picture taken during the event from the North Carolina coastline. After 2012, we won’t see another transit of Venus until 2117. (Find outhow to see the 2012 transit of Venus.)
“People watching this event through some form of safe solar viewer will see the small, dark silhouette of Venus crossing the sun’s face over the course of about six hours,” said Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College in Massachusetts. “The effect won’t be visually impressive, but that black dot against the sun is a remarkable thing to see.”
I’m not sure what the big deal is as far as the media interest. You won’t be able to see it without a telescope fitted with a sun filter, and even then it will be a little bitty dot moving across the sun barely distinguishable from a sunspot.
There was a time lo these many years ago when stuff like this was super important. Aside from the usual mystic frauds clamoring about signs in the heavens and how wonderful they were for local patrons, or how terrible they were for nearby enemies, it was close observation of stars and planets during transits and eclipses that established the size of the inner solar system and went on to validate general relativity.