RARE SHOW OF VENUS WVU physics professors and other local astronomy fans got up earlyJune 8 to watch Venus cross the face of the sun. It was the first time it has done that in 122 years.

West Virginia University astronomy buffs witnessed history this morning (June 8) as Venus made a rare transit across the face of the sun.

WVU physics professors John Zielinski, Jack Littleton and Earl Scime and about 20 others huddled in the parking lot at the College of Law to take in the celestial view that no living person had seen before.

Today for the first time in well over 100 years, the planet Venus passed between the earth and the sun in such a way that you could actually see it silhouetted against the sun,said Zielinski, who captured the spectacle on a souped-up Web camera.

Clear skies allowed for crisp viewing through telescopes.

When the sun rose today, it was already in progress. The tape shows a fairly small black dot moving across the surface of the solar disk,Zielinski said.

Similar Venus-watching celebrations were held across the globe in Europe, Africa and Asia. The complete transit was only partially visible in the United States.

Todays event was the first since 1882. Transits of Venus occur twiceeight years apartabout every century, when the sun, Venus and Earth precisely line up. The next passage will occur in 2012, but will not be visible in many parts of the world.