Astronomers around the world have watched and recorded the last Transit of Venus for more than a hundred years.

The spectacle of our closest planetary neighbour moving across the face of the sun was captured with wonder and excitement across the globe.

During the transit Venus was visible as a dark disc covering 1/32nd of the sun's surface and blocking out about 1% of its light.

The transit started at 11.04pm on Tuesday, after sunset in the UK. on its website while the Royal Society documented the event with papers and interactive maps.

The planet took a curved path across the northern part of the sun, and reached a half-way point at about 2.30am.

Venus than began to move away from the sun at about 5.37am on Wednesday.

Venus transits occur in repeating pairs. The last was seen in 2004 and the next two will not be until 2117 and 2125. The previous transit to the one in 2004 was on December 6 1882.

For amateur skywatchers viewing projected images of the phenomenon with their telescopes, it was something to marvel at and remember.

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  • Nasa Pictures Transit

    Nasa released this image of the transit captured over several days

  • The planet Venus, pictured as a black do

    The planet Venus, pictured as a black dot (at R), is seen in transit across the Sun during sunrise in Sofia on June 6, 2012. Sky-gazers around the world held up their telescopes and viewing glasses to watch a once-in-a-lifetime event as Venus slid across the Sun. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus (black dot) is silhouetted as it o

    Venus (black dot) is silhouetted as it orbits between the Sun and the Earth during the transit of Venus seen from Bangkok on June 6, 2012. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus (black dot) is silhouetted as it o

    Venus (black dot) is silhouetted as it orbits between the Sun and the Earth during the transit of Venus seen from Bangkok on June 6, 2012. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The planet Venus (black spot on the righ

    The planet Venus (black spot on the right) in its transit across the face of the sun is seen from Los Angeles, California on June 05, 2012. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Clouds partially obscure the sun during

    Clouds partially obscure the sun during the transit of Venus on June 5, 2012 as seen from College Park, Maryland. Astronomers around the world trained their telescopes on the skies Tuesday to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The transit of Venus is seen making its

    The transit of Venus is seen making its way across the Sun as seen through a filter covering a camera lensat Caltech in Pasadena on June 5, 2012 in California. Astronomers worldwide wore safety glasses and trained their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years, next occuring in 2117. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The transit of Venus is seen making its

    The transit of Venus is seen making its way across the Sun off a screen at Caltech in Pasadena showing NASA's live feed from Hawaii on June 5, 2012 in California. Astronomers worldwide wore safety glasses and trained their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years, next occuring in 2117. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The transit of Venus is seen making its

    The transit of Venus is seen making its way across the Sun as seen through a filter covering a camera lens at Caltech in Pasadena on June 5, 2012 in California. Astronomers worldwide wore safety glasses and trained their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years, next occuring in 2117. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Clouds partially obscure the sun during

    Clouds partially obscure the sun during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from Riverside Park on the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Clouds partially obscure the sun during

    Clouds partially obscure the sun during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from Riverside Park on the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Venus (top) begins to cross the sun's fa

    Venus (top) begins to cross the sun's face during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from the west side of Manhattan in New York. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The "black drop" effect is seen as Venus

    The 'black drop' effect is seen as Venus (top) begins to cross the sun's face during the transit of Venus June 5, 2012 as seen from the west side of Manhattan in New York. The optical illusion makes Venus appear to be 'stuck' to the edge of the sun at the beginning and end of the transit. Astronomers around the world are training their telescopes on the skies to watch Venus pass in front of the Sun, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will not be seen for another 105 years. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A man in Singapore looks through his tel

    A man in Singapore looks through his telescope to watch the transit of Venus silhouetted across the surface of the Sun on June 6, 2012. Sky-gazers around the world held up their telescopes and viewing glasses to watch Venus slide across the sun -- a rare celestial phenomenon that will not happen again for more than 100 years. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • PICTURE TAKEN BY MULTIPLE EXPOSURE Pictu

    MUNICH, Germany: PICTURE TAKEN BY MULTIPLE EXPOSURE Picture taken by multiple exposure in Munich shows five different phases of the planet Venus crawling across the sun, 08 June 2004, during the 'transit' of Venus last seen in 1882. Around five billion people around the world were able, weather permitting, to see the sight, which lasted just over six hours. AFP PHOTO DDP/JOERG KOCH GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)

But it will also provide valuable data for professional astronomers and planetary scientists studying worlds orbiting distant stars.

Venus transits come in pairs separated by eight years, with more than a century between one pair and the next.

As well as events that are anticipated by amateur and professional astronomers alike, they are also of huge historical significance.

Venus transits in previous centuries allowed scientists to tackle a fundamental astronomical problem: accurately measuring the distance between the earth and the sun.

The first attempt was made by Lancastrian amateur astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks in 1639. Applying triangulation techniques to transit observations, he obtained a crude estimate of the earth-sun distance, known as the astronomical unit (AU). But he was still out by millions of miles.