The resident Expedition 31 crew took advantage of their guaranteed cloudless vantage point on board the International Space Station to observe the overnight transit of Venus across the Sun.

Of course you should never look directly at the Sun and anticipating this celestial conjunction, Flight Engineer Don Pettit had the foresight to take a solar filter with him to the ISS.

This morning André Kuipers shared the photograph below of Venus passing in front of the Sun along with the tweet: “With our orbit along the border between night and day at the moment, we could often see the Venus transit for long periods of time.”

This is the first time the Venus transit has been observed from space. The last opportunity occured in 2004 but the crew did not see the transit, mainly because they had no solar filters on board. The next Venus transit won’t occur until 2117.

Venus transit seen from ISS (Credit: ESA/NASA)

More photos of the Venus transit by Don Pettit are available on Flickr:

Read more about observations of the Venus transit in the ESA blog: