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Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Adwex, Jun 5, 2012.
Attention space geeks:
Transit of Venus, Sun-Earth Day 2012
I've been whatching Venus at night for awhile now because it's so large/close right now. abotu a year. i'm excited
You will not see this again in any of our lifetimes.
The transit of Venus presented the first opportunity to accurately measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
This is true.
A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2004 lasted six hours). A transit is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon. While the diameter of Venus is more than 3 times that of the Moon, Venus appears smaller, and travels more slowly across the face of the Sun, because it is much farther away from Earth.
Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena. They occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The periodicity is a reflection of the fact that the orbital periods of Earth and Venus are close to 8:13 and 243:395 commensurabilities.
The next transit of Venus will occur on 5 and 6 June 2012, and will be the last Venus transit this century; the prior transit took place on 8 June 2004. The previous pair of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.
Venus transits are historically of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System. Observations of the 1639 transit, combined with the principle of parallax, provided an estimate of the distance between the Sun and the Earth that was more accurate than any other up to that time. In addition, the June 2012 transit will provide scientists with a number of other research opportunities, particularly in the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets. A transit of Venus can be safely observed by taking the same precautions used to observe the partial phases of a solar eclipse. Staring at the Sun without appropriate eye protection can quickly cause serious and often permanent eye damage.
I will bet you are watching the NASA channel RIGHT NOW...
Yes, I am.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCMfp9E7MOY]The Transit of Venus - Explained - YouTube[/ame]
Fuck I need a good telescope, been meaning to save for one but keep buying gear, go figure eh?
That is awesome. I love space stuff, and anything aeronautics.
I might just go stare at the sun for fun!
I have one, but I don't have the special filters needed to view the sun.
And you're not in the middle of the ocean right now. Does it actually pass over the US?
I have the filters as well as the lenses, too bad it was raining here when the sun was up...
You mean "can you see it from the US". Good question, I didn't think of that. I think you can see it everywhere on earth that's in daytime.
Actually, now that I think about it, the whole idea behind observing it is to observe it from at least two distant locations on the earth, to take advantage of the parallax.
The NASA coverage takes place in Hawaii, on the mountain Mauna Kea.
Yes, you can see it where the sun is shining for the next 2 days.
Next 2 days? It only lasts 7 hours or so.
I thought I heard you couldn't see it from the mainland, but I wasn't paying that close of attention. It would be AWESOME to be in Hawaii right now though. Of course I'd probably forget to look for it if I was!
Goes across the date line.
You're probably thinking of a solar eclipse...when the moon passes in front of the sun. That phenomenon can only be seen from a thin "swath" of locations.
The transit of venus is a similar phenomenon, but the angular size of venus is much smaller than that of the moon. That's why Venus only appears as a small disk against the Sun.