Just finished reading The Last Lecture. Really enjoyable, I highly recommend it....
Unveiling Venus' secrets - Venus Express has reached Earth's sister planetResear...
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Concealed underneath the thick, fluffy clouds of Venus sits one of the most viol...
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|Views: (6378) Date: (07-06-12) Time: (00:03:06)|
Over a six-hour period on June 5-6 2012, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) collected images in many wavelengths of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. These transits occur in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.
Title: NASA, Ultra-high Definition View of 2012 Venus Transit, 2012
Transit of Venus
A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth (or another planet), 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 2012 lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes). 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 last transit of Venus was on 5 and 6 June 2012, and was the last Venus transit of the 21st century; the prior transit took place on 8 June 2004. The previous pair of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882. The next transits of Venus will be December 10-11, 2117, and in 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 provided scientists with a number of other research opportunities, particularly in the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets.