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Posts tagged ‘Transit of Venus’

September 9th, 2013 – The Transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus 2012

The Transit of Venus 2012

On the 5th of June, 2012, the planet Venus transitted between the Sun and Earth for the last time in our lifetimes, (well, presumably- the next one is scheduled for Dec 10th, 2117…) We were able to observe the transit at the Griffith Observatory in the hills above Los Angeles- and this image was captured through one of the telescopes there.

(FYI, if you’re wondering why the Transit was a big deal, I’ve done a little copy and paste from the Wiki for you…)

A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against 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, as it is much farther away from Earth.

Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena. They occur in a pattern that generally repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years.

Venus transits are historically of great scientific importance- 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. The 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.

December 25th, 2012 – The Transit of Venus and MERRY XMAS!

Transit of Venus thru the Griffith Sundial

Transit of Venus thru the Griffith Sundial

Back in May of this year, the last Transit of Venus in our lifetimes occurred. This was a grand event, with a rich history, ( http://www.transitofvenus.org/ ). Venus transits were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System…

After viewing the spectacle through several telescopes and directly (with protection, of course!), I was heading out. But, when I passed the sundial and inspiration hit – and viola!

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