A Rare Transit of Venus

This is not a photograph of the moon - it is a photo of the SUN captured during a rare transit of the planet Venus.

Dr. Ellen photographed the 2012 transit event using a Nikon DSLR attached to a Celestron telescope. A solar filter was also used to protect the lens and equipment from the sun's brilliance. The above shot was captured at 7:45:03pm from the Foothills Parkway in Blount County, Tennesse, in the Continental United States. The sun was setting over the City of Maryville, TN. The next transit will occur in December 2017.

A 'Transit of Venus' is the observed passage of the distant planet Venus across the disk of the sun. Venus, orbiting the sun “on the inside track,” catches up to and passes the slower earth. Venus appears as a small black dot in the foreground that moves from left to right across the upper quandrant of sun. The word “transit” means passage or movement—in this case, across the face of the sun.

Prior to the transit in 2004, the last one was recorded in 1882. In other words, transits appear in pairs...there was one in 2004 and again in 2012, and then there will be a span of 105.5 years before the next pair of transits occur! The planet Venus traverses the northern half of the sun and appears to be small -- about 1/30th the apparent diameter of the sun -- which attests to the enormousness of our distant sun!


Educational Links

Information from NASA about transits:
Interesting questions and answers about astronomy and space science: http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/qanda.html
Transit of Venus information
The 2012 Transit of Venus
NASA video about the 2012 Transit of Venus
Ultra-high definition view of the 2012 Venus transit from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9rM8ChTjY


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