Author Topic: The Transit of Venus  (Read 551 times)

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Offline EV

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The Transit of Venus
« on: June 05, 2012, 06:21:04 PM »
Friends, we are witnessing a rare event that only occurs twice in a lifetime.

At the moment, Venus has aligned with the Earth and Sun, and has begun to pass across the Sun's surface as I type this. Unfortunately, in the UK we will only be able to see the final 20 minutes or so at sunrise, and that is if the weather is not cloudy at 5.00am. Personally, I am getting up to watch this, as I have always loved astronomy and read solely books on natural geology and astronomy from age 5-11...

This image was taken by NASA a couple of hours ago. It shows Venus approaching the outer disc of the Sun.


Personally, I find this event absolutely fascinating. The reason it doesn't happen often is because the orbits of Venus and Earth are so different. Venus is on a different axial tilt to earth, and as a result it rarely intersects between Earth's orbit and the Sun. So a decent transit is VERY rare.



Indeed the last transits before today (and the 2004 first part of the pair) were in 1874 and 1882. The next transit is in 2117, in 105 years. So it is highly unlikely that any of us will be around to see it.

The main implication of it is that scientists are perfecting a method of using infra-red spectroscopy and emission spectra from atoms to actually analyse the atmospheres of planets hundreds of thousands of light years away. The atoms and particles only absorb certain frequencies of light, and by this individual signature you can calculate the atmosphere of a planet in transit by measuring the amount of light missing from the emission spectra (e.g. Hydrogen looks like this:


The scientists are using Venus to check that their equipment and methods of calculation work properly, and since the Sun is too close to actually measure Venus directly (it would fry the Hubble Space Telescope), they are using the Moon as a giant mirror and measuring the reflection off of that!

This method will be used to discover earth-like planets in the universe, and potentially find other Earths and Super-Earths (planets much larger than Earth but capable of sustaining life).

I had to share this, I find the topic to be incredibly interesting and I hope that some of you are also witnessing this spectacular cosmic event.

Here's some links:
Live feed of the transit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t79iec2b-3M
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/watch-transit-venus/
Live blog noting pictures, events and times: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/05/transit-of-venus-live-coverage
Site that will show you how to figure out when the transit occurs where you are: http://www.sunaeon.com/venustransit/
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 06:25:06 PM by EV »
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Offline Nick

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 06:24:13 PM »
Sh*t, 1st the end of the world dates, then zombies, now this.  It is clealy end times signs.  Next thing you know Walker will win in Wisconsin.  He is the anti-anti-Christ.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 06:26:14 PM »
ahhh I missed it. I'll get it next time it comes round.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline jeremy0

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 08:03:25 PM »
missed it too.  But my mom watched a lunar eclipse for the first time with a welding helmet on.  The only eclipse I've been able to see myself was a lunar one in grade school - they passed us all glasses as the sun went dark.  Was impressive, really.

What's not so impressive is that eclipses led to the idea that in the end, the sun will go dark.  Spoiler alert!  The sun has already gone dark and the moon bloody-red, I've seen both!  Does that mean the END IS NIEGH, THE END IS NIEGHGHHGHGHHHH!!!!    :blank:
"If you find yourself reaching for the light, first realize that it has already touched your finger."
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Offline inveni0

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 08:09:17 PM »
I took our telescope outside and used it in reverse to project an image onto a sheet of paper.   (Unfortunately, this melted out part of one of my eyepieces.  I didn't realize it had a rubber seal I couldn't see.)  I tried photographing the projection, but it was too bright, and the miniature dot of Venus was overexposed into oblivion.  Was still fun to see, though.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 10:00:39 PM »
Cloudy here. I miss lots of things. It's usually cloudy here when something rare happens.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Nick

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 10:20:25 PM »
Cloudy here. I miss lots of things. It's usually cloudy here when something rare happens.
To bad you don't have a helicopter cat with camera that could get above the clouds. ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Chronos

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 05:04:04 AM »
To bad you don't have a helicopter cat with camera that could get above the clouds. ;)
[/quote]

My cat isn't dead yet. I don't think she would take kindly to being converted into HoverCat prior to her passing.

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Online Graybeard

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 11:25:39 AM »
In 2004, I took several photos by projecting the image onto paper -with varying results; these three I combined:


Venus is the unimpressive dot at the top (actually the bottom as the image is inverted.)
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline EV

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2012, 12:22:15 PM »
Graybeard, nice :) I watched it in 2004 at my primary school with a pair of binoculars.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed and it was too cloudy to see the sun at 5:00am this morning... I would have been sad but I just wrote a piece about it instead. I turned it into a science lesson too, because I really like astronomy! So I guess that makes up for missing it.



I do love that helicopter cat! It is pretty hilarious.
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"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative."
- Philosopher John Stuart Mill, from a Parliamentary debate (May 31, 1866);

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2012, 10:15:02 PM »
Found this rather pretty picture taken just as the transit started. By some little outfit called NASA...

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Quesi

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 06:50:52 PM »
Thank you to everyone who posted such amazing pictures.  And EV, thank you for sharing your wonderful music with us. 

Offline Frank

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 12:59:37 PM »

Great music with this.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2012, 03:13:04 PM »
Found this rather pretty picture taken just as the transit started. By some little outfit called NASA...



Lousy government agency with a bunch of pointy-headed heathen scientists who waste our tax money on---wait  a minute, is that the transit of Venus?  ;)

BTW, thank you to all nerds who posted cool videos and pix, since it was too cloudy here to see anything. God, I love NASA. :-*
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline Frank

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2012, 06:26:47 PM »
Maybe the ancient sun worshippers were right. It gives us light, it gives us warmth, it gives us energy to make things grow. At least it gives us something tangible, real and mearsurable because without it this planet would be a frozen rock spinning in the darkness.
"Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions fall away, atheism is what is left behind".

Offline jeremy0

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Re: The Transit of Venus
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2012, 08:32:50 PM »
Nice observation, Frank.  According to nature, the older religions were more correct than the offspring religions...
"If you find yourself reaching for the light, first realize that it has already touched your finger."
"If I were your god, I would have no reason for judgement, and you have all told endless lies about me.  Wait - you do already. I am not amused by your ignorance, thoughtlessness, and shallow mind."